In my opinion, the 103 mechanisms simply were not reliable enough to form the basis of bashed or scratchbuilt models, and while I'm sure I could re-engineer them to perform better, by then I'd be practically building things from the ground up, and I wasn't interested in doing that in T—I have enough hardcore scratchbuilding on my Z scale plate, thank you very much.
But I wasn't looking for an out-of-the-box solution, either; I didn't want to simply assemble Eishindo's entire product line into something that was one step removed from a prefab. I'm willing to invest a certain amount of energy in a T scale project, enough to satisfy a desire for something decent—and American—without starting with handlaid track, even though at one time I was tempted to do just that.
For me, it comes down to the ROI for T scale: it's simply too small to consider taking the craftsman approach and working towards something akin to fine scale modeling (having said that, one might question my sanity for attempting to do this in Z scale, but that's a whole other kettle of fish). The track alone is absurd—the rail scales up to over a foot and half tall. So, assuming I'm going to build a layout starting with commercial track, I'd lower my modeling ambitions a few notches so that things seemed to belong together.
However, I'd need to start over with a whole new layout. After I pulled my existing starter layout out of moth balls, I determined that my little florist foam experiment was unsuitable; it was messy and dirty and ultimately offered no advantages over my regular techniques. Thankfully I hadn't invested much time or effort in getting the layout to that point, and I still had plenty of layout-building supplies on hand, so it was easy for me to let it go. I'm quite used to rebooting layouts as it is.
Beginning with the same track plan as before, I replaced my handmade switch with a commercial one, mostly so that people unfamiliar with T could get an idea of what's available to buy. I also made a few revisions to the placement of buildings and scenic features to provide more interesting modeling opportunities.
The other major change I made was the overall type of layout. Instead of a tabletop, I'm going portable. This was not because I wanted a classic "briefcase layout" as much as I simply wanted something in which to safely transport and store it. Thanks to Cases By Source, I was able to order a case that matched the layout size, down to the inch—in fact, I had my pick of over a dozen in the 14x20 inch range.
With regards to rolling stock, I'll be using a new 9000 mechanism to power some form of scratch/bashed doodlebug, possibly based on some obscure prototype, or possibly freelanced, but not adhering slavishly to what might have run on the Reading Railroad, as I'd originally planned; I may even break away from the Reading and Northern-Lehigh River Valley theme and freelance the whole thing.
Thus the layout and its features currently have no names. But it does have a purpose: if I'm to remain well-versed in the world of T, as I'd like to be, I need to be working in the scale, even occasionally/casually. At the very least, I need something on which to test new rolling stock, so as to continue providing product reviews for fellow T nuts. Well, OK, I'll come clean and confess that I just want to build a new T scale layout. After all, it's fun!