This is my first post on this forum. I had a model railroad that was 8' by 12' when I was a teenager, but haven't had one since then (nearly 40 years). What does it cost now to make one on average per square foot?
It's a very open ended question to try to calculate an average cost per square foot. It depends on the level of detail you desire.
Unlike 40 years ago, there is a mammoth amount of scenery components available from dozens of vendors. Our hosts here have published many books and videos to help enhance your skills. A search of Youtube.com will reveal many other amateur instructional videos.
You can spend as much or as little as you like.
Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow
you may want to repost this in the model RR forum - however maybe you're wise to post it here where all kinds of tests can be carried out - also , if you wish : how it feels to skyrocket a question out into the forum .
I guess it all depends on 'density of equipment' or 'details in landscaping' . For me , if so , it might easily score up when following my favorite idea of freelancing a large steam shed facility , something like two 3/4 roundhouses , rectangular repair shop , paint shop , reserve parts and lubrication stores , heating plant , coaling dock with large crane , several water columns , fire handling places , an old smaller diameter external turn table , maybe an old closed roof rotunda , now used for spares , facility shunting engine , maybe some reserve tenders filled with some odd fluids such as cleansings or what have you .. not everything must be readily perceivable or fully logical in a large steam shed , some of it may well remain pretty obscure to a potential visitor - and even to part of the staff , actually - *g* - after all , steam locomotives as it seems were but partly results of technical engineering and construction processes - with daily work and miles accumulating , they seemed to also acquire a secret life and character of their own ; and accordingly they were understood by at least some of the human counterparts running them .
My steam shed would be a tolerably wide spread facility , with areas stemming from earlier times and with later modifications and latest acquisitions ; a venerable old little park in front of the lodging house with large canteen on the ground floor , the Art Deco style office structure overlooking in-coming and out-going tracks .. at night activity undiminished , lights are shining through from the roundhouses and all the working facilities have lamps and light on , signals and switches indicate track path for engines leaving to head trains through the night bound for ..
It would be a dream and so I can as well keep it my head that way - that even has an imponderable advantage with me slipping into the scenery until I can hear the turntable grumbling , the locomotives hissing and whistling , I can wander around on the site and see the large steam locomotives coming in , waiting to leave - and all steamed up , dark , sinister , warm and huge - as it all has long since grown to 1 : 1 scale in my mind ...