Newbie question...

Are there any 'jump-start' packages for sale in the model rail business for a newbie?
By that I mean something to get started with track
layouts/benchwork/etc. It's easy to get trains/scenery etc. All the books I read say I need this magical stuff called 'homosote'. Tried three nearby lumber yards - nobody has heard of it. Online search says the nearest supplier is 33 miles from me. Not really interested in renting a truck just for this. I've seen Woodland Scenic benchwork but it looks to small and I'm not sure how sturdy it can be for that low price. However the scenery to go on top seems expensive for a bunch of foam and I'm not sure if it has the appropriate plywood/homasote substrate.
I'm interested in building a modular layout where I can swap out say a forest section for a desert section, etc. Each module would have common entry/exit points for the track.
Anything like this out there?
-John
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On 2016-03-16 08:04, John Garza wrote:

No. You can get sets, which consist of locomotive, cars, track, and power pack, sometimes with additional bits such as buildings. The benchwork is up to you.
There are layout builders out there, too. I haven' priced them, but I would think layouts would cost 3 to 5 times as much as the bits and pieces, plus transportation and installation.

Current recommend practice is an open-frame substructure, with 1/2" plywood for base under cork ballast strip and track on that. People use Homasote when they don't want to use cork ballast strip.

The sturdiness of the benchwork depends on its supports.

First, get current and past issue of Model Railroader and railroad Model Craftsman.
Commercial modules available from Sievers: http://sieversbenchwork.com/
Two main modular standards, Free-mo (preferred) and HO-Trak (older, still used by established clubs)
Also, many clubs have their own modular standards.
For module standards, see: http://www.free-mo.org/ http://www.hotrak.ca/ http://www.modular-model-railroads.com/
Warning: One of the HOTrak sites I checked out tried to inflict malware. Make sure your browser's bad- or insecure-site warning is turned on and your shields are up.
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On Wed, 16 Mar 2016 07:04:29 -0500, John Garza wrote:

I'm building one like that right now. I'm not using Homasote, I'm using 2" foam on a 1/4" plywood base and laying cork on that. Each module is 2' by 5' and the scenic part of the layout is 2'x10'.
I've carried your common entry/exit a bit further. I have continuous staging that creates a loop. From the staging to the scenic area there are three entry/exit points. Any scenic layout can use 1, 2, or 3 of those points.
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What area of the world do you live in?
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On Fri, 18 Mar 2016 09:35:18 -0700, "a425couple"

My reaction too - one of the reasons I don't like N-Trak is that it does just that, with each different scenic part being less than a train's length.
What I have seen, is a modular layout with swappable sections that matched scenically but represented different times - eg a dirt road from the steam era vs a wider modern road, or steam era facilities vs diesel, etc. With semaphore signals on the earlier and colour lights on the later.
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On 03/18/2016 02:34 PM, Christopher A. Lee wrote:

that's funny - I want to do different times with minor scenic changes (less trees, more pavement, etc.) But used the forest/desert example to get my point across because I didn't think anyone would get the idea of different 'eras' along a line. I guess I wasn't thinking about how silly is sounded. Well maybe if you have REALLY BIG modules... :)
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I'm sure a lot of people have thought of it, but not at the level of modules, just removeable details, eg house styles and even TV antennae, the style of filling stations, etc.
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On 2016-03-18 17:45, John Garza wrote:

Or smaller modules strung together....
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No, no, no, I'm sorry for being unclear. I was not being critical. I was sincerely interested in where (geographic location)
In Seattle at the big train show (after Thanksgiving) there is every year a huge display put on by various members of a club putting a various number of their individual sections together. They have a standard of distances, so they can all fit together in various combinations.
Meanwhile, a different local club: I found a big big HO layout near me.
If anyone cares to view, I just found that there is a video of it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA8bozyuMhI
Day 285 of 365 Things To Do In Edmonds, WA - Swamp Creek & Railroad Association
From earlier: Take a look: http://www.scwrra.org/layout/intro.html http://www.scwrra.org/layout/intro.html#index Swamp Creek & Western Railroad Association 210 Railroad Ave. Edmonds, WA 98020
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