A more complete story of this layout (and much better artwork!) are found
in Model Railroad Planning 2004. A friend had built a small boat-shaped N scale 4'X10' layout in a smaller home,
but upon moving to more commodious digs wanted to tie that layout into a larger around-the-walls shelf layout configuration.
Since he was already interested in the California central coast region, the Santa Maria Valley Railway was a logical candidate
for the expansion. I drew up the original plans with paper-and-pencil in 1995, but converted them to 3rd PlanIt for the MRP
I called the stub-end staging tracks facing each other "X-factor" staging
in the MRP article, but I'm sure others have used them over the years. The handy part about the staging yards was
being able to quickly back a train that had just finished its run into one of the staging yards back across the X into the
opposite staging track quickly and easily -- restaging it for the next run.
The resulting 18'X20' plan was nearly all constructed and worked well. The
X-factor staging tracks (which I stumbled onto in the first place) were a key to the design fitting into the space -- but
we often wished that I had left space for a couple more staging tracks at each end. We had a great time building and having
simple operations on the layout, but it was lost due to another household move.