So, Model Railroad Hobbyist E-Zine had a track planning contest to design and build a layout for $500. The $500 includes track, a power pack, motive power, cars, buildings and scenery.
I went to Lowes and I bought three 1×4 furring strips, trimmed them down to size, used a pair of sides from a broken Ikea dresser for a surface. The benchwork is a pair of 14″x37″ boxes, the layout is now about 14x 86, the benchwork cost me a whopping $13.00 including the hardware. With my GP35R that was purchased used for $55.00, and has $14.00 worth of detail parts and a $35.00 power pack, I have already blown through $117.00 of the budget.
Five #6 Atlas code 80 switches and Caboose Hobby ground throws brings the total up an additional $77.00, add in another $22.00 in flex track, and $11.00 in 18 gauge wire (Wal-Mart sells 40 ft of 18ga wire in the auto section, only in red and black, for about $5.50) brings me up to $227.00, add in my bay window caboose, and I am up to $257.00. I have now used 51.4% of my total budget.
Now, if we look at the rolling stock that I have picked up, we are adding in an additional $169.00, meaning that I have $74.00 to add structures, paint, scenery and ballast my track. My house walls are already a tan, and must of the layout is going to be dirt (free and free). While I have ballast and ground foam, I have not removed them from my budget YET. I also bought a Walthers ADM grain elevator for $30.00 on a Walthers special will bring me down to $37.00……will I be able to build a warehouse and a liquid feeds plant, convert a pair of OLD Atlas tank cars to Micro Trains couplers for under $37.00?
Time will tell, and I still need to buy a little more paint for the fascia, I plan to paint that Southern Pacific Lark Gray. Hopefully, someone out there would send me an O Scale Southern Pacific loco decal.