Lesson learned.. plan the track, then build the benchwork! I'm well past correcting that particular mistake, so here I am trying to forge onward... only I seem to be a bit lost at the moment. It started innocently enough. Back in the last week of February, a gift of a little n-scale train set. I knew next to nothing of trains, but I enjoy reading. I started with google and soon went through some books from the local library and even bought one, Track Planning for Realistic Operations. Now I have two locomotives and two additional Unitrack variation sets to play with. I'm really enjoying learning about railways and such! I have a decent area in the basement I can build in, and so I downloaded XTrackCad and simply started playing around with the software. I had an idea of how to fill the space and a rough idea of what I wanted, but doing any heavy lifting will be impossible starting early June extending to the rest of summer - and so I dove right into building my first benchwork. The design seemed like a really nifty idea at the time! The table is basically two 'three by six' foot rectangles joined together at 45 degrees, and that's where the problems started. Playing with Unitrack in the XTrkCad software, I have a difficult time getting sidings to go around curves and fitting everything I'd like into this area (getting an idea from my head into rigid sectional track is a challenge). This is what I have so far.... In this design, I've extended the table another six inches deep, something I am currently in the process of doing to the real table downstairs. This is reserved for a hidden staging area, i.e. the rest of the rail network, somewhere beyond the confines of my table. Since a good part of the table is not against the wall, I just plan to landscape mountains/hills over this area, leaving it open out back and accessible. I know I want some kind of yard, which I've modeled here, and I do want continuous running as well as operations. I'm not trying to recreate any real location, but in a vague way, I have two CN locomotives, so this is a CN railroad, in Canada, and slanted towards some kind of mining layout. But now I'm stuck. I have a rough oval, a yard, and the hidden staging. I even extended my yard lead into a reversing track. But where do I go from here? How do I fit some industries in here? How do I fit some grades (I can't seem to find the place for even a mild grade)! Am I on the right track or have I painted myself into a wall?