Over many year's I have helped construct and viewed many layouts which all have have a gem of a idea that I carefully stored away for later use.
The layout that had the greatest effect on my own thinking was a presentation created by Keith McCarron with modeling by Geoff Knott. What set this layout aside was there was not a single train or piece of rolling stock - just scenery, structures and a strip of track. What that demonstration gave to the audience was a dawn to dusk light show with coordinated sounds and a afternoon thunder storm complete with lightening, thunder and rain courtesy of a dry ice rain shower.
The demonstration altered my thinking about the hobby and more importantly how I wanted to presented the hobby to the viewer. Frank Ellision's philosophy became mine and it is summed up in "Trains are the actors and the layout is the stage on which they preform"
By the way I did ask Keith how much this would cost to do; 18 outputs cost $3000 per set of 3 [three] plus software and well it was the 80's.
This of course lead me to experiment with installing sound in locomotives and after many false starts lead to command control with sound offered by Keller Onboard Command Control from the USA. The results in the end proved to be part of a learning curve that lead to DCC, layout sound, PC JMRI control and O scale.
To day it is much more practical to undertake such a concept. The current NMRA DCC system allows 2044 address and it comes free with your system and I believe is one of the most underrated component of the NMRA DCC system. The existence of this and JMRI Panels software has allowed me to explore Keith's concept along with other's I have developed. I will discuss the philosophy that this created in my next blog and begin to expand in practical detail in my future blogs.