What Would You Do?
If you had to restart the hobby from ground zero knowing what you know now what would you do?
Would you:
A: Choose another era? All steam? All early diesel? Both? The 60s? 70s? 80s? 90s? Today?
B. Downsize your "dream" layout and use the "kiss" method?
C. Prototype or freelance?
D. Go with how you currently model?
For me:
A. I would model the 60s or if freelanced 1958/59.. 
B. I would stick with industrial switching layouts..
C. This is a tough question for me to answer. While I like and did model the C&O, I always had a secret desire to model either the U.P or M.P-I like M.Ps Jenks Blue scheme.
D. No way! I would cut out the multi road names and return to my roots-one road name prototype or freelance.
As far as freelance I would stay with Summerset Ry with a twist.. I would use two Atlas RS-1s for motive power since the era would be 58/59.. What can I say? I like those West India Fruit & Steamship boxcars with the railroad car ferry on the side.
I would without a doubt keep Kiss in mind and probably stay with simple DC operation since I still enjoy using my Control Master 2 or Control Master 20.

Summerset Ry

Make Safety your first thought, Not your last!  Safety First!
I did that in spring 2018 and it did not change anything. Just a better and solid benchwork.

My "dream" would be a square room with four interconnected ISLs around the room. Each side a different theme

- 2000+ Northeast CSX, NS
- 2000+ Southeast CSX, NS
- 2000+ LA basin UP
- 1980+ Northeast CR

and every six month reworking one of the themes while the other three stay untouched fully operational.
The workbench in the middle of the room.

End of dream have go get hard rolls from the bakery :-)
Everything would pretty much be the same other than the layout would be smaller and the other two railroads would be represented by passive and not active staging.

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
From ground zero?

Wish I'd started with N-Scale - Not HO.

Wish I'd read the manuals sooner.

Wish I had friends and neighbours who were also Model Railroaders so I wasn't working in a vacuum.

Wish I'd joined a club.
Ron Wm. Hurlbut
Toronto, Ontario, Dominion of Canada
Ontario Narrow Gauge Show
Humber Valley & Simcoe Railway Blog
I recently had the opportunity to start over, and I chose to just do what I was doing before.

Stay with N scale, not only because that's what I have in rolling stock and structures, but still because I can get a lot more in less space.
Stay with freelancing, I don't know any better and am too old to change.
Stay with "today", meaning I can have new and old structures and they'll fit in.
In other words, I'm trodding down the same path that I did before, I enjoy kits, kitbashing and scratchbuilding and scenery, running trains is not my prime motivation, creating things is....
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
I would have designed the layout as an around the room instead of a 13 X 9 solid area.
I also would have built another level 2' above the floor while I was creating the benchwork instead of having to add in in later. I still haven't started this level.
I would have gone all Aristo Craft track, i had some LGB that presented issues when used with Aristo.
I wish I had learned about the open house tours earlier, so i could have learned more about track planning.
~~ Mikey KB3VBR (Admin)
~~ NARA Member # 75    
~~ Baldwin Eddystone Unofficial Website

~~ I wonder what that would look like in 1:20.3???
I know I'm late to this thread but I think about this alot.

I didn't fall in love with trains that are easy to model. I've always want to model the Northeast Corridor, and that means electrics and commuter trains. I really found myself drawn to that early Conrail period, right before electric freight was discontinued and all of the Conrail GG1s were retired. There are a lot of issues with modeling this:

1.) Catenary. I'm not afraid of it, i've built some and while its not awful, it's not a simple obstacle.
2.) Commuter trains. No one makes them. They almost all need to be acquired from limited resin kits or brass, which makes them, difficult and/or expensive.
3.) Electric locomotives/MU Cars. There are many conspicuous gaps in model production that would make modeling the electrified zones somewhat difficult.
4.) Size. Passenger trains need broad curves, a 4-6 track broadway eats up real estate.

Honestly, the only reason I would stick to this prototype is that over the last decade is because by luck and persistence, I've been able to accumulate enough appropriate trains. I scooped up lots of resin Arrow and Silverliner MUs, I found some brass E44s, and Walthers just blew me away by mass producing Metroliners (i never would have imagined that in a million years).

If I were to model a modern Industrial Short Line or a Transition Era PRR Branchline, it would be that much easier to do it prototypically and not have to worry about the trains, or be stalking eBay and having to struggle with the defeat knowing that i might only get a few shots at acquiring a particular car or engine due to rarity.


A.) I would stick to my current era, but if I HAD to change, I would be split between the 50s or the recent past.
B.) Well, its hard to pick anything more complex than a 4 track electrified mainline, so I'd probably be downsizing regardless. I'd like some mainline action, but I'd definitely look for some switching.
C.) Prototype for sure. I don't know that freelance gives me the same excitement. I like learning about things, I like to "preserve the past".
D.) I think I'd be tempted to stick with what I currently model, even if I had to let go of my Northeast Corridor ambitions. Except for my electrics/passenger-commuter trains, it would be easy to roll most of my locomotives and rolling stock into one of the many non-electrified freight lines in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

There are a lot of times though that I feel I made a poor choice, but then the flipside is that almost no one is doing what I'm doing. There has been a lot of new PRR electrified layouts around lately, but I don't see anyone seriously trying to model that early Conrail era, or those sunset years of the GG1s. Heck, just from doing the research, its clear that alot of that decade has slipped from people's memory, so maybe it requires attention.
Modeling New Jersey Under the Wire 1978-1979.  
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(10-20-2019, 07:13 PM)Brakie Wrote: If you had to restart the hobby from ground zero knowing what you know now what would you do?
Would you:
A: Choose another era? All steam? All early diesel? Both? The 60s? 70s? 80s? 90s? Today?
B. Downsize your "dream" layout and use the "kiss" method?
C. Prototype or freelance?
D. Go with how you currently model?

Funny you should say that...

Sooo... looks like I last logged on here January 2, 2011.  Holy smokes!  Since then, I built a room layout that was the apple of my eye... I tore it out when my folks had to move in with us later that year so they could go on hospice and we needed to put a kiddo in there.  (it was in a bedroom in the basement).  Then I built a layout in the garage... a simple 4ish by 8ish using River Valley as a guide.  That one died, too, due to father-in-law medical needs. Moved a bunch of his stuff into the garage, layout had to go!  

Eventually, the kids will move out, right??

As of right now, I am trackless (ah-ha... ah-ha). I was thinking of buying a Harbor Freight 10x17 garage and moving a vehicle in there and using the garage space once again.  But the garage layout was always SO dusty. (Some of the dust weathered stuff better than I could!!!)

BUT... as for the questions:

A. Steam/Early Diesel. This is what I love... late 40s to early 50s. 
B. Depends.  I always try to KISS... ballasting a room sized layout was very zen for me.  But I can see where it can get to the Runaway stage and it becomes your life.
C. Freelance. It's my world. Yes, I try to keep to Northern Pacific but... there are a few Great Northern in storage.
D. I would LOVE to be currently modeling. I am thinking of scratch building a few buildings just to keep myself busy.

Happy New Year!

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(01-03-2020, 07:37 PM)deckroid Wrote:

Sooo... looks like I last logged on here January 2, 2011.  Holy smokes!....

It's good to see you back, George!  And, since you're here, just wondering if the GERN material is still getting through to you.  I'll have another new ad to send out in a day or two.

Getting through perfectly. My GERN folder has been getting some attention lately as I keep going back and looking for billboards for when I rebuild.
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