Monday, June 30, 2008

The all-important "Givens and Druthers"

There's a phrase used in model railroad planning, "Givens and Druthers." I have no idea what a druther is, but the concept is to basically outline several goals one is attempting to reach with the design of a new railroad.

Here's mine:
  • Faithful representation of the Northwest district of the New South Wales Railway, circa 1978-80
  • Around-the-wall benchwork, protruding no more than 30" into the middle of the room, allowing the middle of the room to be used to family activities
  • Double-deck design to maximize space
  • At least two rural switching locations with "crossing loops" (passing tracks)
  • Staging in adjacent bedroom
  • Helix connecting two levels with 26" radius curves, no more than 2.5% gradient
  • Small mainline/branchline junction, yard and locomotive facilities on upper level
  • Ability to accomodate trains up to 6 1/2' in length, which will represent a typical train of the era on this section of the railroad
  • Opportunity to eventually implement some form of staff-system operation per the prototype
  • Lighting valence above upper level, and lighting under each deck to provide dramatic layout lighting in otherwise darkened room during operating sessions
  • Thin profile benchwork on upper deck to maximize separation between levels (ideally 16-20")
  • Utilize untraditional methods of roadbed and scenery (i.e. stacked and sculpted ceiling)
  • Apart from a few locations, standardization on hand-laid #5 turnout geometry
  • Once benchwork is completed, rest of layout room must be clean and habitable for use by the rest of the family.

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