I've been going over things in my head for a while now, trying to figure out just what exactly it is I want to focus on and how I plan to go about it. This basically goes from start to finish (italizised because it's never really finished). In a couple weeks I'll have two rooms, each about 12'6" square non-ajoining, plus closets and walk-in attic space on the other side of the wall. I could draw a floor plan but that's not really necessary. I have no bench work currently. So I'm trying to decide what to do. What I've got: From about 15 years ago I still have an HO Athearn powered A-B-B-A F1 SF Freight set and a set of SW1x00 cab and slug SF locomotives along with about 45 cars, about 35 of which could run comfortably on a smallish layout. Grantid they all run a little rough and just about everyone of them needs couple maintenance. My modeling tools have all been lost and / or destroyed. Rail nippers are not to be used on 1/4" steel wire. Files are not to be loaned to ANYONE. I do have all my basic construction and home maintainence tools (hammer / screw drivers / drills / level / clamps / etc). I'm 28 and in good health, with pretty good vision with my glasses or contacts on. I've got a couple workday evenings, and two or three weekends per month to myself. I do have two rowdy cats which could become destructive. My wife and I (along with 2 cats and 2 dogs) plan to be moving within two years. And then again in three to five years, and again, and again, and again, until we've seen and lived as many places as our old tired bodies will allow. What I want: My primary focus is running trains of moderate length, sitting back and watching them wind through basic scenery. I'd like to play with some simple switching, kind of industrial puzzle switching more than interchange yard switching. I find freight more appealing than passenger. I'm not concerned with era or any particular real-world railroad or geographic location. In fact I think fictional trains would be more fun than recreating a real thing. Steam, diesil, traction, mag-lev ... it's all trains, I'm not too particular. Now that you've read my cover letter, how about a facts sheet? Givens and Druthers Railroad Name: LoudMusic Railroad, LMRR Scale: ??? This is my biggest debate. Gauge: Standard! Prototype: None Era: Kind of 1930s to 2050s ... Region: In My Mind Railroad: None in particular, perhaps make it up Space: 12' 6" x 12' 6" second floor bedroom Governing Rolling Stock: Various Freight Relative Emphasis: 80% Operation / 20% Realism 70% Mainline / 30% Switching Operational Priorities: 1. 'Long' Freight Train Operations 2. Local Freight Operations 3. Helper District Operations 4. Engine Terminal Movements 5. Mainline Passenger Train Operation 6. Passenger Train Switching Typical operation Crew: 1, occationally 2 Eye level of Owner: 5' 8" maybe?. I'm 5' 11" tall Minimum Radius: Undefined Train Length: 8 to 30 cars Maximum Grade: 4% Primary Trackage: Flex, then Sectional Couplers: Kadee, or equivelent N, manual uncoupling Power: DCC with thethered walkaround Duckunders / Liftouts: I could handle a duckunder, but not a crawl under. It has to be narrow. Distance between decks: single level, no decks Favorite Aspects of Modeling: (1) Building benchwork and laying track, (2) Operating trains, (3) Building locos and cars. I have 30(ish) hours per week for model railroading. I have $200 per month for model railroading. I can go 1 week without being able to run my favorite loco on a continuous run of track Blah blah blah blah blah ... the real question, do I ditch my existing HO junk and adopt N, or do I try to salvage my current collection? Currently I'm leaning toward ditching the old and buying up new N. It would provide me with much more runnable track and rolling stock in the long run. Maybe I just need to go to the LHS and buy an N scale 'starter box' and play with it on the kitchen table. The rest of the decisions can be altered by that one initial choice. I also figure I'm doing a "modular sectional" layout. Something that can be sectionalized and transported, with fairly easy rearrangement into a new different shaped spaced, or even modules that match up with club standards. Other than "What scale do you think I should proceed with?" I don't know that I have any questions yet. And I'm seriously considering buying some N to play with first.