To offer some context to the scene that will be replacing the paper mill scene I offer this very preliminary sketch of the prototype track arrangement and some of the other key elements in the Randolph scene from the time period I'm modeling. I'm drawing this in Adobe Illustrator using scans of track diagrams and the like from a variety of sources.
I place the "source" material in layers in Illustrator, resize them until they are in scale relative to one another, and then trace the outlines in Illustrator.This isn't precision work - the diagram shown here is actually sourced from four different railroad track maps and two Sanborn Maps. Getting them perfectly aligned with one another is difficult at best. Luckily, it's not really necessary to do so.
Of course I don't have the length available to exactly duplicate this in HO scale on my layout. So why bother with the prototype map at all? (I've done them for all the other towns on the layout).
Eventually the "notes" layer, not shown here, will be filled with everything from thumbnail photos of the prototype buildings to various notes and comments on types of siding, years it was built and/or altered, interesting notes on who lived where....even a location of a particular tree if it somehow "makes" a prototype scene! In short, these maps centralize much of what I know about the scene in one place. That way, when it comes time to build the models I have an idea of where to look - or at the very least a place to start!
Once I get this information together, the next step will be to develop a track arrangement that will actually fit in place on the layout - most of that layout planning is not done on paper but instead is done full size with flextrack and paper cutouts of the various buildings I've deemed essential to capturing the look of the prototype.