I agree with some of the others, I used the ladder system on mine, I used a rope to layout what I wanted. The rope is easy to move and change, look at, think about it, make changes.
Be sure to figure your grade in order to know how far you must go before you can cross over the track. Using 25 foot ropes will help you know the distance you are going before you cross. If you figure you need 35 ft, use one 25 foot rope and go with 10 of next .
I took a steel 5foot radius 3 inch wide pattern and a 4 ft straight 3 inch wide pattern and layed on the ground and used the flourecent spray and sprayed both sides. Took a rock bar puched holes ever 2ft , drove the treated risers in the ground, I used the plastic decking system for my raised road bed, I fastened the system to the risers got everything fastened to the risers, took a recepricating saw and cut off everything above the roadbed. It took about 15 hours to layout and build 170 feet of roadbed, I did no turnouts at first, I laid my track and ran some trains, the beauty of this system is you can run trains while you build up your ground work.
Then I started building my mountains, my railroad is built on a hillside, I have about a 5 foot drop in elevation, my one mountain is 5 ft wide and 14 ft long and 5ft tall with two tunnels that cross in the mountain. That mountain is made out of concrete, GREAT effects.
My second big mountain is 4ft wide 16 long and over 8ft tall, has 5 ft water fall with a 9 foot river. This mountain is made out of large polystrene blocks, carved with a hot knife and sprayed with vinyl patch cement. This technique has outstanding results,
The tall spire peaks in the west are one of the many outstanding effects you can get with this technique, using a 20.00 dollar sheetrock sprayer from habor freight, spraying the polystrene with vinyl patch cement then spray painted, I used a gravity feed sprayer, just a cheap one from HARbor freight, I love the effects you can get with a gun sprayer, lots of experience helps too.
The only disadvantage of the polystyrene technique is you can't crawl around on it. But again you can get effects you can't get with concrete.
The only catch with having mountains is you must have lots of bridges and trestles, oh darn, /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif I love bridges
When I built the Foam mountain I took out that section of track. To relay when done I find out as you add a section here, ideas for expansion starts to flow, I know if you have a large amount of room with lots of track it is easier to run track after most of the dirt is in. when I get done I will have about 500 ft of track, that will be 2-3 years from now, but you know what , I sure am having fun, and that is what I want you to have, good luck Dennis