I usually recommend against
building benchwork first and then beginning layout planning. All too often, this process constrains the eventual design in
ways that inhibit creativity and lead to a less-satisfying layout.
There are rare exceptions to this general rule, however. For
this large N scale layout, the client had already laid out and built extensive benchwork in his generous (550 square foot
But fortunately he had chosen a benchwork footprint consisting of an around-the-room shelf with a spiral peninsula
into the center of the room. As John Armstrong noted, this is often an excellent way to optimize efficiency in a larger space.
for the layout design is a freelanced Pacific Northwest US locale that could plausibly support the Burlington Northern (and
predecessors such as the Great Northern and Northern Pacific), the Southern Pacific and Rio Grande. Drawing from Mark Lestico's spectacular N scale Cascade Subdivison, a long mainline was desired, with elevation changes suggested by scenery rather than actual track grades.