You’ve only got a small space for a layout and working out a design has you frustrated. The real question is one we all struggle to answer: Will this layout be satisfying?

We look at less than ideal spaces and only see the shortcomings. We’re afraid of missing out and focused on what we can’t have we turn to tactical solutions like short turnouts, tight curves and other compression tricks to fit more in. The results are often disappointing at best, so we conclude that more space is the answer. But is it?

Will this layout satisfy is an internal question, one that forces us to look within for an answer. Yet we’re stuck on the external circumstances of room size or curve radius in the belief that’s where the answer is hiding. We seldom question our most basic assumptions about the craft, or the tricks and tools we use. Instead we just double down on the usual tactics and wonder why we’re stuck.

My Mill Road cameo is ridiculously simple, yet it’s one of the most satisfying I’ve built because it’s a meaningful expression of what I truly enjoy about trains, model making and craft. It’s the layout that I want instead of what the hobby says I should build. It isn’t meant to entertain twenty people for six hours at a stretch or to impress the hobby intelligentsia. Its sole purpose is to bring me joy.

Will this layout be satisfying is a question only you can answer and you do that by asking and answering other questions like:

what do I want from the craft,

do I really need this feature,

how much is enough?

The question of enough is maybe the most important of them all and one that all of the track planning tricks in the world will never provide an answer to.

Mike