One of the most enjoyable aspects of railroad modeling is that modelers have the ability to create their own little worlds. You pick the scenery, trains, tracks, time period, routes, and every other aspect of the layout. Modelers can include inspiration found from real life railroads, other models that influenced them, and photographs from magazines or books. It is important to collect all these inspirations that you want to include in your layout for later concept track planning.
In this video, Doug Geiger shows Allen Keller his notebook of collected ideas for concept tracking planning. His concept drawings include notes on what features from his observations and research of railroads he wanted to emulate in his model. This is a great way for yourself and others to visualize what you want to achieve with your layout.
Another choice modelers can make on their layout is the time period. This is a regret that Geiser has found in his Granite Mountain Railway. The railroad is not modeled after a specific time period. With such a large layout requiring around 400 cars to run it, picking, researching, and executing a specific time period was not a priority.
In his layout, Geiger’s priority was smooth operation. Although some of the trains are out of place together, such as running both diesel and steam, Geiger has found that while operating his large railroad, the congruity in the trains is not what’s important. Where the focus lies instead, is on meeting the schedules and getting his trains to the right stations at the right time.