I was floored, to say the least, from the outpouring of great ideas for my new layout, but one thing that kept coming up was “racetrack layouts can get boring”. I agree with that. They really can get boring after a while. Of course, a part of the solution is to add more to do, but given where I had gotten to, that wasn’t really working.
That’s when I remembered how often I’d seen people do multi-level layouts. And so I sat down quickly now and set up the template to do just that. So I have a ways to go here, and I’m sure I’m not done, but I’ve put together templates for a two-level layout with helices to allow transition from one level to another. I still can do continuous running, but at the same time, I now have room for spurs, sidings AND a yard.
On the left is a rough-out for the lower deck, on the right is the upper deck level, where I will probably host a slightly smaller but hopefully equally effective yard, compared with the prior design.
Here is a map rough out (this has more track in it than my initial renders above). Again, not finalized, but this might be the new direction. I am also contemplating if that lower-left helix will end up being oval shaped instead of just a circular loop.