Even before one decides where the layout is going to live, one needs to determine what sort of layout it will be. Given the space that I had, I wasn’t going to be modeling Union Pacific’s assault on the Rockies. With a 2 1/2′ x 4′ space, I was getting a switching layout. I was more than happy with this. As I’ve noted, this is my first serious scale model railroad, and while the mega-layouts get the spotlight in the hobby press, I wasn’t looking to spend 10 years of my life building a model railroad.
I’ve noticed that many folks seem to stall on their layout efforts, never getting much beyond the ‘Plywood Pacific’. My years as a project manager and lifetime residency on the planet have taught me that people perform best under deadline. To that end I made a Gantt chart with defined time intervals for specified layout development points. In the early stages of layout building resource commitment can be a sticking point. I decided to commit. I have the credit line, and my income will more than cover the expense. It may seem crass to discuss finance relevant to a hobby, but I think this is an area that needs some exposure. I budgeted $2500 for this project, and to date have spent about half that. There are a couple more big-ticket items (locomotive and power supply/controller), but after that expenses should be relatively minor.