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I think trying to do a complex 'layout', multiple loops, multiple levels, tons of switches all on a 4' x 8' is a killer. You just can start with something like this and hope to bring it to completion with is all running well and scenery completed. Not saying yours is, but beginners dream too big. I found starting with a simple point to point or something like the "Gum Stump and Snowshoe" is plenty to do for a beginner and gives them operation time too. Expand or redo gradually, this gives you time to figure out what you like, what you are capable of doing, and tempers the future with experience.

Since tracks on the floor I am on my 9th railroad. This will be my smallest one in physical size, 14" x 72", HO scale. With luck it will be expanded over time and eventually go around the room as a shelf railroad, point to point, about 80' in length. But my plan is not to expand until I complete my list of 'must haves' on the 14" x 72" section.
Essentially I agree. But there is nothing wrong with planning things in stages. One can plan a big multi-level empire, with having a single deck, or portion thereof, that has a self contained layout… loop or point to point or single large switching industry.
It is rewarding to having something operable, to run trains, while 80% of the big picture still needs track laid. On the other side of the coin, that unfinished 80% could fall to the back burner and never get done if you allow yourself to lose focus.

Unlike CTValley, I do “daydream” about my big picture quite a bit; mostly in mental ops. I do this to, hopefully, discover potential goof ups or improvements before benchwork is even built. I also do a lot of measuring. For instance, I recently decided to down size all my mainline trains from 3 locomotives to 2. That allows 1-2 more car lengths per train while staying about 11ft long. I also long ago figured a reversing wye wasn’t needed… but I’ve changed my mind. Adding it won’t take much, eliminates the 0-5-0 switcher by 100%, and will provide a better industry spur lead as well.
I also don’t lose focus because “daydreaming” keeps the big picture in the front of mind, not the back.
 

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Nothing at all wrong with daydreaming. Just don't do it while driving, we'd miss you!
I agree with starting small, learn as you go, have fun. I'm currently building my 4th (or maybe 5th, I'm not sure) layout. It's the most challenging one I've built yet, and will probably be the last. If I started out trying to build it for my first layout, I would have gotten so frustrated I would have burned it down long ago!
I firmly believe that a 4 x 8 is the perfect size for someone's first layout. Big enough to have fun with, small enough to actually be doable. Then go from there.
 

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Even John Allen's legendary Gorre & Daphetid started out as a 4x8 which he incorporated into the final result.
 

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Does anyone else just look at their layout and think/dream of all the changes they'd like to do? I have my layout's plan is pretty much set but I'm constantly thinking of ways to change/alter it for the better to include more interesting things? I'm still in the planning stages and about the start laying track so I have that luxury and most of the things I think of are for the better and I'm able to do. I'm curious if this sensation/weakness/delusion (or whatever you'd like to call it :ROFLMAO:) will go away or at least diminish once I've gotten the track down or if I'll want to keep changing and improving the layout all the time or if it will be like this the rest of my time in the hobby? :p
1) I'm 73 years old, and have been model railroading for most of those years.
2) My present layout is my seventh. I've been working on it for more years than I care to think about sometimes.
3) I have changed scales twice.
4) A friend, and fellow model railroader, has christened me "The king of do overs." because I get dissatisfied with something on the layout, decide I can do it better, and rip it out, and, well, do it over. :oops:
5) Yes, It will be like this forever!
6) So what. You're having fun aren't you. 😄

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
1) I'm 73 years old, and have been model railroading for most of those years.
2) My present layout is my seventh. I've been working on it for more years than I care to think about sometimes.
3) I have changed scales twice.
4) A friend, and fellow model railroader, has christened me "The king of do overs." because I get dissatisfied with something on the layout, decide I can do it better, and rip it out, and, well, do it over. :oops:
5) Yes, It will be like this forever!
6) So what. You're having fun aren't you. 😄

Traction Fan 🙂
I am having a blast and part of me worries that once I "finish" my layout I won't keep having as much fun but since the general consensus is that I will always feel like this way and always want to improve or change I feel better that I'm not insane and that I will keep having this fun feeling!

I had thought about making a 2nd layer and maybe doing it in N scale as that would make it easier to do a run around but not sure how a lower level HO scale layout with an upper N scale layout would look together?
 

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I am having a blast and part of me worries that once I "finish" my layout I won't keep having as much fun but since the general consensus is that I will always feel like this way and always want to improve or change I feel better that I'm not insane and that I will keep having this fun feeling!

I had thought about making a 2nd layer and maybe doing it in N scale as that would make it easier to do a run around but not sure how a lower level HO scale layout with an upper N scale layout would look together?
I wouldn't sweat "finishing" your layout. Its a rare layout that is ever finished. One thing you can do is to incorporate realistic operating potential into your layout. If your trains can pick up & deliver freight cars at appropriate industries, & meet and pass each other at sidings, that will sustain interest a lot longer than just watching them run around loops.

