Well, I'm not quite far enough to be on the layout tour this year, but I'm having a few of the guys over for dinner to see the progress. Amidst the daily batch of sawdust, here's the the current state of the layout:
The "Holyoke/Waterbury" helix is in its final location, although not actually attached to anything yet. Eventually Stanley Works will be on top of it. The "Hartford/New Haven" helix is under construction (and the source of the day's sawdust). The deck for 2/3 of the upper level is in place, but not attached. I've been mocking up the track plan and making adjustments and it's going to work well.
In the end I opted to build the "Hartford/New Haven" helix around the pole after all. I shifted it slightly but it will allow a better connection to the layout in that position.
These last picture shows how the staging looks in relation to the upper deck. Well, sort of. The picture was taken with a flash so you could see it. Without the flash, they are pretty dark and disappear very well. Coupled with the depth of the upper deck and the planned fascia, the staging will be very unobtrusive when operating. You can also see the piece of masonite spline clamped in place where the Berlin line will be.
I'm hoping to complete the majority of the second helix this week. I have turnouts on order for the upper deck, and once they arrive I'll finalize the track layout for the east side of town, leading into New Britain yard. This is the most complicated portion and everything will be dependent upon that.
We'll see how far I get this week, but I'm looking forward to next weekend. If you're coming to the NE Proto Meet I'll see you there!