Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just the Same, Only Different!

I've had an interesting run of five spare-room-sized custom layout design projects recently. Although all were roughly 100 to 150 square feet in overall size, they spanned the country from the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania to the California desert and eras from the 1930s to nearly the present day.

While I'm usually too caught up in the design process on a particular project for much reflection, looking back now on the finished designs I am struck by the wide variety of ways to enjoy
model railroading. The choices and trade-offs required for model railfanning vs. operations vs. replicating a place and time (or balancing all three) makes for very different solutions to the challenge of a similar space. And all that is compounded by a variety of eras, scales, gauges and even design approaches (twice-around, multi-deck, etc.).

I think the resulting layouts will serve well their specific builder's particular interests and desires. But not one of them would satisfy any of the other owners' needs. And in my mind, that diversity is one of the best parts of my job and our hobby.

The next projects in process and in the queue are larger and bring their own unique challenges. But the breadth of these recent track plans reminds me that even a layout in a more-modest space can have a unique personality and tell a compelling story.