I've built four relatively large model railroads (more accurately, I've started construction, only two have ever reached operational status) in the last two decades. Here's what I've learned from the process of building them:
- Large home layouts are not for everyone.
- Just because you have the space, filling it is not always wise.
- Plan your resources (time, space, and money). Make sure you have all three in sufficient quantity to ensure success before starting the project.
- Too many "shortcuts" can produce a ‘Catalog’ layout - give your layout a personal stamp, even if it means making it smaller.
- There’s nothing worth watching on television (except the New England Patriots, of course . . .). So commit to doing something on a regular schedule (Even 15 minutes a night can result in real progress!)
- Consider trading money for time for certain tasks (decoder installation).
- Fewer, less intense scenes can look more realistic AND often require less time per square foot.
- If you have a “work crew” the ideal is have each member specialize.
- Minimize the mess