A new layout to distract
So one thing you can do to avoid actually making progress on anything is to start a lot of different projects. As I am trying to figure out how construct the benchwork on my HBS layout so that it is easily disassembled to clear space in my office/guest room for other uses, I am contemplating starting on a small layout first to work out some of the issues I've identified that need attention.
Being a New York Harbor guy, I've done a lot of research on the various pocket yards around the harbor, and I've been inspired by work of David Ramos, Tim Warris and others. I also just want to get something up so I can run my trains.
I've used a free download of AnyRail software to draw up a plan of the 149th roughly as it appeared in the early 1950s. Total size is about 7'x5', and it would be a free-standing layout so there would be access all around it. I'm looking to use lightweight materials and split it into two sections for easy storage. It would feature a car float with tug, float bridge and several spots. The prototype had about one float unload and load a day, and I can imagine this would be a just right amount of operating time for a casual evening solo session. It would also be good for taking to shows and letting people try out operating.
I've made some changes since this image was created, most importantly increasing the size of the lead at the top of the plan by ooching the turnouts over to the right.
I've already got the boxcabs and S-1 that operated there for the Erie, and I have tested them out on the Peco code 75 Streamline track to much satisfaction so far. Perhaps I can get this up and running in short order to use as a test bed for establishing my construction standards for the HBS.
Great research site: Harlem 149th by Philip M. Goldstein
Other 149th Street layouts: Small Layout Scrapbook #96a (more photos) and #88, and another under way by Matthieu Lachance