I am probably not the only one who goesthrough the following process. I started my railroad modeling when I was about 6 or so. Most Christmases would find a TYCO train set under the tree. I was into HO modeling for years. Although while growing up, I never had a place to put up a layout. Then one year (I was about 12 or so), I saw an N scale layout at a train show. That started me on building a small N scale layout of my own. Then Z scale came along. So I dabbled in that scale for a time. Then I came back to HO. I still kept my N and Z scale items though. One day at a train show I saw, and HEARD a G scale switcher go by on a layout. Instantly, I was hooked on trains with sound. The HO, N, and Z stuff went back into boxes while I invested time and effort into “G” scale. The only problem is that I never had the space for G. But I kept dreaming big! I knew that I wanted a layout that rivaled the ones built by Tony Koester, Allen Mclleland, or John Allen. I tried, to build layouts like theirs, but kept tearing it down before it was even finished. There was just “something missing”. I was not happy. Then I became involved with a model train group. Their primary focus was O gauge trains. Never cared about “3-rail” stuff until then. Through the club I learned to appreciate O gauge. So over time, I bought some O gauge things. “G” scale went to the wayside. 3-rail trains were fun. But there was still “something missing”. Over several years and several moves, I have sold off most of my items. I just kept the things that mean something to me: An N scale engine and a couple of cars. A few HO TYCO items. Most notably my “Durango” train set. My Athearn SD40T-2. A custom painted caboose. And a few O gauge things for under the Christmas tree. Now I find that I am at a time and place where I have a plywood table (4 ½ x 7) What should I do? What do I want? I have several options: I can go to “S” scale or a small “O” gauge layout. My goal was to create realistic scenes in a scale that everybody can notice. For example if I build a building with an interior, I want people to see the work I put into it. I thought HO was a bit small in this respect. I laid down some O gauge track. But my table size is too small for what I want to achieve. I want to have a realistic layout with well detailed scenes. The sharp turns and 3-car trains just didn't “do it” for me. Currently, I thought about going into“S” scale. But after researching “S” gauge, I find that it is just too difficult to find and obtain the items I want or need. I SALUTE AND RESPECT the people who model in this scale. But I don't think it is for me. Throughout this “many years long development process” I have always been attracted to the items I grew up with; the HO trains. I enjoy looking at books / magazines /articles / advertisements from the mid-'70's to the early '90's. I enjoy looking at the TYCO and Athearn blue box trains that are on ebay. I get a sense of nostalgia reminiscing about the fun I had with those trains. So what do I ENJOY about model railroading? I enjoy kit-bashing engines and cars. I enjoy re-painting trains to fit my own ficticious railroad. I enjoy the“simple” engines that don't have all the fancy electronics and doo-dads in them. I also enjoy the older controllers with knobs on them. Today most people I know have hand-held remote controllers with a dial. I like the rugged feel of the older type transformers and their handles. What do I WANT in a train layout? I want a layout that I can see. N and Z are too small for me. O scale is too big for my space. S gauge is hard to find. I want trains that don't derail easily Todays' trains are made to scale dimensions, including wheels that are scale in flange depth. And they keep derailing. I want the older trains with the deeper flanges. I want engines that “keep on running” without breaking down due to some failure in the electronic system. I want engines that I can put on the track and run without having to program them. I want engines that I don't have to spend hours on trying to solder tiny electrical leads to. I want trains that I can afford. DCC is great, but it can be time consuming. It is also costly. DCC equipped trains are becoming more and more expensive ereryday. So now I think that I am going “retro”. I want to get that “good feeling” back that I had as a kid playing with trains. So I am going back to HO. I am going to find TYCO trains and re-motor them with older Athearn “Blue Box”chassis and motors (I know, TYCO trains had crappy motors). I will also find “older” but well-made trains such as Athearn “blue box” engines, and Stewart engines. I remember a time when Stewart engines were considered to be one of the “top of the line” engines. They were expensive. Growing up, I could never afford one. Now I find them on ebay for cheap. These older engines are not going to be anywhere close to the “fancy DCC" engines of today. But hopefully those types of engines, and a simple DC layout will fill that nostalgic yearning that I have. So there you have it; my ruminations. Will I be happy with my choice? I hope so. Will I be successfull? Hopefully. Currently, I am excited and thrilled about my decision. I can't wait to get started. I am curious as to how many of you fellow railroaders out there have gone through a similar process? What scale of trains did you wind up settling on and why? Are you satisfied with your choice? If you have a similar story to share, please do.