The Ikea shelf is 74 inches long by 10 inches width. Not very large, but enough to get a decent elevator scene. 10 inches isn't enough to develop a deep enough scene. Track clearance and security margins aren't good enough. On the other hand, I don't want to get a shelf to width because in will induce more forces and risk of sagging. I consider 12 inches to be a good average. Also, I'm seriously thinking about bashing my old Walthers elevator. My previous structure was about 5 inches width. The elevator is about 4.25 inches.
Having operated QSSR a few times last year, I know the main issue was the fact sidings and "yard lead" were too short to make switching moves easier. That doesn't mean switching will be "easy", but only that I won't have to make a ridiculous and irrealistic amount of useless moves. It may sounds stupid, but being artificially forced to do irrelevant things is the saddest thing in existence!
I feel we always under estimate a siding length. We probably inherited it from our spagetthi bowl design or oter contrived conceptual ideas. A siding shouldn't always be the required lenght to handle a definite number of car spots. In fact, we operating, you need extra space to store cars while performing a vast array of moves.
How does it materialize with my design? I placed the turnout on the amovible cassette. Yes, a zero-turnout module. Nothing less, nothing more. Not only it gives me long and realistic sidings, but I don't have to care about scenicking or painting the turnout (which can be really tiring). Also, having the turnout in the clear makes it possible to scenic the foreground with trees and bushes to "hide" the place where the trains coming from.
Building this layout will be easy as one-two-three. I don't plan feeding the rail underneat the layout. Instead, the very few wires required will be buried into trenches dug out on the styrofoam slab. As a lighting valence, I'll use another IKEA shelf with LED fixture for cabinets installed under it. Backdrop will be a photo of a generic and suitable countryside scene mounted on a lightweight board. It could be a 1/8" masonite or a 1/4" foamcore. I could also be possible to just tack the photograph on the wall. I'll see when I'll be there.
The structures will be scratchbuilt and kitbashed from stuff I already own. If you are skeptic about such a diminutive layout, just Google "Logansport and Indiana Northern". This layout really show how a generic elevator scene can have character.
In the end, this layout will have at least 5 car spots (even more in fact) and the possibility to handle 5-car long trains with a caboose. Not too bad for a 74" long board.