A friend came over to see the layout this weekend, and ended up spending the entire day helping me wire the Ophir loop area. He spent most of his time working on a pair of 4-wire disconnects for the removable section, and wiring by safety rocker switch (which cuts power to both lines about 10' either side of the removable section). All that went very well, and most of the loop wiring is now complete. The panels at Vance Jct and Ophir still need the 1156 lamps installed, but then the basic wiring should be complete.
However, the weekend was marred by a minor derailment that dumped my two Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0s on their sides. No damage - it was trivial derailment - but because I foolishly re-railed the double-header w/o turning off the power, the locos took off before I had the drawbar connected, and this stretched the loco / tender connector wiring. Now, one of those connectors is loose, and won't lock into position securely. It looks ok, but the loco stalls on turnouts where it never did before. I'm not sure how to fix it - perhaps just permanently wire the cab / tender together and bypass the little connectors?
And then - far worse - one of these same locos got knocked clean off the layout the following day; it landed on its side about 2' down on top of a plastic storage bin, which I guess cushioned the fall somewhat (certainly better than hitting the floor!). The tender's drawbar post snapped off, and the fitting on the drawbar screw under the cab also broke, let the cab / boiler pop up easily. I'm guessing I can install a new drawbar post on the tender, but I'm not sure what to do w/ the cab screw. It looks ok, but if you touch the cab it lifts off very easily.
Surprisingly, this appears to be the only damage! All the delicate pipes, steps, etc all seem fine.