Quick background: I've never gone beyond running loops on carpet but have aspirations to eventually build a spare bedroom layout in the coming years. I thought that building a Christmas layout would be a good primer. Here are the basics:
- Corner layout limited to 5'2" in width because of a decorative fireplace mantle;
- Emphasis on action (simultaneous two train ops) and whimsy;
- MTH RealTrax since I have a fair amount already (O-31 and O-42);
- Polar Express LionChief RTR plus another RTR consist (short, light trains);
- Two layer layout made from XPS foamboard and Great Stuff spray foam;
- Trains can switch loops but will stay on their own loop/level 95% of the time;
- 6" rise from lower to top level with 4" clearance at tunnel portals (from top of rails);
- Artificial tree with "trunk" going through 2-3" hole in the top layer.
Last night I played with SCARM for the very first time and came up with what you see. I still haven't figured out how to do inclines so I had to rely on color coding:
- All green is at floor level;
- Pink (main upper loop) and purple (trolley loop) is at second level;
- Light-to-dark of same color represents tunnel beneath second level;
- Teal is the principle grade between levels;
- Orange is for going down only (steep!) but allows for PolEx to run unattended using both loops (from bottom clockwise - lime green, teal, pink, orange, dark green, lime green, teal, etc.) while second train sits on floor level siding (lime green).
- Track footprint is 55" wide by 59" deep with room corner in the upper right.