What scale are you interested in modeling, something set or mix & match? Are you putting a layout up indoors or outdoors?
Lots of info already here from the past decade or so, so feel free to use the search function to sleuth through to find answers to your questions or start a new thread. We have tons of people here willing to help out.
Working on an outdoor G-scale layout. I have about 160 feet of track down so far with aspirations for a lot more - don't have a very level yard so learning to deal with slopes has been challenging. Looking at this as a long-term hobby. I've found the Forums here to be quite helpful for a newbie like me!
I live in an area that was mined for gold in the 1830's - so going with a Mining theme for the layout.
try to stay under 2% grades. (one in fifty).
although there are some crazies like me, that go till 6%, the more you go over the 2% mark the less modells of locos will be able to manage your grades.
(best mountaingoats are the LGB Stainz, specially the older ones - with a little help of additional weight)
Thanks for the heads-up on the Stainz. Due to the terrain in my yard I have a couple of areas where I have to get to 2% and one area at 4%. My little LGB starter Loco handles them fine - added a motorized tender w/sound and I have a rig that will pull up to 10 cars around the track. Added a PIKO 2-6-0 thinking I would get more power but it pulls no where near my little LGB rig. Also just added an LGB 2019S but based on another post it sounds like I need to replace the motor.
I can get analysis/paralysis at times so jumped into the hobby feet-first - otherwise I would still be reading up on it. Started with a small loop to get something going and took all summer to get to the state I am in now. Have made some mistakes but don't mind re-doing things. My first phase was more custom but think with some better site-work planning my Phase 2 addition will go more smoothly. I'm only a couple of years from retirement - so not long before I can invest a stupid amount of time in the hobby