I am converting from Marklin three-rail to DCC two-rail model railroading - mainly because I want to change over to model American railroads, but also partly for reasons of cost - Marklin is fairly expensive stuff.
For the Marklin I have I have just run a pretty basic double track main line shelf layout around the room, with a liftout section in fron of the door. No operations stuff - just running two rains around the room side by side - but it has been good enough to keep my two boys (age 7 and 4) happy.
I have been reading some inspiring stuff, like John Armstrong's "Track planning for Realistic Operations", Ian Rice's "Small, Smart and Practical Track Plans", and a bunch of other stuff from Kalmbach - Model Railroader Magazine, Great Model Railroads2004, 2005 and 2006, Trains Magazine, John Pryke's "Building City Scenery", Mike Danneman's "Scenery for your railroad", the "Guide to Industries Along the Tracks" and a bunch of other books and web sites.
I have also on impulse bought *some* stuff for my new DCC two-rail layout, but I am still stymied about the most impor- tant question: *what* am I going to model on my new layout ?
This is what I know (or *think* I know - I am open to argu- ments which may cause me to change my mind :-) :1) I like H0 as a scale - I want to stay there. I know I could fit in more track and more train with N scale, but for some reason N scale just seems too small for me. 2) My available space for the layout is not huge - I have a storage/workshop basement room 8 feet by 11 feet, with a 2 1/2 foot wide door (opening out of the room) about 2 feet from the end of one of my long walls. 3) I am thinking a walk-in layout. No duckunders, no liftouts in front of the door. I will need to be able to get into the room to get tools on a fairly frequent basis,
4) I am thinking diesel engines and local freigh handling - setouts/pickups or interchange on a regional, shortline or branch line, running a max of 2-5 locos at a time, train lengths not to exceed 10 cars, max two operators at a time, but possible to operate with just one operator.5) I am thinking maybe locating the setting in the American East or Mid-West in the early 1970s (for the option of adding a pre- Amtrak passenger service at some later stage), but concentrating on local freight handling in an industrial/port/city type of setting. Perhaps a small branch line of a class 1 ?
Or perhaps setting the scene to a 1990s era regional or shortline operation in the Midwest ?6) In addition to freight handling/switching, I am going to need to have a continuous loop for the kids to run a train (where they just adjust speed/start/stop).
7) I *admire* the look e.g Malcolm Furlow's "Carbondale Central" or John Fultz's "Central City adn River Route RR", but I have no illusions about being able to superdetail city scenery to such amazing results myself.8) Also, since I really would prefer to not tempt my dear wife into smothering me with a pillow in my sleep, I do need to keep the cost of this hobby down - I need to look for engines and cars that are "reasonably" priced for someone who is *not* a train affectionado :-)
Now, I do already have *some* stuff that can be used or re- used in a DCC setup;
a) I've got about 15 yards of Peco Code 75 flextrack and four turnouts plus motors for the turnouts. Should be used if at all possible.
b) I got a MRC Prodigy DCC Command station with a tethered control and a Viessman power supply/transformer that can deliver 16 V AC, 3.25 Amps
c) I got a couple of Marklin transformers that can power lights and motors for turnouts. Or for that matter run a Marklin train on Marklin track alongside the tworail track.
d) I got a German engine with a DCC decoder installed and a couple of cars with insulated wheel sets (the cars for the Marklin track have metal axels) for testing track and command control.
e) I got an Marklin third-rail F7A-B and plenty of Marklin track plus trafos for Marklins. Mmm - maybe I could reuse some of the Marklin track and trains - running a separate passenger line on Marklin track/trains/trafos. I could probably pick up some prototypical passenger cars somewhere. Mmmm - would anyone in the East or Mid-west still run F7s on passenger trains by the early 1970s ?
and f) I got quite a bit a bit of scenery materials and lumber/ building supplies, but not much in the way of model RR struc- tures/buildings.
Now, *finally* to my questions:1) Would you recommend setting the era to early 1970s or mid- 1990s ? Or something else altogether ? Why ?
2) Anyone able to recommend a prototype railroad given the parameters I have listed ? Say Midwestern early 1970s or mid 1990s - branchline/regional/shortline mainly local switching industrial/port/city ?3) What kind of industries/layout design elements should such a railroad have to be reasonably realistic and still provide a lot of switching work ?
4) What kinds of freight locos and cars would such a railroad typically have in the early 1970 and in the mid-1990s ? Any engines and carriages that you would recommend in particular for being both time typical and inexpensive ?5) What kind of passenger engines and cars would such a railroad have in the early 1970s.
Smile, Stein R, Sorumsand, Norway steinjr online.no