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Allegheny1600

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Ooooh ..... I didn't mean to be insulting. I did say it was my view and I was, I suppose, being a tad - shall we say - provocative? But nonetheless, from a non-US modeller's point of view, would you not agree that on the modern scene that most of the stock 'looks the same'? I did raise it only from an aesthetic point of view (to an outsider) as a possible contributory factor in the decline in US outline modelling interest in the UK and therefore a drop of activity here.

 

I wouldn't worry too much F-UnitMad, as we GWR modellers get the same remark that all our kettles 'look the same'.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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1 hour ago, F-UnitMad said:

 

US railroads were never built to be pretty. Let's call it "functional", & also rugged & no-nonsense when locos & stock might be required to travel a few thousand miles on just one trip, through some pretty remote & hostile terrain, too.

 

Went across one today - "Class 1 railroad" - the steel is 136lb rail and was rolled in 1972.

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Dear Phil,

 

Quote

But nonetheless, from a non-US modeller's point of view, 
would you not agree that on the modern scene that most of the stock 'looks the same'?

 

No, I absolutely would not agree...

 

...although such a statement really does suggest an undue focus on the UP/BNSF Transcon Inter-modal route and equipment as "what US railroading is",

 

and a failure to look at any other operations even 200' beyond the Transcon "Main line"...

(fallacy based on limited-evidence...

 

...much as if I was to say "all UK passenger trains are soul-less electric tin boxes" based solely on seeing one pic of a London Tube or silver "Chunnel" train...

 

...I know better, but it's an easy "outsider looking in" mistake to make...)

 

Recommend reviewing the "Proto-nooks" listed earlier in the thread... (covers both East and West Coast),
along with the Alexander RR,
https://hawkinsrails.net/shortlines/arc/arc.htm

and the "Blackbird Route" of Sth Carolina,

and Lance Mindheims blog,
https://lancemindheim.com/model-railroads/
https://lancemindheim.com/contact/

 

amongst others, for broader "contemporary US prototype railroading" examples...

(even if one has not-a-jot of interest in any given continent's RRs,
it's always beneficial to maintain a "healthy breadth of general knowledge",

as one never knows when the info might be useful...)

 

Happy Modelling, 

Aim to Improve, 

Prof Klyzlr 

Edited by Prof Klyzlr
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Been here a decade and I find train spotting here mostly dull - but I am at the end of the line.

 

Everything's a hood unit. The class 1 railroad are all Canadian comfort cab. Mostly EMD 70/75s, and GE44s - I can't tell the various types apart.

 

Short-lines are GP38s - and not enough of them.

 

Now, 40s-60s seemed fascinating. Fairbanks Morse, Baldwin, ALCO, MLW and others. Hood and Cab units. FM Erie built were genuinely good looking. I find it such a shame how many lines have been lost - ones that were distinctive, progressive, had fascinating industrial design etc. 

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2 hours ago, Philou said:

I'm not into US based stuff at all - and I only stumbled into this thread as I was intrigued by the title - I do look at US diesel photos from time to time (street running I find intriguing) but I come away every time with a feeling of 'MEH'. I mean the locos all look the same and seemingly have so done for the last 30 or 40 years (in my view) and its only the colours that change

 

There is a certain truth to this.

 

All of the GE stuff since the AC4400 looks essentially the same, and for a good 30 years or so when EMD ruled the rails their entire line of locos were essentially the same and you had to look for specific details to tell them apart - think the SD38/40/45 or GP38/40 and the dash 2 variants.

 

2 hours ago, Philou said:

Is that a part of the problem? At least in the UK (and Europe) there are oodles of different locos and stock and far, far more variety in passenger carrying stock whereas it does seem to me on the US scene, it's endless miles of freight, freight and cubes. I cannot say that that would hold any real interest for me.

 

If you are really into passenger operations anything for the last 30 years in North American isn't going to interest you.

 

Then again, given the total take over in the UK (and I assume the EU) of EMU/DMU operations passenger modeling of European stuff doesn't look that interesting either.

