Continous Layout, Dogbone loop, 1 or 2 miainlines


I've gotten the "wife approval" to take over half my basement !
I'm looking at a long-term project (years) but would like something basic up and running in shorter time so I can have a continous run while I work on the rest.
I've got about 18 feet x 10 feet (HO scale) to work with, but I want to go with more of a shelf style layout around the edges atleast at first. So I'm looking at an "L" style layout with a loop at each end so I can run continuous. I'm sure there's no "right answer" but I'd love opinions on the pros/cons of running a single mainline with a reverse loop on each end, vs running 2 mainlines with a dog-bone loop. I dont mind the wiring or switching issues, I've researched them and think I can handle a reversing loop. But from an operations perspective I'm leaning towards more of a 2-mainline loop concept. It doesnt seem like it would take up much more space either way. Thinking of building the end loops first and then 'moving them out' as I expand the layout so I can have a continuous running layout at any point during the expected long build process.

Suggestions ? Comments ?
Congrats on the spousal okee dokee!
I'm a huge fan of single track mains, not just for op's but just the look of one track running thru a scene. My layout is mostly double track including staging but has a bottle neck single track that makes things interesting.
If you're not afraid of wiring, and the new stuff takes very little, then a single track main with automated loops on the end will provide you with a continuous run while you work as you said.
When it comes time to run you can have a train going on its own while you traverse the line with another from siding to siding. Now that's railroading!
Dunno, seems like more a personal preference if you don't mind the wiring issues. Some ppl like a single track main with passing sidings which they can run with "train orders" and some prefer a "CTC" or directional dbl track main so they can run one continuously while they run a local switcher. A bone would give you a pseudo-two track main while trains presumably chase each other.

I am told, but I'm not 100% convinced, that a single track main looks longer.

If you're going to go shelf, you might consider going modular so you can change bits and pieces without having to tear up huge sections if you change your trackplan.
Thanks for the comments. Definately planning on going modular. A goal is that not only can I re-arange things in the future but that I be able to move the whole thing if I move to a new house ... (yea good luck, but its a "goal").

A problem I havent solved with this concept yet is 'breaking' into the loops.
I would like to start with a simple loop (either dogbone or reversing) but I know I'll want to later tap into those loops and add switches to either go inside or come out at different points.

I'm hand-laying on wood ties, on cork, on either plywood, foam or splines (not sure yet).
My first experiment was ties on cork on plywood, glued with carpenters wood glue (the yellow kind).
Works *great* ... but *too good* ... Trying to rip-out even a small section was very destructive. I basically had to chisle down to the sub-roadbed (plywood) and sand it down because the glue was so strong it ripped apart the cork and ties. So I'm thinking for sections, like the loops, where I suspect I may want to splice into them in the future I should use some other kind of glue that is easier to pull up.

Any suggestions ?
(OK I know I started a new thread ... bad me :)
I think I'd go with the dogbone. If you plan on moving the 2 loops farther and farther apart as you expand that gives you 2 tracks coming off the loop to continue your single track mainline. By putting a couple of crossovers in you would gain a passing siding (and also still have the reverse loops). You didn't mention if you were going DC or DCC, but the dogbone would also allow you to place a train on the track and let it go while you work on other things a lot easier (and cheaper), especially in DC
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going 100% DCC. I could always add a crossover like you suggest even combine the 2 legs into 1 mainline for a short bit if needed. Although I need to think how to wire that, off-the-cuff it would seem connecting the 2 mainlines of a dogboone to 1 mainline is electrically equivilent to a reversable loop. But I'm sure I can figure that out, lots of good stuff on the net on how to wire things (and its something I enjoy messing with)
i suggest liquid nails for keeping the track and roadbed ect... down its fairly easy to remove if you screw up
Does Liquid Nails (which variant?) dry clear ? I guess it doesnt matter much because I'll add ballast but ideally I dont like to see the glue through the gaps in the ties.
exactly , it doesn't matter as you will be idealy painting the roadbed to your ballast color. not mandatory but will help conceal any bare spots you might have.
what matters however is that liquid nails dries into solid, hardish matter. adhesive caulk that stays elastic will be much better addition to sound isolation effort.
I built this dogbone layout, but expanded it (and I like to think) improved on it by adding an addtional mainline around the outside. I also added two crossovers to the mainlines, a yard in the large open area in the middle, an an additional industrial siding, and added a 8 ft passing siding to the new outer main. I also replaced the junky snap switches with 4s,6s,and 8s. I put in 2% grades to add some vertical interest and added a bridge for the new outer mainline to cross a bumpout in my layout where it goes from 5ft wide to 7ft wide. I plan on adding a small town around the loop area.

Im not meaning to blow my own horn about this layout, although I like it. My point is, you can have both. My favorite part of layout is now in that south central area where there are two lines (double main) and suddenly both diverge to single mains and then reconverge again to double mains on the other side of the layout. No doubt, I have sacrificed some scenery options for more track.

I originally wired this for DC but quickly switched to DCC with help from some of the great talents on this forum. Biggest lesson I learned as a relative new comer to this hobby is dont go with a stock layout. Find a layout plan you like, feel free to modify it, and have fun.

Drop me a line if you have any questions.
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I have a folded dogbone that runs on a shelf with two 4x4 "blobs" on each end. It's one mainline with a passing siding (should have planned for two) with enough scenery on the shelf portion to hide the back part of the mainline loop. I'm a fan of this type of layout, since it's relatively fast to build, can be moved easily, and lends itself to a lot of scenic possibilities. I'm a scenery guy, so I dislike layouts with track jammed into every available space.

For your track laying dilemma, try some cheap adhesive latex caulk. It will hold the ties fine, but a section can easily be removed by soaking it in water a for about 10 minutes and then prying up the ties with a wide putty knife. Ballast added with a water/glue mixture will actually do more to hold the track in place than any adhesive.
Here is a few pics of my dogbone layout. I added an additional outer mainline and some crossovers, spur, passing siding, and a yard. Its alot of track, but there's never a dull moment.:)