Two weeks and a day into the project.
The "benchwork" is complete, as described before, a simple false bottomed box to be filled with pink foam insulation
In what is typical for me, I've jumped back and forth from replicating the original article and building the Payless Mine layout, or doing something similarily "mine-oriented", to doing a logging operation, based on the general layout/ideal of the article. After a lot of back and forth and making mock-ups and all, I've ultimately decided to do the logging idea, basing the size and trackplan on the article. Track will extend at both ends for possible, probable, likely (?) expansion.
Here is my Christmas Day efforts, pieced in pink foam, with a creekbed cut through and the basic track layout. Simple HO scale flextrack, with every other tie removed. Trying to make this as simple and basic as possible, the idea that ANYONE can do something similar, no special materials, tools, etc, just a little space and a desire to try it all.
The "West End", the Bachmann gas mechanical is about the perfect size for this, although I have a couple of similarily small, 4 wheel, short wheel base Milwaukee locomotives in mind as well.
The curve in the center is some of my usual smart-ass efforts, one of the "suggestions" for track for the Gold Spike is a crossing, which of course would be of zero use here, so I added one anyways, conceptually this is the camp foreman's office and a speeder or small railbus pulls up to the office with new employees.
The "East End" of things.
An overall look at the full 6 foot length of things. Planning a small, portable sawmill in the center of the "V" here at the east end, loaded disconnects on one side, flats with cut lumber on the other