Having re-read yesterday's post about track laying, I realised that there is a gap in the story. My previous post talked about finishing the branch line and then starting the track laying. So what happened to the branch line?
Basically, nothing. The more I have thought about the branch line, the less convinced I have become that its course along the front of the layout is the right one. Scenically it gets in the way of the mainline, especially the bridge on F2; operationally it doesn't add a great deal of interest. I really want the branch line to come in from a different direction to give more visual interest and more scenic scope. A possibility is to build a branch-line trackbed on top of the spur carrying the new loop from F1. This would take the branch line along the side of the loft and make a separate little vignette that is more or less independent of the main layout. Branch line trains would run through this, past a scenic break of some sort, and continue onto the main layout past the F1 sidings and into the mainline station.
Well, it's an idea, and I have to think about it some more before committing myself. In any case, the branch line is now also, like the new loop, temporarily on hold. I have plenty else to do: laying track and turning this pile of wood into a working railway!