I’m making slow and steady progress on the layout. I want to get the basic terrain, track, and ballast down so I can start operating the layout as quickly as possible. After that I can worry about landscaping, buildings, and other details. This will help me stay motivated to completion, because what’s the point of having the trains if we can’t play with them?
I participate in a club that uses the Modular Integrated Landscaping System (MILS) for rapidly assembling layouts at shows. In addition to making layouts a snap , the modules also provide some depth to the terrain and provide ways to hide wiring. We have some general guidelines for incorporating rails into the modules, similar to the PennLUG baseplate standard, though differing in that we always want half a baseplate between the viewing edge and mainline.
I’m diverging slightly from the standard ballast profile of the club guidelines because looking at historical photos of the yard, the tracks ran at ground level. Yet, I need to maintain the same rail height for club layout compatibility. That means the ground level ends up being twice as high as the MILS standard and each of these modules ends up consuming twice as many bricks. I can already see the payoff with the canal that runs through the yard and the extra brick of height gives the right feeling of depth.
 see what I did there?