Given and Druthers, a phrase used often first by John Armstrong, and ever since but just about anyone designing a layout. What does it mean? It is a planning process that Mr Armstrong developed. Given, your room size, prototype, or freelance, time period to model, scale, gauge, etc. Those things one would say are immutable. The druthers are your desires. The final plan comes down to fitting those druthers into the givens.
I sat down to make a list of Givens:
Time: The most important one that everyone overlooks. I have maybe 4 hours per week on average to spend on model railroading.
Time period: 1914-1950s. I like steam engines and in standard gauge I like the transition era. Have lots of favorite locomotives, especially the narrow gauge Mikados from the EBT to the WP&Y 70 series. My favorite k-27, #455 after the wreck. The post WWII years until its unfortunate scrapping. My all time favorite class of engines in narrow gauge is D&RGW’s K-28/ Oahu Rail and Land #’s 60, 70, 80, 90 (minus the air pumps on the smokebox front). I have always liked the ET&WNC’s ten wheelers, the big Maine 2 foot forneys, especially B&SR #7 and 8. The chunky Eustis forneys, and of course SR&RL #23
Space: Currently working on my space. in the end a 12 by 19 room with a further 21 feet down one wall to give a 40 foot run, 1920 scale feet in O scale or 2560 scale feet in S scale or a lengthy 6400 scale feet in N scale.
Scale: Well, S scale and O scale. However, Graham’s N scale has been an interesting side venture that I must admit I like as well.
Gauge: 24 inch, 30 inch, 36 inch. I like them all
Prototype: Way too many to list
Region: Hmmm, see above answer.
Operations: Several times a week. Switching, making up a train, servicing a locomotive. Would just be me, sometime Maggie and/ or Graham. I admire the folks who like to simulate the hectic pace of TT&TO operations. Not for me. My preference is actually a Farmer’s railroad, similar to my several favorite local railroads, Stewartstown RR in standard gauge and the Lancaster, Oxford, and Southern in 36 inch gauge. I like mining, both coal and hard rock.
Trackwork: preferably handlaid, minimal switch is a #7, minimal radius is very large. I hate tight curves. Thirty inch looks good in N scale to me, 60 inches in On2 is good. Rail, what is prototypical and correct, code 55, 70, 83 maybe in On3. Track to be fully detailed.
Benchwork: Lightweight module that can be built at my desk. Preferably in four foot lengths.
Next time, druthers.