I wanted to create the impression in the viewer's mind that they were seeing some New England countryside with an occasional glance of the railroad in its surroundings. Instead, I thought the "Front Door" looked more like some sort of giant modern art sculpture. It was all about the infrastructure and not about aesthetics. And it really grated on me. Here's a look at how the layout entrance looked the day before I tore the upper deck off:
And here's what the same viewpoint looks like today (pardon the leaning buildings - most of them are simple mockups propped in place):
Comparing these two shots has convinced me all the work and effort have certainly been worthwhile.
It's been a long journey, and it's not over yet, but I feel pretty good about how things are looking.