 

As the prof said, really for interesting North American stuff you have to leave the mainlines of the class 1 railroads and go for the interesting shortlines or specific aspects of the big railroads where they still in some places switch industries.

 

Either that or go back to the 1950s or earlier when things were very different.

 

 

 

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And  for something completely different:

 

Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIjHmyOqBHY

 

for a 1939 trip around LA. After time 6.30, it stops being a fan trip and shows the sort of busy multi-train action that makes both a home and exhibition layout addictive to run and watch.

 

I should have mentioned earlier, that I much prefer any layout that is double tracked. I think the initial interest in small model US exhibition layouts was at least partly a a gimmick that quickly became a bandwagon. I thought however too many had the usual quick laid PECO turnouts and flex track in a very simple  plan and UK type sweeping curves , which made them all look both similar but very un-American to me,

 

Andy

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Easy guys, easy!

Everyone has the right to their own opinion and if folk don't like NA railroading, that's fine (maybe not come here and say so though!).

For a fairly long time, I admit - I didn't really like this stuff myself until a cover of "Continental Modeller" struck me as being full of purpose and really interesting. Then the ball started rolling and I got hooked.

It's too easy to throw mud at other folks interests (eg I'm not interested in most ball games) but not understanding and not being interested often seem to get confused.

What gets me is when folk see something other than what they are modelling and simply switch off - that speaks to me of a closed mind.

I far prefer an open mind who can take an interest in things outside their own sphere, folk will often learn things they can apply to their own interests without losing what they already have.

I do find the typical appearance of current main-line US trains to be rather "samey" but as stated above, once you get off the main-lines, you find a whole different and fascinating world.

European trains can be rather variable, some places can be nothing but units and container trains, other places (in Germany especially but Central and Eastern Europe too) can have more variety than you can shake a stick at.

Cheers,

John.

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We are still mostly here if the membership levels of the NMRA-BR are to be believed.

 

From my standpoint, and I know a few others that feel the same, I just don't bother posting much here anymore. I tend to stick to the non-modelling sections. For anything North American rail related, It is the Facebook Freemo group or Model Railroad Hobbyist site. I think a lot of it comes from the invisible ink syndrome that seems to permeate around here at times. You can answer someone's question on a post, be ignored, and someone else a couple of days later will say the same thing.  I'm not 'like' or 'thanks' button collecting but when you spend time looking something up and then get ignored for your effort but someone else says the same thing and gets a response, you have to ask why bother? I'm finding similar when I post something in the North American section. It may get a couple of hundred views but maybe 1 or 2 likes. That says to me people here aren't interested in what I'm sharing. If I'm looking for feedback on my efforts or needing information about X, this really isn't the place anymore. I know that sounds a bit precious but it's just human nature to look for acknowledgement. 

 

From an overall modelling perspective and not just RMweb. There does seem to be some attrition in the number of active and or visible NA modellers these days. There are those who did it as a side project or just something different and have gone back to whatever they were doing before. There are those who model quietly at home and aren't visible. Some have passed on. Some can't manage the massive increase in costs and changed. Dare I say it was trendy for a while and now the dedicated modellers have gone back into the shadows of NMRA meets, clubs like Thamesiders and other modular groups, and dedicated North American exhibitions like Seaboard Southern. 

NA exhibition layouts seemed to have declined as well. One big reason for that is Freemo. Again from my standpoint, I'd rather take a module to a Freemo meet than to a public exhibition. 

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3 minutes ago, AndrewC said:

I think a lot of it comes from the invisible ink syndrome that seems to permeate around here at times. You can answer someone's question on a post, be ignored, and someone else a couple of days later will say the same thing.  I'm not 'like' or 'thanks' button collecting but when you spend time looking something up and then get ignored for your effort but someone else says the same thing and gets a response, you have to ask why bother? I'm finding similar when I post something in the North American section. It may get a couple of hundred views but maybe 1 or 2 likes. That says to me people here aren't interested in what I'm sharing. If I'm looking for feedback on my efforts or needing information about X, this really isn't the place anymore. I know that sounds a bit precious but it's just human nature to look for acknowledgement.  

