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An 'On30' Waterside Layout

It's always exciting to start a new project - especially a new layout. And it's especially exciting this time as I'm going to have full DCC (Digital Command Control) system fitted to all the locomotives, which has an excellent onboard "SOUND". 

This layout is again going to be displayed at model railway exhibitions, so it will have many additional requirements over a normal home layout. These will really test my concept, design and problem solving skills. First thing to do is to set down on paper the concept and the major and minor criteria for the layout. That is, the things I must have in the layout and the things that I would really like to have, but could omit if I have to.

Also. this time I would like to not make the mistakes I have made with previous layouts. To achieve this, plus my other objects and requirements and my overall concept, I started by making a list of the major and minor requirements. The list follows:

Scale: 'O' scale 1/4" to the foot (1:48)

Track gauge: scale 2'6" - actual 16.5 mm

Turnout Size: Medium PECO™ left, right and wye turnouts

Track type: PECO™ On30 code 100 commercial track

Turnout Control: TORTOISE™ slow motion motors

Train Control: Digital Command Control (DDC) with full onboard sound

Layout Concept:

The layout is to show the interaction between a small narrow gauge railroad and small coastal shipping, located at a small port.

Prime Requirements:

The track plan must have an oval incorporated to allow for test running of locomotives and rolling stock, plus for continuous train running during quiet times at model railroad exhibitions.

Must have an interesting and challenging switching station area and a simple switching card system with minimal set up.

Exhibition Requirements:

Being a portable layout that will be transported to and from model railroad exhibitions, it has to be light, sturdy and fit snuggly into my layout carrying trailer.

A set up and pull down time of under 30 minutes at home and at exhibitions is mandatory.

It is to be a one baseboard layout, which would eliminate the hassle of baseboard joins, electrical plugs and joins in the scenery, which are always hard to cover and take time in set up.

As many of the extras required for an exhibition layout should be attached to the layout, such as lighting, back scene, information board and turnout control panel, or combined into as few carrying pieces as possible.

Home Requirements:

The track design must be able to be modified easily so it can be incorporated into a larger layout.

Physical Constraints:

Maximum transporting size:  1120 mm wide by 2080 mm long by 760 mm high

Minimum curve of track:  450 mm radius

Height of track from floor:  between 1000mm and 1100 mm

Layout lighting:  12 volt 20 watt down lights spaced 450 mm apart

Grade of track: nil 

Layout Finish:

Dark green baseboard edge and lighting facia, with dark green curtain to match.