Sorry Tuscan Jim, can't help you there, I have no layout and the one I'll be running on in the future is already completed, it sits within the confines of an old heavy weight baggage car. it's a really nice layout and offers a lot of value for what it cost's me each month to be a member. I believe some of the members belong to this forum, maybe some of them will come forward and maybe they will be able to help you.
As to your questions, I can't think of anything that would be a short cut to building a layout in a jiffy unless your building for a client then they would try and keep it on schedule, personally, I don't believe that there are any "macro's" that serve to move a layout from beginning stages to almost completed in a hurry. If you have more time than you know what to do with (I wish I did) maybe that would be a way for you to build all day long each and every day. There are a couple guys on the list, can't recall who they are right now but one of them has moved along on his layout in "warp speed" fashion, maybe he will come forward and give you some pointers.
Best of luck, hope you can get the answers you are looking for.