just gonna babble away a bit here... There a have been several discussions on layout design here recently. Several were merely asking about shelf track plan designs. I think many of us have been doodling track plans for many decades now, and the whole idea of the track plan seems like a very personal aesthetic choice. There is also the whole aspect of what the model train media and culture says about what one should do, and what you want to do. Part of why I quit reading model train magazines is because the editorial staff moved more and more toward a low imagination super high -supposed realism- format. I'm 55, and my initial exposure to model trains was via the more mixed variety of layouts and articles I saw in the 70's. Most of our books were still coming out of the 50's and 60's too. For me, my sort of formative stage was a combination of scale modeling AND toy trains. Thus all the super detailed giant layouts I see in most mags simply bore me. It's just all the same. As I keep repeating in many discussions on here, if you have nowhere to run trains, then maybe what you should build is a really simple and portable oval layout. And I am not just saying this for the OP, I am saying this for everyone. One should own a small tester track for those times that the master layout is undergoing maintenance or hasn't reached complete operation yet. Another thing I would advise doing is tacking some track down in either a Inglenook, or Time Saver, and trying that out. Reading about the different types of layouts has nothing to do with actually running one. While I am ok doing a little bit of switching action on a layout, I really just like to run my trains like toy trains. I can do the roundy roundy for hours and feel very content. Unless you try both having an small oval AND having some switching -- How Would You Know Your Own Preference? Years ago I built an HO switching layout on a shelf. It was about 12 feet long. It had tons of operational potential. I took advice from magazines and built it at chest height. DCC with a sound decoder. Blah Blah Blah... I ran it for about an hour and never got back to it. I learned something by doing that layout. This is all subject to one's own experience as a model railroader. Yet, not doing starter layouts can often lead to failure layouts. If you get stuck on any one stage of a layout build, you might never build a layout at all. Anyway, I thought I would post and we could all engage in a general discussion about layout design.