A couple of weeks ago I started lamenting my layout. Well, not the layout itself, but more its locale. I was attempting to model the Pacific Northwest, mostly because I've oft-visited there and just liked it, but my choice of the Rock Island and Santa Fe made little sense, because they don't have trackage anywhere in the region. So I started from the proverbial bottom, and found out where my three favorite railroads (ROCK ATSF UP) have significant trackage. After hours and hours of research (and many many kilobytes of Excel spreadsheets and Word documents), my layout is now located in a fictional region I created by taking the four states of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and then moving Kansas "up" by 100-120 miles, creating a horizontal strip of land in between the four states. I then plotted all of the railroads that served those four states in 1980, and arrived at a number of entry points for railroads entering my fictional region. I then added the cities I wanted to include, including all those currently modeled on my starter layout, and developed the appropriate routes through the region. I'm not a *real* stickler for detail, but I've found that this research has allowed me to add a high degree of prototypicality, while costing me almost nothing. Not only are my three favorite railroads now logically operating in the region, but the region is home to a myriad of other railroads - BN, Cotton Belt, Frisco, ICG, KCS, MKT, MP, and the Rio Grande. It's also very easy to determine what routes a railroad or even a railcar would take through the region, say from Kansas to Texas. Wow. The biggest (and kewlest) coincidence was that an actual town just north of my region, in Kansas, is called Corwin. That just happens to be my brother's name - so if he ever gets back into the hobby, that will *HAVE* to be the connecting point between our two layouts. With this information in hand, I have totally revised my website (same URL below), and not only included the information above (and much more), but also improved the look, feel, and style of the website (or so I think). While work on the actual layout has suffered as a result of this massive project, some minor changes are also being made as a result of my research. I will be posting pics as soon as I get the family digital camera back from my brother.