In your area, look for model train shows. You can get lots of ideas, see what is available, and usually pick up old stuff at low prices.
Look up your chapter of the NMRA. They will have meetings, contacts, and activities where you can 'talk tains'. And fine new buddies.
Find a local train club. They can help you get started or show you what not to do.
Model railroading has something for everyone, but one person has trouble doing it all well. From automated train control and Loco management with computers (JMRI) to painting buildings to show soot and grime, there is something you can enjoy.
On the finance side, clubs unfortunately have experiences handling estates of former members. My Club has 3 estates for sale at this time. (Lots of old farts like me!)
Good luck and have fun.
Thomas Stephens, Superintendent, Texas Northern Model Railroad Club.
BTW, the local NMRA group is having an Arduino Clinic next month, showing how Arduinos can automate things on a layout, like Signals, crossing gates, etc. THAT is very