First, well, first everything.
I am wanting to do a HO scale layout. I have been reading constantly on here over the past week or so trying to learn and see what others have done. I was going to do a basic 4x8 plywood layout, but the one thing I have learned is that it won't keep me happy for long. I want to be able to expand to something with bigger curves etc.
What I am thinking is creating the benchwork and getting one main constant line running. This would probably help me do away with the bug I have to get something going. Also with my daughter only being 3, it would be easier for her to run. I wouldn't do much scenery except in parts that I know would not be expanded with more rails etc. Leaving a lot of it just the bare bench and building it up as time allows. I need the bigger radius curves so that I can run bigger steam locomotives. Right now I feel overwhelmed with track plans. For right now I think I would like it to be a more rural route and expand to an industrial area as my skill level increases, this would also save some money on turnouts and such for the time being.
The room I am working in is also where the furnace and water heater are in the basement. It's not overly hot or humid, so I think I am ok there, it just gives me an odd shape to work with. I have 2 walls cleared that I can use. One wall is 14' long, the other is 12' long. Can someone give me some ideas on how I can get started on this? I want to do it all right, and not have something that I have to tear apart again in a few months, but I would like to get at least a train up and going. There is an adjoining room off of the 12' wall that I could cut holes through the wall and run tracks into for a staging area at some point as well. That room is 12' x 10'
Thanks for any help. Like I said, just want to get something started.
So you have a 14'x12' L-shape basically? I was gonna say if you're still stuck with 4'x8' you might want to drop down to N. :P
How far can you/are you willing to extend out from the walls? Even 10-15" will give you plenty of room for a mildly winding track from one point to the other, but given you mentioned a small child I imagine you want a loop rather than strictly point-to-point. A pretty common wall design is to have large sections at either end for a loop and then have the parts in the middle thinner. Going around the furnace shouldn't be a problem as again many people with basement layouts do this, in fact if anything it gives you the opportunity to have some corners in addition to the loops at either end.
Rather than a rectangular island-type layout, consider something like this one from Byron Henderson:
It's a much better use of space, and it is a much more interesting layout than the old-fashioned 4x8.