My latest second hand book purchase is this super book on layout design by Iain Rice. Iain is a well known railway modeller and author. The book presents his thoughts on designing and building model railways based on his 40 plus years of experience.
You can ‘dip into’ some books, reading only the sections that interest you. However, this book merits careful reading all the way through. It’s packed with useful information and insights. Iain can turn any topic into an interesting read. I had never thought that I would be so interested by discussions of prototypical track curves vs those that look realistic on a model !
Iain takes a very systematic approach to designing layouts. He considers the prototype and develops a believable rationale. Then evaluates the topography, engineering, train service and traffic demands of the line. Finally, he plans the track layout, train working, signalling and the layout presentation. Taking all this together generates a highly detailed, plausible and workable design. I’ve never considered taking such a systematic approach and this book contains lots of useful suggestions I could adopt.
It may be out of print now, but if you can find a second hand copy, snap it up!