I finally decided to go N-scale! After wracking my brain as to where to construct a layout, I just went into the garage and measured my Home Depot-built workbench cabinets. It runs most of the width of the garage, but the total area of the countertops measures only 20" x 12'. Though, I figure I can just build overhangs at each end to accommodate the 180°-turnarounds, or even build out a larger 'L' return at one end. This makes things a bit easier to get started since I don't have to build complete benchwork from scratch.
As the thread title indicates, I plan to integrate a fair amount of Kato Unitram street components into my layout. I ordered a few pre-built Tomix and Kato N-scale buildings to begin to populate my small urban-center, and I also ordered a couple of Walther's N-scale oil derricks (which are also present in and around parts of L.A.). I bought a pile of my favorite diesels, mostly Kato and Atlas engines, all in the Southern Pacific roadname. The location and era of my mostly-freelanced layout is Los Angeles in the mid-1990s to present-day. My most ambitious endeavor will be to produce a backlit photographic background for my entire layout using a Duratrans translucent display.
Since I'm not exactly sure of how the Kato Unitrack and Unitram components fit together, I thought I'd just start with some small starter kits. Here's my first Unitrack order:
• Kato V11 double-track set:
I plan on running four independent lines with my newly acquired inventory of N-scale locos:
• Kato SD45s x2 Southern Pacific "speed" logo (MU'd).
• Kato F40PH x2 Metrolink commuter (MU'd) + Metrolink bombardier coaches (on pre-order).
• Atlas GP35s x5 Southern Pacific "Roman" logo (MU'd).
• Tomix Odakyu Series-4000 electric light-rail.
I think Unitrack dual-track is a neat way to add interest for those with limited layout space, and in this layout I'll have two, dual-track loops (one, completely elevated). Each dual-track loop will run a freight line and a passenger line, providing visibly contrasting operating scale-speeds. My layout is all-analog, and will eventually employ four separate controllers, plus two Kato Soundboxes (connected to a passive mixer into an external surround-sound stereo) to accompany freight-line operations.
The two basic Kato track kits I'll be starting with are the V11 dual-track kit, and the V13 dual-track, elevated-loop viaduct set. Although both kits have the same radius (15"/16-3/8"), each kit will be offset by a few inches, allowing me to incorporate a number of elevated crossings. At some point, I may add the Kato V1 mainline passing siding kit, and/or a small switching yard using the Kato V3 expansion kit. Regarding Kato's viaduct track, I found a very informative Kato-centric site located at sumidacrossing.org, which I found very helpful.
To aid in planning my modified V13 elevated-viaduct loop, I just downloaded RailModellerPro for OS X from the AppStore for $39.99 (a free, more limited Express Edition is also available). Thankfully, it follows common graphics-apps UI conventions which makes it intuitive and easy-to-use. The Pro Edition supports up to 99 layers, and an unlimited number of track elements (the Express edition supports just a single layer and tops-out at 50 elements). A full-resolution RailModellerPro image of my current track-plan can be seen here.