Using two scales on the same layout has been done, but it does look unrealistic. In the real world, you're not likely to see two real trains where one is 1/2 the size of the other. Some attempts have been made to show the N-scale train as one in the far distance, while the HO represents trains closer up. I haven't seen one of these layouts where I felt the illusion was very effective though.
Different scales on different levels is more common in the toy train community. Having Lionel O-gauge under American Flyer S-gauge, with perhaps some HO-gauge on top, has been done a lot. Folks who favor Lionel don't seem to mind. So, just like a lot of choices, its entirely up to you.

Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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I am having a blast and part of me worries that once I "finish" my layout I won't keep having as much fun but since the general consensus is that I will always feel like this way and always want to improve or change I feel better that I'm not insane and that I will keep having this fun feeling!
Don't jump to conclusions..., we said the desire to keep tinkering is normal. No one passed any judgment on the soundness of your mind!

Anyway, you don't have to be insane in this hobby, but it helps!:D:D:D
 

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There was a fellow here a couple of years back that ran N and HO on the same layout together. The scenery was very nice, but I didn't think too much of running two scales together.

Two different gauges is a lot different than two scales together.
 

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@traction fan I meant an N scale several feet above the HO scale totally seperate and was curious if that would look funny. I totally agree on the same level would look silly...
That's essentially two separate layouts; one in each scale. Why would it look bad? I think you will find, though, that several feet of separation will be impractical. That would either make the lower level too low or the upper level, too high to be easily manageable. THAT'S the true challenge of two or three level layouts: finding the heights that work.
 

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6) So what. You're having fun aren't you.
If you're not you need to step away and do something else for a while. Which is where I happen to be.

I caught myself thinking, "I have got to get this or that done!"

Whoa Buddy! This ain't a job, it's a hobby. Furthermore, the adventure is in the journey, not the destination.

As Joe Gill said in Crossfire Trail: "Well, see, if you take your time... you get a more harmonious outcome."
 

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There was a fellow here a couple of years back that ran N and HO on the same layout together. The scenery was very nice, but I didn't think too much of running two scales together.

Two different gauges is a lot different than two scales together.
In my earlier response I used "gauge" in the way Lionel & American Flyer fans often use it, as equivalent to modeling scale. In the proper sense, meaning distance between the two rails, as you are using it here, I agree with you. Having both standard gauge, and narrow gauge, lines on the same layout doesn't look unrealistic, since there were/still are prototype examples. Your own layout is a fine example, with both standard gauge, and meter gauge, lines portrayed beautifully. (y)

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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The only way that I have heard of, not actually seen, HO & N successfully pulled off requires two things. The tracks need to be very near eye level, and the N needs to be against the backdrop with a mix of HO to N structures to force the perspective of distance. It’s theoretically possible, but impractical in 18-24 inches of layout depth.

As for completely separate above; the only problem I’d see is the lighting for the HO would need to be changed/lowered.
Now for opinion. I’d keep them physically separate. My N “layout” is just 16” by 8ft of 2” foam sitting atop basement pantry shelves. “Layout” is generous though. It serves 2 purposes, my N stuff isn’t sitting in boxes which was making me feel regretful of buying them, and more importantly I can test scenery things there before doing them on my HO, like water etc. It is a robust switching corridor, which is cool, but reliability of locos & track is aggravating. I don’t use it much. Still, someday I’m going to start & finish an shelf N display using a brass passenger station that I have and finish the correct consist for NYC’s Detroiter.
 

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There was an article in either Model Railroader or Railroad Model Craftsman circa 1990 about a layout that used identical N and Z scale trains in a mountain setting to create perspective. The N scale train would go in a tunnel near the front and a few seconds later the Z scale train would come out near the back, and the Z scale would go into a tunnel and the N would come out.

I've also read about parking N scale rolling stock and structures at the ends of streets that ran front-to-back on an HO layout, but I don't think the trains moved.
 

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I've had my layout for 8 years in it's present configuration. It is my 5th layout, all in different houses in 40 years. This is the last time I'm selling and moving so I have a "permanent" 20' x 10' layout. I am constantly changing things around and trying to improve appearance or making a existing area better. So bottom line, my layout will never be done. Although the base structure as it is now built will never change, the top is always open for change and improvement.

Kenny
 

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No Plan Survives First Contact With The Enemy

The 'enemy' being actual construction. What looks good on the drawing board doesn't always turn out that way in reality.

In building my 35n2 layout I've found where some things didn't fit where planned, but other opportunities presented themselves as construction progressed. So I work from a general plan (mostly in my head) rather than from a very specific plan.
 
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