I have been thinking about how to start the design of my model railroad. Watching Youtube videos from railroad modelers and doing lots of reading, I think the following are the major categories that need to be considered.

Of course, having the space defined and the track plan is required, but they will be handled in another post.

  1. Benchwork: Any construction requires a solid foundation, for a model railroad, this is benchwork.
  2. Sub-roadbed: The materials on which the track and other visible components of the layout are constructed. This is typically some form of plywood or wooden base with possibly styrofoam or other moldable/cuttable material on top for sound suppression and modeling purposes. Usually includes a layer of cork or other material as the top-level on which the track is glued or nailed.
  3. Track and railroad structures: Track consists of rails, ties, and ballast on which the trains run. Railroad structures include signals, overhead equipment for electric locomotives, signal boxes, decouplers, etc.
  4. Scenes: The sections of the layout that show what the modeler wants to showcase, for example, towns, industries, yards, etc.
  5. Scenery: The components that make the layout look like the prototype, include mountains, a backdrop, roads, rivers, grass, trees, etc.
  6. Structures: The buildings making up the environment of the railroad, also include industries that form the purpose of the railroad, i.e., what does the railroad do.
  7. Rolling stock: the locomotive, passenger cars, freight wagons, etc.
  8. Control equipment: For a DCC railroad, this section concerns the control system, command center, boosters, wiring, etc. I plan to add electrical connectors between sections of the railroad and have track breaks to make moving the section and moving it easier.
  9. Lighting: Appropriate lighting, mimicing sunlight is very important. Also, sufficient and correct color of lighting helps to create the illusion that the model is the prototype.
  10. Miscellaneous: Items not directly related to the functioning of the railroad Included here. They are additional items that enhance the enjoyment or the use of the layout and included webcams, both moving and stationary.

See here for more information.

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