I believe that it was an American gentleman by the name of Frank Ellison who, in the 1940s or 1950s, described a model railroad as the stage and the trains as actors who enter, move through the stage and depart (or words to that effect). Carrying the stage analogy a bit further, when necessary, the set is changed as the play needs to move the story to another location. In most model railways, we don't have the luxury of a movable set that can change as the train moves along the track. Instead, what many do is to compact their key scenic elements into a tight non-scale distance using 'modeler's license' and then focus attention on the train moving through those particular spots.
I have certainly done this on Philip's Creek, where the station, coal mine and branch line junction all reside within a distance which represents just 800m in 1:1 scale. It is a single and very concentrated scene. However, I have always had a sense that I wanted to model a train travelling over distance. Some of my blog musings over the past few years have, in part, been working toward creating that sense of distance.
Almost accidentally, I have started to use barriers or backscenes as a means of separating scenes to create, in essence, a separate 'compartment'. This is not a new technique as anyone who operates a multi-level layout will attest. But, in the context of Philip's Creek, it is something that I have drifted into, rather than planning it from the start. So, almost by accident, the layout now has four compartments, in varying stages of construction.
The Mount Windeatt station (below) and the logging railway compromise the Philip's Creek scene to some extent. There is no physical barrier between the two scenes but because they are two sides of a "U", one tends to focus on one of the two 'compartments'.
The final compartment, as a current project, is in the early stages of construction and will become the branch line terminus. Once the backscenes are in place, this section will also not be visible from either of the other two locations.
The wireless controller is essential to make this approach work. http://philipscreek.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/going-wireless.html
One minor consequence is that I now need to move around the layout to follow a particular train. However that's not really a problem, I need to get a bit more exercise!
On an unrelated matter, with Father's Day approaching, a hint has gone out for contributions to the locomotive fund. Hopefully, at some time soon, I can welcome a new standard goods to the roster at Philip's Creek.