you are a fountain of information!
Unfortunately I do not have the "change" any longer to purchase those issues of MRP you mentioned
Then again - look on the bright side - if Kalmbach had published a series of books with shelf plans only (as I think you suggested), those books would have been about three times the price of an back issue of MRP, and would have been even further away from being affordable.
And having the old MRPs, it is quick to summarize ideas from such track plans. E.g. Linda Sand's 1 x 8 foot layout from MRP 2006 looked roughly like this (my interpretation of her plan, not a photo copy of the plan):
Some ideas of making such a small plan more interesting operationally - some mentioned by Sand in the accompanying article in the 2006 MRP, some mentioned by her (and others) in other articles elsewhere:
Modeling _one_ larger industry with multiple car spots makes for a more interesting flow of traffic than modelling four or five tiny industries that take one boxcar each - and will spend three weeks using up the stuff inside that one boxcar.
Here there is not a lot of structure to build - two or three flats along the back track, two or three chemical tanks (or trackside pumps) and a shipping building at the front left. But you can build those background structures big - say 4 stories big. Plenty of space to make them seem like a part of a big plant.
You got three little bridges over a creek here. One built for the in-plant switch lead. One built for one railroad (in Linda's article Wisconsin Central) main. One build for an interchange track from another railroad (in Linda's article C&NW, later UP). Can be built in totally different styles, with totally different balast colors and styles.
You can have the crossing of the two railroads over in the front right corner, and scratchbuild a small tower in a suitable style.
This plan has 10-11 car spots - I've labelled them R1 and R2 (for receiving spot 1 and 2), P1 and P2 (for powerhouse spot 1 and 2), W1 and W2 (for Wood unloading spots 1 and 2), C1 and C2 (chemical spot 1 and 2), S1 and S2 for shipping spot 1 and spot 2 and T1 for "Team track" spot 1.
You can add all kinds of interesting rules - like "Kaolin sludge in covered hoppers must be delivered to R2, where they can be unloaded into a tank truck". Or "road must not be blocked more than 15 minutes at a time, to allow town emergency vehicles access to houses on the other side of the WC main". Or "Old WC main between the interchange track and the old C&NW/WC tower can be used for temporary storage of cars".
It would even be possible to have an engine from the railroad the plant is located along take the cars from the interchange track and shove them into the plant, where the plant switcher takes over, thus modeling two railroads (within-plant RR and class 1 RR) in this tiny amount of space.Of so, you could drop the in-plant runaround.
Or you can just allow the plant switcher trackage rights on the main over to the interchange track.
Lots of options packed into a small layout, isn't it ?