Sad to say, but I lost my way when I elected to add a second deck, focusing only on operations and allowing too many opinions to cloud what had originally been a very distinct view of what I wanted to achieve in my first-ever layout. I sought to build a detailed, high quality, mid-size layout in a reasonable amount of time. It would closely depict a modest portion of a prototype that had personal meaning to me and ultimately provide a couple of hours of relaxed, trouble-free enjoyment for 3-5 operators, or myself alone when the urge struck.
Although I've known for quite some time that the multi-deck just didn't feel right, I delayed the inevitable. Well, Labor Day weekend came and the upper deck went. My wife summed it up succinctly. "Wow, the helix is no more!"
This is not an old photo of the upper deck being built! It shows part of the dismantling process of that deck to return to a single deck with greater depth and an optimal height for constructing, scenicing and operating.
The original benchwork will hold the staging level at 40" and the pictured 19" risers, upon removal, will be cut in half and reused. Those 9-1/2" risers will then hold the layout at 48".
Trevor Marshall has rightfully sung the praises of author Mike Cougill and his OST Blog. Ironically, Mike's post last week, "Cutting Through the Noise," confirmed my decision and summarized my position far better than I could. The blog's link is really worth checking out. Here's an excerpt:
"There are a lot of strong opinions and conflicting voices about the best way... Trying to listen to all of them will only leave you confused, maybe even frustrated and with all of the noise, it's hard to listen to your own voice."
I'll follow up in a few days with much more on this and allude to another timely post in another favored blog. For now, please allow me to sheepishly sign off.
BONUS: RHETORICAL QUESTION OF THE DAY...
Why didn't I listen to this guy's advice right from the start?
"Just listen to your heart. That's what I always do." - Napoleon Dynamite