At the time this layout was started I was still in
Mission Viejo. For several years my wife suggested that
we convert the upstairs layout room, home to the Citrus Belt II, into a dedicated
gym. In the adjacent guest bedroom we had several pieces of professional
quality gym equipment that we used regularly but the equipment made the room
very crowded. The idea was to make the guest bedroom more hospitable.
This is the same guest bedroom in which I was trying without success to requisition for a very modest three-track staging yard along the back wall. The staging tracks would have greatly improved the operations potential for the layout in the adjacent bedroom.
My wife had an alternative plan in mind. As proposed by her, a new layout was to be located downstairs in the living room, which we seldom used. It was unexploited space in both our minds.
Construction on a two-level walk-in layout began in 2006. The design avoided all the past mistakes and reflected an operations-oriented track plan focused on the citrus industry, circa 1956. By this time I had created the Citrus Industry Modeling Group on Yahoo and had collected a lot of material on the industry and the related railroad operations.
In just a few months all the upper level benchwork, track, turnout machines and several industries were installed as were my first real backdrops.
Benchwork for the lower level had just started when my wife convinced me to move. I was a hard sell on the idea but I eventually came around. One condition was that any new home would have to have ample space for a layout. A second condition was that further moves were not an option until my death, major disability or abduction by alien beings.
So the Citrus Belt III died an early death but its ill-fated corpse donated organs (track, turnouts, switch machines, previously implanted structures from other dead layouts and even backdrops) for a future layout in a new town.