High resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) is used to investigate the transformation mechanism responsible for the occurrence of the many stable layered phases in the pseudo-binary Y2Ba4Cu6+xO14+x system. In particular, HRTEM results are compared with microstructural configurations generated by an earlier theoretical study which modeled this transformation by means of an intercalation mechanism. HRTEM images of partially transformed Y-Ba-Cu-O reveal that the predominant structural change is limited to the CuO planes. The location of the transformation front, revealed in the micrographs by the presence of these partial dislocations, suggests that the transformation is nucleated at grain boundaries and internal surfaces within the material. The observation of local CuO layer ordering along the  direction is taken as evidence for the presence of longer range interactions. A two-dimensional approximation to the bulk Monte Carlo simulation incorporating long range screened Coulomb  interactions is used to investigate the possibility and nature of local, transient stage orderings.