Originally Posted by Stephen
P.S. I was wondering where I would have the space for a good layout.....I just replied my tenant is moving out of the studio apt. above my garage --- so after cleanup the real build begins---planning and 8 x 8 layout freestyle.
Eight feet by eight feet is a decent sized space for a layout. In fact some forum members would be jealous, since they have less space.
Here are some things to consider as you plan your layout.
Your profile doesn't mention what area of the country, and therefore what sort of climate, you live in.
A space above a garage can be blistering hot in summer, and freezing cold in winter. Since you had a tenant living there, I'm assuming you have heat, and air conditioning, up there, so temperature may not be a concern.
Humidity can also be a problem with a model railroad. A lot of it is made of wood, and wood warps in a humid environment. Again, this depends on where you are, and what the local weather conditions are. If you do have high humidity, as in the Southeastern U.S.A., then you may need a dehumidifier, at least in the winter, when you won't be running the air conditioner. You can also build some "warp proofing" into your layout by making all the wood pieces as 'L'-girders, rather than just flat planks. Painting all the wood also helps keep moisture out. The files I sent you describe how to make an 'L'-girder. It's basically a wooden version of an "angle iron."
Once you have the indoor climate stabilized, and adequate lighting (again, this is likely to already be in place.) The next thing to consider is how to best use the space you have.
The very common 4'x 8' train table would take up half your space, and be difficult to move, when you had to clean the track at the back side. It's not practical to lean over a 4' deep table to put a train back on the track, clean the rails, etc. These fun chores will come up much more often than you might suppose!
I recommend an around-the-walls shelf layout, no more than 2' deep. That way you will have the option of continuous running, and will still be able to reach everything easily. You might consider mounting this layout near your seated eyeball height. That way you can have a realistic, "trackside" view of passing trains, while seated in a rolling office chair, and by simply standing up, be able to reach anything that needs attention.
This around-the-room shelf configuration will be especially appropriate If the garage roof slope reduces the ceiling height near the edges of the room. Working bent over is no fun at all!
I don't know if you have read the files I sent you yet, but they contain a lot of information about building such a shelf layout.
One feature I strongly recommend, for any model railroad, regardless of shape, is sectional construction.
Apart from the obvious advantage of being able to take your railroad with you, if/when you move to another home, sections will be easier to work on as well.
The files explain these factors too.
I'm also going to suggest that you consider getting away from that Bachmann EZ-track, and using flex track for your garage layout. EZ-track is expensive, has limited curve radii available, and the EZ-track turnouts (track switches) have a very poor reputation for reliability, and they are also very expensive.
Good luck. Have fun! Ask any questions that come up.