Many thanks indeed, Andrew!

Wow, that is exactly how I feel a LOT of the time on here, I cannot express it better than that.

And, if it's bad when producing "American" content, imagine how difficult it is producing "European" content. Many is the time when I've wondered "why bother". Not just RMweb but anything online or even at my former club.

Maybe I'm becoming ever more sensitive to this but I do find that unless you produce something British, you get ignored.

Again, not collecting "likes" or attention seeking, just trying to get a little acknowledgement!

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I’m not building anything standard gauge at present and have cleared out a fair bit of the collection to pay for other active projects but I still take out the modules to Freemo meets 2-3 times a year. My HOn30 layout will go to its first show in September and I still slowly add to the On30 pile for a one day layout. 
I do try to post pics from Freemo meets on here and the resurgence of 4014 certainly had a lot of traffic too. 
Sad to hear about Model Jn, always an example of how friendly a model shop could be and I used them regularly for what must be 20ish years although not been over for a couple of years as it’s a longish trip just to browse. 
There will be pics from Epsom in a couple of weeks too :) 

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9 minutes ago, PaulRhB said:

There will be pics from Epsom in a couple of weeks too :) 

Sadly, this is first Epsom meet I'll miss, and the first Freemo South. I'll be at Christow in May though. Really hoping they manage to do another one in Wells this autumn. 

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27 minutes ago, Allegheny1600 said:

Maybe I'm becoming ever more sensitive to this but I do find that unless you produce something British, you get ignored.

I don’t think it is restricted to that.

I have frequently observed that if a layout isn’t precisely related to someone’s particular interest/focus, they often walk straight past or pause only briefly at exhibitions.

I remember visiting an exhibition in the mid 90s and overhearing an operator behind a BR blue layout commenting to the other operator that there were 2 other layouts at that show with the same theme, and that things were “looking up” because of this.
 

Now, I cut my teeth in the 70s and love it as much as anyone, but I did think that unless the layouts were very different in scope and MO, let alone scale, and unless they were done well, then it would make for a rather bit and uninspiring exhibition. (Things like DEMU Shiwcase excepted.)

 

You will see it on here, especially in the layout forum, where comments like, “Can’t have enough models of Tibetan mule trams” are regularly made.

 

And I am just as guilty as anyone of this online. I simply don’t have enough time to keep up with everything, so have to be selective.

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13 hours ago, rodshaw said:

US outline is alive and well for me, except that at the moment I'm modelling TT 1:120 scale. (See the link to Naples Street in my signature). My description of it on this forum is under the micro layouts section rather than American & Canadian.

As American TT isn't available from any supplier in the UK (and precious little from the US for that matter), the vast majority of what I buy is from Europe. And very nice it is too. I've taken the layout to various shows in the last couple of years with at least three more planned.

Before that I had an American HO layout, Yorkford, PA, and I've kept enough of my HO stock for another small layout if I decide to go back to it.

 

Hi Rod

I very much enjoyed seeing Naples St. at the Princes Risborough show on Saturday and I don't think I'd ever actually seen a N. American based TT layout  in the flesh before.

I've not been into N. American modelling mysefl for many years but  I've often wondered why my once intense interest vanished never to return. I don't think it was anything to do with space, I built what was really a cross between  a BLT and a switching layout in no more space than a typical GW BLT. It was a late steam era  "mixed train daily" sort of place (yes I do have a copy of Beebe's book!) and operation consisted of making that up on the single staging track and then switching it. Some years earlier, as a student in the early 1970s, I'd made my first  visit to N. America where I'd travelled a lot, seen a lot of trains, and even seen the Rockies from the dome car of the Rio Grande Zephyr . A few years later I was also much inspired by the O gauge Wyandotte Transfer built my Paul Stapleton (Teamyakima of this partish) and the late Alan Day. That was twenty of so foot long switching layout set in an industrial area. I had, even before first visiting NA, also been fascinated by Cliff Young's articles in RM about his large Denver and Rio Grande  layout in H0.  When I actually started modelling in H0 I was particularly struck by the way that with NMRA wheel and track standards and Kadee couplers everything seemed to just work, something I'd not experienced with earlier British and 009 modelling.

