It's said that people who live with a pet being to look like each other. I wonder if it's true with layouts?
After a little advice with where to start, I'm going to start sharing how I'm about to make my first layout. I'll try to open it up to feedback as much as possible, especially at the beginning when it's most likely to have a big impact. I'm also going to try to rationalize some decisions here, irrationalize others for sometimes rational reasons, and hopefully share some photos of builds.
Before I begin, I just want to point out that CAD and design tools are great. As someone with quite literally a lifetime using them, I also know when in the design process I shouldn't. Now is one of those times. I tried and tried and tried and have failed for months to come up with a decent small layout. I caught a case of "Not Invented Here" syndrome while focusing on other things. Once diagnosed, the remedy and recovery is quick and simple: find the pro.
David K. Smith has a great description of this plan at his website, but I could't find any examples or mentions of it being built. Reading the description of it made me jump! YES! This is what I've been trying to achieve and here it is, and I don't have to use a CAD tool! That's also how I stumbled on to this site. After a few false starts trying to design one myself, I had finally found a pro who is graciously giving the plans away for free on the internet. David, if you read this, I'll order some more of your fine products ASAP (awesome products, would not be working in z scale without that NZT ruler).
First, the base or source design - "Centraila & Western" by David K. Smith:
Copyright © 2007-2012 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Since I'm handlaying track, and theming with a greenspace-intensive "industry" centered in the layout, I softened, race tracked, and rotated a bit, resulting in a bit more closely parallel track an relo a building:
I reconfigured the roads too, adding a bit of parking lot to the 50% enlarged building in the middle. I can extend or cut the spurs to any length, and here I'm showing the max. Adding a bit of sand and grass allows me to play with positive and negative a bit. Night-time lighting is going to be fun! My roommate thinks that it should be for the Coney Island cyclones, but I'm pretty sure he just wants to watch me struggle trying to make a working scale ferris wheel with lights.
Thinking about zones in general (power, transit, urban planning, operations) and signals led to this quick sketch:
The signals or markers are mostly B.S... I haven't learned how/where they're prototypically positioned yet. Double dots are ends of line, dark blue are mid-point / double and cyan or light blue are single point/direction. I assume the signals are petty close to 99.9% wrong for a block system.
The eastern half may have a city/urban background backdrop bas relief to be determined.
I'd like to keep the elevation and bridge in the layout, but I still have some table-vs-coffee table issues to think about.
Let me know what you think about how I'm starting off, especially with regards to the documentation.