::: WARNING!! We've got a novel here! ::: Good day, folks! As I said in my new member introduction, I have switched gears. I have decided it is in my best interest to switch scales... Again! I had begun acquiring O-Scale 3-rail equipment with plans to build a nice layout in this same space. One that my father, who may not live to see it come to fruition, would have an easier time assisting with, operating, and seeing. Unfortunately, I realized that I am probably not going get this completed in time for him to enjoy. So I have decided it makes no sense to try to sell off all of the excellent equipment that we have accumulated together over the last three plus decades of focusing on N-Scale. Plus, this is now going to be a labor of love and a 'living' monument to my father. I have to leave a somewhat functional "hang out" space to keep the boss lady on board, but it also gives me plenty of ingress into the attic storage. That is accounted for in the 5' of space along the "top." Keeping her happier helps things progress more quickly and she is already less than enthused that I will essentially be eliminating the door from the garage into the backyard, but sacrifices must be made. HA! I am currently building this in AnyRail using Unitrack, because of the fact that we have a BUNCH of it already, but I figure I can always rework it if need be using another manufacturer's track. (Especially if there were to be overwhelming info/evidence against it) I plan to give it a Southwestern feel, predominantly because that is what I have seen most regularly most of my life. I am, therefor, rather found of that 'feel' and it gives me plenty of references and very fond memories to draw from. It will essentially be freelanced but will have some very Cajon/Soldier Summit feels to it. I will definitely be using DCC. I hope to have enough 'work,' and space, to have at least three people to be operating simultaneously when the possibility arises. I have seen a few things where people have noted operating their rolling stock at OVER NMRA standards and all have stated that it improved performance. Anyone here have experience doing the same? I'm kicking around doubling the "standard." The lower level is what I am concentrating on currently. I plan to have that at 42" off the floor and then gain the elevation as I move around the layout peaking at 62" at summit, then dropping to 60" at the yard on the second level just above the main yard on the lower level. Yards will double as staging and classification. The small yard on the penninsula will be a smaller "local" yard for the road that will operates up the pass via trackage rights (likely Santa Fe/BNSF). The main road will be Union Pacific. It will be 1995 - Presentish as I miss the days of SP/DRGW/CNW and, have plenty of rolling stock and power from that time period, and... as I once heard someone with a MOST impressive layout say, "Well, it's MY railroad." I like the idea I saw somewhere during some recent research about limiting cars per powered axle. I like the prototypical 'feel' of that. I have been kicking around some parameters for operations based on that idea. I'm leaning towards locals operating with no more than 2 powered units at 1 car per powered axle. Mainline trains operating at a maximum of three powered units on the headend at 1.5 cars per powered axle, not to exceed 10' total length. I have a pocket track in the main yard (lower level) and a siding at Summit for "helper" use, which would be handy if operating higher than NMRA weight standards. In any case... Still dilberating on additional industy/customers along the way before and maybe after Summit. (any ideas?) I am also trying to envision how I am going to "transition" in the area where the layout essential crosses over the top of itself. A bridge of some sort, maybe? I dunno... I have plenty of time to iron that out. Hahaha... Any ideas/critiques/warnings welcomed. If you have made it this far with me... "THANK YOU!"