Yeah! The FUN PART! I'm so excited. Marie has been coming down to the basement all day catching me on the computer drawing on the layout. She always has a chore for me. !@#$!#$. Go away!
I've decided the layout is a point to point railroad with a continuous run option. There are folks out there that design true point to point layouts. Usually they do it once. The ability to continuously run trains is almost mandatory. First of all, its fun to have trains running mindlessly around the track when you are working in the basement. Two, it is great for breaking in locomotives and testing rolling stock. Three, you'll want to show your layout to friends and having them run in circles allows you to answer questions. Four, it helps when you are videoing your layout. So I ALWAYS design a continuous run.
Just like the Heart of Georgia or "HOG" layout, I'll use a continuous run to lengthen the layout. Each town, instead of being next to each other is one lap around the layout away from each other, thus lengthening the mainline run. It works very well and the Dixie Central used this concept, too.
In my head I know what I'm looking for. For NMRA's AP Engineer Civil and Scenery I only need the equivalent of a 4x8 in HO. Our room, though inhibited by several objects around the wall, is 12' x 14' feet. This is much larger than a bedroom layout, so we've got ample layout room. However, unlike most folks, I don't want to cram the room full. I want it comfortable and not stacked on top of itself. So our goal is to make a pleasant mainline that is easily reachable. This layout must be built quickly. Its not a life long project. I want it done in 1.5 years.