I enlisted the help of Byron Henderson of Layout Vision to critique my track plan before I begin building. Having no former experience building a model railroad I wanted a well trained eye to look over what I had designed in hopes that serious design blunders would be found before saw blade hits lumber or track hits roadbed.
Layout Vision began the review yesterday. Byron and I exchanged several lengthy e-mails throughout the day with him asking questions and I answering them as best I could. I must say he asked some questions that I had never considered causing me to think about the plan in a different way and with a new perspective. Today, after a few more emails we spoke on the phone for about an hour and a half. The phone discussion really solidified for me the details of the subjects we covered in the emails.
Byron’s suggestions added a lot of operational enhancements as well as prototype fidelity. The man clearly knows like a million times more about railroading than I ever will. All of his suggestions stayed true to the personal purpose of my railroad which was a relief for me. There is no reason why all of the suggestions cannot be implemented with good success. I was happy to find out my track plan wasn’t a total disaster. I credit this to many months of working on it and the abundance of help received on the MRH forum. Thank you very much to all my virtual consultants that contributed.
BTW I labeled my major revisions of the plan with letters of the alphabet. First attempt was “A”, second “B” and so on. The plan I sent to Byron was “Q”. Suffice it to say the plan saw many revisions before I was satisfied.
When I first heard of layout design services I imagined… well let’s just say a less than professional business. Boy was I surprised. Byron has been a first class professional to deal with. All businesses should treat their customers with the service, attentiveness, and professionalism Byron has exhibited. It has been a joy.
The documented critique is due in a few days. After one final XTrack file containing the revisions is completed it will be sent back to Byron as a double check that I implemented his suggestions correctly. And then construction officially begins. I feel like I need the Governor here to dig the first shovel of dirt!
For any newcomers to the hobby trying to design their first track plan I seriously recommend you utilize Layout Vision or another similar skilled track planning service instead of going it alone. I hope you will find, as I did, it is money very well spent.
I will update the track plan page with the final final plan once my engagement with Layout Vision is complete. Just for history’s sake I’ll also make a post of the complete list of suggestions and corrections made by Byron.