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You could model the edge of a edge of a pine forest , with scale size trees 10 to 20"s ( rarely done on O gauge layouts)

Great idea, thanks.  My current thinking is I have to be careful with the few spots big enough to have urban development with traffic, etc.  There are quite a few places around the perimeter that aren't deep enough for structures, but would lend themselves nicely to woods.  

My good friend and mentor George stopped by the other day to check on my progress.  In the conversation, storage came up.  My excess cars, the ones that don't fit on the hall shelving or the layout, are just in Rubbermaid tubs under the benchwork.  Not readily available.  He has his in drawers.  Never too proud to steal a good idea, and having some drawers in the same hall cabinet as the shelves, I thought I would give that a try.  I cut some 1/2" XPS to fit inside the drawers (42.5" x 15.5"), then cut kerfs into them to function as track (keeping the trucks aligned and the cars from hitting each other).  First few cuts were on a scrap piece to get the right spacing, then ran a spreadsheet to plan all the final cuts.  Part way thru cutting, I realized I could just flip the board around and make 2 cuts instead of just 1 each time I had to stop and adjust the fence.  Finished drawer inserts in place, and then loaded with rolling stock.  In the 4 top drawers, 48 cars put away yet readily available.  Thank you, George!

Disclaimer, this is just an experiment.  If I really like this (and currently pretty sure I do), I will at some point remake them with wood bases.

P.S. Easter egg in the earlier photos of the hall cabinet during construction.  How many noticed it originally only had 6 drawers?  Somewhere during that time period I changed the design and ended up with 8.  

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Working on the layout always reminds me of my favorite "For Better or For Worse" strip, where he works a whole day on his, with almost nothing to show for it.  And Happy Syttende Mai.  I spent the entire day trying to make a single bridge abutment look a little less like a piece of plywood.   Using sixty six coffee stir sticks, hand-picked from a few hundred kindly donated by my local Starbucks.  After the barista dropped them on the floor, in front of thirty or so customers, which prevented them from being put back in the serving cubby.  And with my promising to have a Starbucks on my layout.  Stain color to be determined, trying for an old weathered creosote look.  

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Continued slow progress.  Added a board in the middle of the long transformer shelf, which gives a place to mount the TIU vertically as well as keep the shelf itself from sagging in the middle from the weight of two Z-4000s.  Kreg pocket screws secure it to the bottom of the table on the backside, with 4 terminal blocks to connect the track and accessory wiring.  Looks cramped in the picture, but actually is a good height... I can sit comfortably on the carpeted floor with my back to the wall, working with the terminals at eye level.

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Using the same technique, finished the second abutment for the Atlas O bridge.  This one has a tunnel portal thru it, an unfortunate but necessary compromise required by the small layout.  The track on both levels needed to be close to that wall... the lower to make a full U-turn in O-54, and the double-track upper to make a sweeping "S" turn in O-72 / O-81.  But, on the spectrum of suspending disbelief, it still ranks lower than a tunnel with both ends on the same side of the mountain.  And it will be mostly not visible anyway - in the shadow of the bridge and screened by foreground structures.

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