This first diagram shows a CAD drawing of the box frame. It measures 78" x 15.5" (2m x 40cm). This size was chosen so that I can place it on my bookcase while working on it.
Add to this frame a simple half-inch top and we get a box shown in the next diagram.
The track plan is shown below. The dashed lines represent the box frame. This is to verify that none of the turnouts are going to be placed on top of the frame parts. The branch line is the single track starting from the lower-right corner through to the upper-left corner. I got the basic idea for the track plan from the September 1995 issue of Model Railroader. In it is an article on Ben King's layout, the Timber City & Northwestern. It is a small HO-scale layout measuring 2.5ft by 10ft. Dividing the measurements by 2 (approximation to N-scale) came in pretty close to the space I had available. The track plan has a run-around track. There is space for five industries, one team track, a small-town passenger depot, and one storage track for the switcher that will be servicing this area. The plan is to hand-lay the track using Micro Engineering code 40 rail, and building the turnouts in-place. All turnouts are to be controlled via Tortoise switch machines. These switch machines were electronically thrown using Digitrax' stationary decoders. The module was set up for DCC, so that the entire module could be run from the DCC throttle.
The diagram below captures the approximate location of the various structures I plan to build for this module. I wanted to capture the feeling of a small town in Pennsylvania, following no specific prototype town. The homes of the citizens of Crystal Creek are located off the module, so they are not modeled, but rather inferred. For operation I was thinking about building small trays to simulate arriving and departing traffic. These trays will somehow dock on to the module and allow traffic to run on and off the module. The primary purpose is to switch the handful of small businesses in Crystal Creek.