 

However, I'd always been interested in narrow gauge and discovering the French metre gauge variety in the early 1980s seemed to just capture my interest completely and that later widened to France's railways more generally.  Though I've been to N. America several time since and have enjoyed railways from the Strasburg and East Broad Top to the Cumbres and Toltec and the Polar Bear Express, my interest in modelling them has never returned. 

 

I think for me that this may have something to do with a feeling that a railway isn't really complete unless it's handling both freight and passengers in a way that connects with ordinary life. In Britain, seeing local goods trains being shunted while waiting for a train just about lies within my own early memory, in Europe its well within my adult memory up until the 1990s. In N. America, with a few far northern exceptions such as Moosonee Ontario or Alaska, it now seems a very long way in the past and though railroads/railways there carry far more freight than they do in Europe they seem rather separated from everyday life.

I also think this may lie at the root of the enduring popularity of branch line termini amongst British modellers. It's not just nostalgia, you can actually do more with such a layout in a fairly small space.

Edited by Pacific231G
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Guys, I'm really sorry if I came over a tad insulting - it wasn't intended that way at all. Maybe I expressed myself badly (often do unfortunately). It's not that I'm not interested in anything outside of the UK, it's just that the thought had crossed my mind that modern mainstream US stock looks much the same unless you look at the different details - as mentioned above by @mdvle above - and perhaps a lack of variety may not hold enough interest to an outsider looking in.

 

I confess I know nothing about short lines, but always willing to learn.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

 

Edit: Pacific231G's reply arrived at the same time as I posted and he has put in a manner far more eloquently what I was trying to say.

Edited by Philou
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1 minute ago, Philou said:

it's just that the thought had crossed my mind that modern mainstream US stock looks much the same unless you look at the different details

A friend used the phrase “wide cabs and [dynamic brake] wings” to describe the scene some years ago.

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16 minutes ago, Regularity said:

A friend used the phrase “wide cabs and [dynamic brake] wings” to describe the scene some years ago.

 

True for the main lines & large operators, but there is a lot of variety to be found if you look at the whole railscene there, and certainly lots of scope for modelling such things......

 

13-990a.jpg.36bbb9dee17f496a6a1ebd8d0be47951.jpg

 

17-638a.jpg.f9b9f3e8b0f7030f23a049c7d38697b4.jpg

 

11-1664a.jpg.795684ec358cc7a8067927e97985e969.jpg

 

17-1764a.jpg.e1ab72d36c7b906b70fa2ff73c30bdd2.jpg

 

17-1814a.jpg.fa1b27e63626dd8707e5405507b292d5.jpg

 

.....and that is just a small selection of what I've seen there over the past 9 years!

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, AndrewC said:

NA exhibition layouts seemed to have declined as well. One big reason for that is Freemo. 

 

2 hours ago, Allegheny1600 said:

Maybe I'm becoming ever more sensitive to this but I do find that unless you produce something British, you get ignored.

 

It's a bit Chicken and Egg, although I'd say it's because it is more difficult to pick up an invite for an American layout and that is what has sparked modellers to go and do their own thing in private at a Freemo event or Convention instead of in front of the public who wonder why trains aren't constantly whizzing round and round. 

 

Although most established shows have maintained the token presence of one or two American layouts, there's definitely been a downturn as newer events seen to stick with what they know, ie British RTR.

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1 minute ago, 298 said:

 

 

It's a bit Chicken and Egg, although I'd say it's because it is more difficult to pick up an invite for an American layout and that is what has sparked modellers to go and do their own thing in private at a Freemo event or Convention instead of in front of the public who wonder why trains aren't constantly whizzing round and round. 

 

Although most established shows have maintained the token presence of one or two American layouts, there's definitely been a downturn as newer events seen to stick with what they know, ie British RTR.

Hard to say. Is the lack of more North American down to the lack of invites or the lack of good layouts? As you said, chicken and egg. Another thought is North American modelling doesn't tend to favour the type of BLT that is so loved by exhibition managers. 

