FAQ:Where are good places to build large scale layouts?
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Somewhere out in the garden-- in a very large basement-- in a spare 2 car garage--
Many layouts include a tunnel or doorway into the interior of the house or garage. This makes it simple to let the train chug its own way out of the weather. The interior can be a 'fiddle' or 'staging' yard (either a through or stub yard), or just a short track over the workbench to park the trains.
Out in the garden I'd recommend several things. First, make a scale plan of your yard. As most of the house and garden magazines tell you, include trees, flower beds, pathways, etc. etc. Figure out which parts of the yard are available for the layout, and which are out-of-bounds.
Next, see the FAQ article on FAQ:How much space do large scale layouts take? and mark the layout area in 'squares.'
Play around with track plans in the layout area. Pay attention to places where the layout will cross driveways or pathways, you will need to reinforce or protect the track at these points.
Make a trip to the garden, and make rough notes about the grade changes from place to place along the planned route. Notes concerning where the track will change elevation, and where bridges will support the track should be noted.
Also note places that are 'under' or 'over' things-- under trees that drip sap, over the gully across the yard, under the deck, over the flower beds. The transitions from one area to another may need special treatment-- track under the trees may need more cleaning. The gulley may need a bridge or trestle.
Plan for bridges and tunnels. Make sure to allow for access! Your hands may need to reach into the tunnel to give a nudge to a stalled train; if the bridge is a truss, can your hands fit between the struts to clean track or rerail trains? Will you need a hinged lid over the tunnel??
Evaluate construction techniques-- poured concrete roadbed or deep gravel?
Where will you put the power feeds? Will the turnouts all be accessible? Will you need additional power feeds to the far ends of the layout?