As Bryan's birthday and the holiday season loom ever larger, there is understandably even less time to spend in the train room, and as a result, and as pointed out in a comment to the most recent update, progress is approaching sub-prototypical speed. (Although I should note that contra the commenter, where I grew up - western New York - the Irish dug the Erie Canal and the Italians built the New York Central.)
However, I have once more adopted the incremental approach I adopted when building the benchwork (as described here), applying it mostly to the transcribing of the trackplan onto the foam by pricking holes through the paper overlay. I also managed to glue down the final section of ascending gradient on the rural section, and have been marking locations for mainline gradient supports on and near the engine terminal section.
In this I have made a virtue of necessity, as I need to get some spackle to level some minor height differences between foam sections to ensure smooth track, and more importantly I need to get a new soldering iron for the actual laying of track. Accordingly I have asked Santa for gift certificates from here and here. Hopefully the arrival of needed supplies and equipment will coincide with at least a small uptick in available time, as I am itching to get some track down - any track, frankly - and get things literally moving.
Happy Holidays, and in the meantime go here for the complete set of updates.