While I liked the last layout design, there was one big problem with it. The primary staging yard for this layout needed to be on the west end of the layout. Up to now my orientation for the layout was looking north, left is west and right is east. Following this orientation the west end staging yard would be on the shorter wall not allowing enough space for primary staging.
Because in this configuration the Palisade tunnels would be on the other side of the room, I decided to use the tunnels to disguise the lift bridge at the entry door.
Another change is that the bump out for the helix was reduced from 4 feet to 2 feet after I realized that the modeled scenes could be extended onto the first turns of the helix so the space is not really wasted.
This drawing reflects how the room was actually built so while this may not be the final version of the layout, additional changes will need to fit within this space.
Another thing that I believe may be an advantage to this arrangement is that on the western end of the layout the WP line will be closer to the front edge of the layout which I find more interesting. On the eastern end of the layout after the lines have crossed in the canyon, the SP line will be toward the front edge in Carlin which is where there is more going on.
At this point in early 2014, the blog postings have caught up with the events. Future posts should all be "current events".