 

I've had a few invites for Millarville in a layout form (ie staging yard added) but apart from one local show, I've said thanks but no thanks. I really do prefer the casual relaxed atmosphere of Freemo meets. The one local exhibition we did 2 years ago was during an icy cold December Saturday. Crowds were well down but we kept something moving the whole time. The module was meant for constant switching, so that was easy. It didn't hurt when we did all the switching and operation from an iPad and phones. It was the only DCC layout there. 

 

One thing I have noticed about many UK built North American exhibition layouts is they are more like UK layouts but with different scenery and stock. I'll probably get shot for this but there are very few NA layouts that really capture my attention. I think it is down to the track plans. UK would have a spur going off at an angle to serve an industry. Canada or US would more commonly have a siding parallel to the running line with the industry having been built next to the railway. I've heard it described as in the UK the industries came first so the railways went to them. In North America the railroads were built before many of the industries so they tended to locate along the lines. This is a generalisation of course but if you look at Google Earth and poke around small towns, it is the norm. In Western Canada for example, the vast majority of towns all had the same basic design. Main street ran parallel but on the upwind side of the railway. Residential areas all up wind. (mostly on the west or north side) Grain elevators, parallel to the running line but on the down wind side. All other industries on "the wrong side of the tracks" but again close to the railway with the sidings staying within railway property where ever possible. 

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I don’t think the trackplan issue is unique to US layouts, I see plenty of unlikely arrangements on UK layouts too. The broad range of interests means some just build a layout as a place to run trains while others have the trains as ‘actors’ on their stage. The divide between the two is fluid depending on experience and research too. I tend to have enough scenery to complete the scene but I’d hardly call it super detail but I do tend to base the track on prototype pictures and plans. 
I guess there will tend to be gluts of layouts as a few build them then show them for a few years until they feel like making another. I could exhibit my modules by adding a fiddleyard but I’m already involved in. German, Swiss and UK standard and Narrow gauge show layouts so I don’t have time or really the inclination to exhibit them as well as run them as originally intended at Freemo events. 
Currently my small NG layout is the only one that will be exhibited generally. 
 

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1 hour ago, 298 said:

 

 

It's a bit Chicken and Egg, although I'd say it's because it is more difficult to pick up an invite for an American layout and that is what has sparked modellers to go and do their own thing in private at a Freemo event or Convention instead of in front of the public who wonder why trains aren't constantly whizzing round and round. 

 

Although most established shows have maintained the token presence of one or two American layouts, there's definitely been a downturn as newer events seen to stick with what they know, ie British RTR.

I share your point to the letter,  although I can't remember the last time I went to an exhibition and saw trains moving much, let alone whizzing round. my interest is in central Europe and find most exhibitions quite bland. A personal point of view I know, so I tend to stick to the smaller special interest events where I am in company of like minded people.

Just my thoughts.

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I have to say I find the US modern scene a bit boring. However the way I look at it, there 's 200ish years of history to choose from, just the same as there is for UK modelling.

I've noticed the drop in posting in this forum, some stuff has moved to FB, but its not the same, its sporadic and tends not to go into as much depth as you get on a forum. The only stuff I tend to see regularly is Andy Gautreys layout updates, which I do enjoy. I'm a bit sad about it because it was this forum that gave me much supoort and ispiration when I discovered the dark side, although the chances of someone on a US forum knowing the answer to my queries are greater, there is a cultural difference and I never found a US based forum I felt at home in.

I'm still (not) modelling US stuff as much as I ever was, but I've purposely stopped looking for new subjects of interest as I've found enough to occupy myself until after my second reincarnation! Hence I've stopped posting 'look at this great new thing I've discovered1' posts.

I've also found less on RMweb to interest me outside the US forum too, maybe I've changed.

Also, don't tell anyone, but I've been drawn to freelance narrow gauge again after many years and I actually find more to read on http://ngrm-online.com

Edited by Talltim
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1 hour ago, AndrewC said:

Hard to say. Is the lack of more North American down to the lack of invites or the lack of good layouts? As you said, chicken and egg. Another thought is North American modelling doesn't tend to favour the type of BLT that is so loved by exhibition managers. 

