I guess the 2x8' tables that I built did serve a purpose, as I decided that my next layout will only be 8' in length. I really like the 4x10 footprint that I have used in the past, but 8' will allow me to shove the layout into a few different spots in my garage, making room for other things. And this layout isn't about broad curves and scenery, but rather industries and detail.
Using Sketchup, I drew a very quick sketch of a trackplan in a 3.5' x 8' space. I spent about 30 minutes putting this together, so take it for what it's worth. I still want to incorporate most of my industry and switching ideas from the shelf layout plan, but add a continuous loop for unit trains. I drew this with a double mainline, but also want to consider a single main which would give me more room for other things. This is where I could use some input from others.
I have a few of the industries planned including a grain elevator, meat packing/cold storage, and an intermodal yard. I also added 4 hidden staging tracks to allow for ample storage of cars and trains, which will add some interest to operations.
Well, there you have it. I am pretty serious about this plan, as it seems to fit most of my needs. And, I just need to start something before the idea gets stale and I lose several more months. I'll fine tune it over the next few weeks, but this is at least a good starting point of what is in my head at the moment.
Let me know what you think.