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One large RR vs multiple small RRs

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  • Member since
    May 2010
  • 5,644 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, November 10, 2019 12:22 PM

I find myself thinking about building several small railroads and the idea is becoming more and more appealing all the time.  I enjoy the modeling of scenes aspect as opposed to operation so this seems like a way to have my cake and eat it to.  Whatever scale or theme I desire, I can build and have a reasonable amount of work done in a reasonable amount of time.

I get that way of thinking.  And I also get Sheldon's way on how a large layout can be built in sections and/or phases.  I can imagine Howard Zane's huge layout was built like that.

I had two layouts for a while.  My basement layout and a winter themed layout that I could set up when we had the family Christmas and holidays at our house.

I also have some On3 equipment I wanted to set up.  Haven't done that yet.

I can understand how doing smaller layouts can keep the interest alive, especially if you feel you would eventually get overwhelmed by the task of building a basement empire that will probably never get any where near completion.

I probably would never attempt a huge basement filler at my age, even if I had the space.

Speaking of huge layouts, I wonder how Mr. OneWolf is doing (I think that was his name) ?


  • Member since
    April 2018
  • From: 53° 33′ N, 10° 0′ E
  • 1,586 posts
Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Sunday, November 10, 2019 12:26 PM

I don´t think it is the size of a layout that matters, but the complexity. A small, but complex layout can use up more time and energy, than a rather simple, around the wall layout.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,447 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, November 10, 2019 1:34 PM

I have been making this point for years, large and simple is no harder than small and complex, maybe easier.

And, large can be built in phases.

The great thing about building a larger but simple layout in phases is that you get results early, but then get to work on every aspect of the hobby on some part of the layout whenever you are in that mood.

Tools, I have top notch professional tools because that is what I do for a living. But like Randy says, basic tools will do. In the late 70's I built several good sized layouts with just a power drill, skill saw, jig saw and a brace & bit.

Today building a layout, I use battery drills, battery impact drivers, compound miter saw, table saw, jig saw, nail guns and more.....because I have them.

Yes, many of the great well known large layouts were built in some sort of "phased" construction and evolved over time.

Less is not more, I like mores law, "some is good, more is better, too much is still not enough", at least when it comes to trains.



  • Member since
    February 2005
  • 616 posts
Posted by davidmurray on Sunday, November 10, 2019 3:16 PM

I agree with Sheldon on this.  A large layout with two or three small to medium towns and longish runs in between would be my ideal.

Long runs is what railroads do, more space between towns is better, large curves is better.



David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada

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