To start with model trains as a hobby is usually very expensive. Often space and many other reasons can also prevent you from tackling the model train hobby. The outright cost can also dampen your enthusiasm. If this is the case, don’t drool your life long! start out as a collector.
Watch out for special offerings or sales, and you will find it to be not so expensive at all. In the meantime you can enjoy your collection, till you are ready for landscaping or whatever it is you want to do!
In my (humble) experience lighting is very important on a railroad, about as important as it is in photography. I’m not talking about “sunlight” from a canopee, but about “in door” lighting, inside your structures / buildings as well as your streetlights. By adding cleverly placed lights you may get away with very much reduced overall detailing. “Force” the audience to look at the places you want then too look at and let the shadows fill in the “blanks”.
The greatest help I received was when asking for advice on derailments. By using the dearer Peco code55 track you will not have the problems regarding derailments. Other types of track you will come cross derailing mainly in the frogs of points. Because of the fine track of code 55 the loco and everything else will flow freely.
Gone are the days of having to stop a run and find where and why the derailment occurred. Now I only use the Peco code55, as it comes in all sorts of points and flexi track only. There are no straights just flexi track, a faster way of laying the track as well.