But it was refreshing recently when my client gave me very different instructions: include only about half the elements typical of a roughly 400 square foot space in HO. Rather than packing in more towns, he wanted to use the space for broader curves, more realistic scenes, and a longer run between elements.
The resulting design suggests nicely the wide-open-spaces of the upper Midwest along the Great Northern Railway's lines in North Dakota and Minnesota. Designed in sections, the layout can move to a new room without starting from scratch. And it should offer plenty of operating interest and scenic potential.
The full story of the concept and design of this layout was featured in the February 2011 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist mediazine, always free for download on the web. You can also see the layout in my online model railroad layout design gallery.
"Relaxed and realistic" was definitely fun for a change!