Atlas N scale flex track is easy to work with (easiest from what I hear), and the turnouts in N are pretty reliable. Atlas HO turnouts are loved by some, hated by others, but you don't hear a lot of bad about the N (ducking under the desk to avoid any flames ). I use Atlas N scale code 75 for my HOn30 (HO running on N track). I tried code 55 and some of my stuff wouldn't run on it. Newer stuff is said to be OK. I'm not as picky as some folks (we sometimes lovingly refer to the picky ones as "rivet counters" ), but to me code 75 looks fine. My preference is flex track, especially for logging or industrial settings, where the prototype doesn't always follow the "rules", and neither should we . If I were to start in N today, here's what I would do: 1 Try to decide what area(s) of model RR interest me the most, and what amount of space I have to work with. 2 Download free RTS software from http://www.atlasrr.com/ and begin playing with it and learning it, and get some track plans brainstormed and drawn up. Post them and look at other folks plans. You might check Shamus's at: http://www.badger-creek.co.uk/ 3 Identify a hobby shop or three (local or internet). Study the prototype (just a little!) and order the appropriate loco(s) and rollin' stock, enough track for a test loop with a couple of turnouts. Also order a transformer, good one or cheap one. If you are using internet hobby shops, it's best to ask around if they are reputable, and make sure everything is in stock and determine the backorder policy. 4. Build the test loop on some flat surface. This can be a piece of plywood, shelving, a door, etc. Do not permanantly mount it at this time, just use small nails that fit the holes in the ties (if they are too big, they ruin the ties). Play with it until you get bored 5. Begin to plan the real layout and begin acquiring stuff for scenicking, buildin's, LPB's, track, more loco's and rollin' stock as desired (afforded), etc. 6. Acquire some material similar to what the real layout will be made of (blue foam, hollow door, etc.) and beging a mini layout using the test loop. The test loop will become an experimnetal learning mini layout, and will always be valuable as a test loop for testing and breaking in loco's. Try to keep it very simple, and small, and portable. Play with it until you get bored 7. Start the real layout, based on what was learned on the test loop, unless the test loop became the real layout and you are happy with it Insert "build some kits" and "scratchbuild" or "kitbash" anywhere above The idea is to take it a little at a time and learn along the way. All eforts are either a learning experiance, or something that will be used onthe real layout. You will have a great time in the hobby, just remember it is just that, fun.