new here , but not to trains.
I'm semi retired now after a 42 year career as an electrical engineer in the communications industry. I only answer questions now.
working on my third layout in the last 45 years. For the first time in my life I have the three basic things you need for this hobby: time, space (beautiful fully finished rec room, with adjacent kitchen!!) and money.
So on number three, I have the bench work complete (went with 1/2" plywood ripped into 4" wide strips). I had my doubts about the structural integrity of this arrangement but I've found it makes very solid and sturdy benchwork. No regrets there.
Using Digitrax for control. I have all the benchwork wired now using the Digitrax PM42 for isolation/short protection etc. I've wired terminal strips a key locations all over the layout to distribute the DCC. I will then run feeds down from the track and connect to the terminal strips. All that wiring is down and checks out ok.
Next step is to find the correct type of extruded foam for scenery. I would like to try this method (having tried most of the others) as it looks easy, quick, is light weight and would seem to provide excellent results. I don't really want to get into the plaster thing except the little bit that might be required with the foam.
I've been out of the hobby for about 20 years and I am just blown away at how the digital wave has transformed this hobby. The control you have now is just incredible with these DCC systems.