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We all have to face this dilemma. We want to get into this hobby; but, do not know much about railroads; or, railroading! I had both HO and American Flyer S-scale when I was a kid. Most kids just want to see trains run and don't really think about scale like operations. Many adults are this way, also. So, when I started my layout 31 years ago, I knew I wanted to design in some realistic operations; but, knew little about how to operate. This is the largest problem we all face when starting out and we all end up putting the kart afore the horse, in this matter! We are expecting that we can design a layout that will keep us happy, even though we lack experience! So, I am paying for my lack of knowledge back then, now! My layout does not have enough online businesses to take care of, although there are far more now, than when I started. Back 31 years ago, I began the process of designing my layout by reading John Armstrong's book: "Track Planing for Realistic Operation". This book is still available from Kalmbach: https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/12148 I managed to build a great yard for my model railroad using the information in John's book; so, I highly recommend this book! The facts I have just presented, might be why it makes some sense to build layouts previously designed by and recommended by people who have been in the design side of the hobby for years. If you can afford, you could ask for someone to design your layout for you.

Now, given the fact that I have been in the hobby for more than 30 years, I do think I could do a better job of designing my own layout. The fact is however, at 70 years old the idea of starting over is not very appealing! Know that the process of designing a model railroad is a complicated affair and taking time to do so makes a bunch of sense! Starting small is a good idea, also. With a small layout, you can possibly incorporate the small layout into your eventual big one, not unlike what the famous John Allen did with his Gorre and Daphetid original layout.

Mark
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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I always recommend seeing how much total room you have for a layout then planning on using it.
Most will start by building a small layout, then will want a larger one later.
If you plan on using all the space you have from the get go you can build small but keep in mind adding on to it in the future.

Instead of building small without plans for expansion.
Then you may be facing a total rip down and starting all over.

But, there are many who do that anyway.
We have a few members who are as young as you are doing that right now. :)
 

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We don't train in this hobby; we 'experience'. This necessarily means we'll learn as we go, and we'll learn not to do some things, or at least not to repeat them in similar situations.

It's part of what makes the hobby expensive...or, more expensive than if we could go to free classes, make some mistakes, learn what we prefer, and then build close to the perfect layout and track plan.

Part of what draws people to the hobby are those cute how-to videos that suppliers give away showing that you can slap an oval of snap track together and be running trains inside of 10 minutes. If only longevity in pretty much anything humans do were learnable and achievable in a mere 10 minutes.
 
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