| kf4mat wrote:|
Okay, dumb question time here at newbie central. I clicked on the link for the Western Maryland RR. Just out of curiosity how come every track plan I see always gives an Era? I can't seem to find a reason for that to matter or is there some law that I am unaware of that says if this track plan dates itself in the 50's and you get caught running modern equipment on it you can be finned $10,000 and up to 2 years in jail.
It's not that the plan is unusable in a different era, region, etc. But the trend has been away from generic track plans because they often don't work very well or aren't particularly realistic for a given prototype, region, or era.
Most modern layout design efforts are based around a particular theme - an idea or vision that the designer wanted to showcase in/on the layout. Layouts that actually feature the vision that is the model railroader's head tend to be a lot longer lived than layouts built around somebody else's vision.
Also, most designers see track planning as just one key aspect of designing a layout. In order to showcase a vision, an operating scheme, scenery outline, region, prototype, and era must be thought out - it's not just a track plan.
To give a specific example: my favored era and region is 1900 on the US North Pacific coast. My car lengths, train lengths, and locomotives are relatively short when compared to modern or even transition era modeling. A passing track length of 6ft (a dozen cars plus locomotive) is quite adequate. 18" radius curves are viable provided I keep passenger car length less than 60ft; 22" radius curves are reasonable for even a good-sized HO layout.
These parameters are probably not very useful for a modern era layout. Designing for modern era in the same space would mean less track, something on the order of 30" radius curves, and passing sidings at least twice the length. Structures would be much larger and take more space.
So by providing the fact that my layout plan was designed around 1900-era rolling stock, I clue others that using the same plan for modern era is likely going to require significant revisions and a fair amount more space than my plan shows. Also, somebody modeling Illinois, Indiana, etc is probably not going to be happy with the curves, grades, and elevation changes I have used to represent the Pacific Northwest.
hope this answers the question