The First Year
Well, we have been working on the project for about a year now. No, we don't get to work on it very often. Not as often as we would like to anyhow. We only get to work about two days a month or so.
At first, we had decided that we were going to paint the rafters and clean up the area and just leave it open. We figured that this would save time and money. Well, the longer we looked at it, the less we liked that idea. We decided to sheetrock the ceiling. The idea was to just hang rock, and paint the rock black...nope, we ended up spending most of the first year doing the rock work and finishing it off. Now it looks very professional.
At the same time, Gary did the basic wiring for the lights. He decided that we ought to have two separate systems. One system would be for the actual layout wiring, and the other one would be for walkway lighting that would be turned off during an operating session. Also, he decided that we should use fluorescent lights to keep the heat down. That was the original plan, but we have since decided to use regular incandescent light so that we would have more flexibility.
Then we began building walls to support the new backdrop. This was a slow process also. We decided to finish the seams on it as well, so they would be as invisible as possible when we began to do the scenery. Once it was up and the caulking was done, then we began to paint it.
Then the benchwork began. Now we were cooking! With James in the lead, and the rest of us helping to do the grunt work, the benchwork went pretty fast. Now we don't have all of it done yet, but we are very close, and should have the rest of it done before long.
Now it was time to get down to the business of track work. I never created a "plan" for this layout. I decided that it would be better to lay it out as we go. That would allow us to create a more flexible plan and layout. I began laying track as soon as James and the rest of the crew had enough benchwork done to make it worthwhile. Now the track is about halfway around the new benchwork and expanding all the time. I get some work done on it when I have spare time, too. It doesn't all have to be done during a "work session".