When I first got out of college and on my own, I decided to build a nice N-scale layout. I built a plan I found in an N-scale book. It’s 6’x4’, has a 2x4 frame and plywood for the top. I laid the track, got it running, and then my social life interfered, complete with husband. So, for the next 3 decades, I lugged the thing from house to house, always planning to get back to it (and in the meantime buying engines, rolling stock, buildings, people, etc). Well, now I’m approaching retirement and have decided this would be a great project. Unfortunately, over the years the German foam roadbed I used has crumbled and deteriorated to a big mess. So, at a minimum, the track has to be pulled up and re-laid. I have about a dozen engines of various types, about 100 cars rolling stock (used to buy cars after Christmas at Woolco’s for $0.09 in the early 70’s!). I also have a city’s-worth of buildings and accessories. I am having fun right now building some buildings, painting them, adding “curtains”, that kinda stuff (yeah, it’s great being a girl, you can admit to liking “cute” things), and planning little vignettes. I’m not aiming at super-realism, but want more than a bare-plastic stuck-together look. Mountains and tunnels are a must. I would appreciate some advice before I get too far along. 1) It’s obvious from reading this forum that building methods have changed. Would I be better off tossing this layout and building something out of foam with a lighter frame? I’m not planning on moving it, but are there other advantages of the foam that would make losing the time invested in this one worthwhile? 2) Would it make any sense to add a thin foam layer to the entire top? Not sure what this would do for me… 3) I am vacillating between simplifying the track plan (it can be made into one huge loop that doubles back several times) and going DCC. When I got the track running long ago, I was disappointed in how much effort and concentration it took to keep two trains running on it, with the reversing loops, etc. Especially at this stage of life I’m more tempted by “watching the pretty train go ‘round.” But getting the acceleration/deceleration functions, sounds, individual control of trains, etc sounds like a lot of fun. I don’t have unlimited $$$, but am willing to spend a bit to get something I’m pleased with. I’m leaning toward the Zephyr. Any comments? 4) I haven’t found anything that discusses the size issue for DCC decoders. Are they small enough to fit in the engine, or will I have to use dummies with the diesels and tenders on the steam for them? Will I be able to retrofit my old stock to work with them? I’m a reasonably competent solderer, but don’t want to get into too much of a mess getting things to work. 5) Can you add sound effects in N-scale? Enough room? Everything I have read about sound talks about 1” speakers, obviously not an N-scale solution. 6) Long ago I also put together a small oval layout for Christmas. I drilled holes under the buildings and used a string of Christmas lights to light the houses. How do y’all light buildings? I’m sure I’d need to use a dimmer with the Christmas lights, to keep the heat down, but is this a reasonable idea? Lots of questions, and I’m sure I’ll have lots more as I go, but I’ve been very impressed with the thoughtful and knowledgeable posts on this forum. Thanks in advance for your advice! I'll also post some pics of the mess I'm starting with.