I built the first BAE when I lived a small appartment which happened to own a small room in the basement, about 8'10" by 14'5". Not really much for 0 scale, isn't it? But I wanted to built a layout and I did it. By building a spiral along the walls I achieved a mainline of about 45'. And I was happy with it.
A couple years later I was happy to aquire a house with enough room for a bigger layout, the BAE II, which allowed me to carry out a lot of my design ideas. This layout reached nearly completion and about two dozen very satisfying operating sessions were held.
Then I had to move because of personal matters (very personal matters indeed: a new marriage). After ten years the layout had to be dismantled. The new house some
150 miles away offered me a real big basement as a compensation for having to cut the old layout into pieces.
The main (upper) level of the BAE III. Squares are 2'x2'. The "original" terminal St. Andreasberg (see chapter prototype and concept) is on the lower level which is still under construction.
Designing the BAE III
790 square feet is some room even for an 0 scale layout. My list of givens and druthers was ready when I moved in:
• single track with passing tracks able to hold trains 6’ long;
• minimum radius: main 1 meter (approx. 39.5”), branch lines 0.8 meters (32”);
• max. grade: main 3.3%, branch lines 5%;
• “superlong” peninsula;
• linear design with walk around operation;
• geographic correctness: looking against the layout anywhere is looking north, to the right is east and so on;
• passing a scene just once;
• min. aisle width 2', 3' at points with stations on both sides of the aisle.
• And: no multi-deck design
There were other points on my checklist:
As I wanted to fill the whole space available with layout I needed room for the workshop area beneath the layout, and not only for me but for a bunch of friends with whom I wanted to build (and later operate) the layout. That’s why the mushroom design could be put aside just at the beginning. While giving a lot more railroad there are no spaces under the layout where to install a workshop.
As the basement had a clearence of 8' my idea was to build the layout as high as possible and to make it accessible by sections of raised floor. Rather steep mountains, hollow of course, would allow to get head clearance at most parts of the space under the layout. At the same time this underground terrain could be used to install the branch line along its outer walls.