 

I've had a few invites for Millarville in a layout form (ie staging yard added) but apart from one local show, I've said thanks but no thanks. I really do prefer the casual relaxed atmosphere of Freemo meets. The one local exhibition we did 2 years ago was during an icy cold December Saturday. Crowds were well down but we kept something moving the whole time. The module was meant for constant switching, so that was easy. It didn't hurt when we did all the switching and operation from an iPad and phones. It was the only DCC layout there. 

 

One thing I have noticed about many UK built North American exhibition layouts is they are more like UK layouts but with different scenery and stock. I'll probably get shot for this but there are very few NA layouts that really capture my attention. I think it is down to the track plans. UK would have a spur going off at an angle to serve an industry. Canada or US would more commonly have a siding parallel to the running line with the industry having been built next to the railway. I've heard it described as in the UK the industries came first so the railways went to them. In North America the railroads were built before many of the industries so they tended to locate along the lines. This is a generalisation of course but if you look at Google Earth and poke around small towns, it is the norm. In Western Canada for example, the vast majority of towns all had the same basic design. Main street ran parallel but on the upwind side of the railway. Residential areas all up wind. (mostly on the west or north side) Grain elevators, parallel to the running line but on the down wind side. All other industries on "the wrong side of the tracks" but again close to the railway with the sidings staying within railway property where ever possible. 

 

 

better hadn't start a new thread on the small layout, to many lines parallel to the baseboard edge!!!!!!

Edited by long island jack
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52 minutes ago, Talltim said:

I have to say I find the US modern scene a bit boring. However the way I look at it, there 's 200ish years of history to choose from, just the same as there is for UK modelling.

 

Indeed. I always rather liked a layout featured in RM in March 1969 called the "Tombstone and Crockett's Creek" by Peter Morris that used Triang and I think Airfix Bachmann  "Wild West"  locos and stock, along with covered wagons, cowboys and Indians etc. (courtesy of Airfix figure sets)  It could easily have been dismissed  as Diseyland fantasy BUT. within the limits of proprietary models, was a serious attempt to create a fairly  authentic late 1860s railroad set in the Sierra Nevada between Minden Nev. on the V&T and Owenyo Ca. on the SP . It had a credible route and history, some authentic historic buildings from Suydam kits and was operated to a realistic schedule using a card order system for freight movements.  It occupied a 12ft x 10ft room and was a folded dumbell with a combined fiddle yard acting as both ends of a point to point for operation.

 

There was a time when the small North American switching layout was almost a layout genre in its own right (though it seemed to be a mainly British phenomenon almost unknown in N. America itself)  and most exhibitions would have a couple of them. This seemed to be before small shunting layouts based on UK practice became as common as they are now. 

Edited by Pacific231G
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10 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

Indeed. I always rather liked a layout featured in RM in March 1969 called the "Tombstone and Crockett's Creek" by Peter Morris... ... was a serious attempt to create a fairly  authentic late 1860s railroad

Scarily, that period is half as long ago again as it was when modelled!

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Just a passing thought: Is there an element of xenophobia (trainophobia?) when it comes to railway (railroad) modelling outside of your home country? The reason I ask is that I remember a few years ago reading, on another forum, a story of an UK ex-pat over in the States who found a railway club near-to where he lived (possibly a couple of hours drive away) and asked if he could come over. Sure, no problem. He took some of his UK stock with him to show and hopefully run and when he arrived he was greeted with 'You can take that Eurosh!t back with you!'. He didn't stay and didn't go back. Despite being a broad church here, perhaps, just perhaps, there is an element of 'if it's not UK/US/Euro/whatever' then it's not 'of interest'. Teamyakima of this parish I think has found a similar issue on the circuit with his Chinese based exhibition layout.

 

Just musings on my part.

 

I don't do Facebook at all and I wondered if you guys may want to put some photos here occasionally just to keep your thread alive - I'd be interested in looking!

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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