A different approach to planning

My friend Chris Mears writes a great blog about the hobby called Prince Street Terminal – and to kick off 2015 he’s started a thought-provoking new series on planning a small layout to fit in a corner of his living room.

 photo Mears-Planning-2015-01_zpscb9a9980.jpg

If you’ve missed this series, here are the links to date, in order…

New year, new layout, in which he presents the space and some general thoughts about presentation.

The days between, in which he presents a few of the “givens” for his new layout.

Coffee, cardboard and YouTube, in which he presents some of his preferences – his design objectives – for his new layout.

Something like this, in which he mocks up a potential operating session on one possible plan, rendered full-size with cardboard, sections of flex, and turnout templates.

New Hampshire and Vermont #405 in 1993, in which he shares a video found on YouTube, because it represents the style of railroading he wants to replicate on his new layout.

What I find interesting about this series is that Chris has not started with a list of standards (e.g.: HO scale, 30″ radius, #6 turnouts), or a list of equipment he owns, or a set of possible layout plans for the space, or even a particular prototype he’s going to model – either faithfully, or in freelanced form.

Rather, Chris started by exploring the things about railroading that he enjoys – in both real and model form. I’m confident he has spent a lot of time reflecting on operating sessions on other layouts, and on rail fanning, and has gone beyond the statement “I like this” to ask the question, “Why do I like this?” That’s a great approach, and sure to result in an engaging, personally satisfying layout.

I know there will be more posts from Chris on this, and I know I’ll be following along.

1 thought on “A different approach to planning

  1. Good afternoon Trevor. Thank you so very much for the compliments.

    I’m really enjoying this time invested in the exploration of the space and opportunities it could provide something satisfying for me and, in this very public location, something that communicates what a model railway could be and why we do it. I find that I’m attracted to the story of why we chose to do what we do in the hobby and less about how. With that spirit in mind I thought it might be helpful to share more of that perspective on my own work and how I’m finding my way through it. For me, reading my own words and listening to myself describe an idea can be the most helpful way of proving the idea itself.

    I’m ever so grateful that others are taking the time to chime in on the conversation. With every conversation I’m learning a lot about why I think the way I do about the layout and the hobby as a whole.



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