John Gray approached the building of the Union Pacific Cheyenne Division layout a little bit differently than other people. In this video he shares his tips for planning your model layout. He hired people to do some work, like Phil Gazzano. Besides the money and the space, John contributes the information needed to know what the layout would have and should look like. He still spends a lot of time in Cheyenne, going through information to remind himself of certain features. Phil has the technical ability to create what John is looking for. This system works as long as both parties are always open to giving input and feedback. John has a vision in his head of what he wants, and this is given to Phil for him to execute. The information he provides helps get this vision across.
An example of this is the color of the rock in Cheyenne. John took tons of photographs, but the decomposed granite on Sherman Hill would have been hard to describe without also bringing the actual rock to the layout. This means that the actual ground cover is the real rock found in the area. The advantage of having someone to work on your layout, a luxury not many modelers have, is that John has less and less time to work on his layout, but he does have a little more money. Instead of feeling sad that no work is done while he is otherwise engaged, it is like a gift to come home and see progress on the railroad. This way he is able to enjoy his trips and be a true railfanner. For more videos on layout planning visit the Model Railroad Academy video archives.