I'm starting a new switching layout, using the Inglenook concept. My prototype inspiration is the truck/train transfer crane at Buick, MO on the Lead Line branch. Why the Lead Line? For one thing, it's what I know. I did some train watching there back in the '90s and more recently made several expeditions to photograph it after it was closed down. I also happen to have all the necessary rolling stock on hand. Six or seven years ago there were Frisco gondolas available from a number of N scale manufacturers. I picked up about ten, all with different road numbers. This will let me put them to work and keeps the budget for this layout small. That's good as a young family doesn't leave a lot of extra cash for modeling. Finally, I think the transfer crane is a visually interesting prototype that I should be able to model by kitbashing a couple of readily available cranes. My track plan differs from a classic Inglenook in several respects. While it holds to a 5 car, 3 car, 3 car set of sidings, the sidings are not tightly bunched together. This was necessary to provide scenic space for the transfer crane and associated facilities. I also designated the "siding" closest to the front as the mainline and extended it beyond 3 car lengths so that it can accommodate a caboose and 3 cars. Additionally I extended the headshunt (the long track on the left side used to switch the other tracks) so that it can hold two Geeps and 3 cars. Now an "arriving" train can consist of two locomotives, three cars, and a caboose. That's not exactly the four locomotives and thirty cars of the prototype, but it will look much better than a single locomotive and no caboose! All of that means it will be possible to "cheat" the switching puzzle to a certain extent, but I'm willing to live with that for the sake of a better appearance. My benchwork consists of a bookcase along one wall in the guest bedroom. On top of that I laid two lengths of thin pink foam glued together (I can't find thick foam board where I live, it just doesn't get cold enough). That's it so far. I'll probably add more "benchwork" after I finish the wiring. Certainly adding some fascia and a backdrop will be necessary as well. I may make those out of foam core board. I'm trying to keep this layout nice and light! After several months of fiddling with track arrangements and doing a little test operating, I've finalized the track plan. Last night the roadbed went down. Now I can start laying track!