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With the number of different narrow gauge prototypes out there do people still go freelance?


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1 hour ago, Giles said:

I'm fine with freelance - if done realistically! 

One of the benefits of narrow gauge is that locos had a tendency to move around, and have a 'second life' at another site or railway- so why not a third?

At the end of the day it's all about enjoying your modelling - and having fun! :locomotive:

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I think modellers are often influenced by layouts in their chosen scale. The work of Peter Denny, John Charman et al popularised the imaginary branch line (of a real company) — this genre doesn’t seem to exist in other countries to any extent. Several narrow gauge layouts have been freelance systems — P. D. Hancock and more recently Ted Polet.

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Possibly because doing a scale model of an existing prototype is beyond what they think they are capable of. A lot of modellers get surprised by just how good they can be. At the end of the day "just do it"......whatever.

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Posted (edited)

There are quite a few reasons why SG modellers are less likely to have a freelance line, by which I mean a freelance railway company as opposed to a fictional or might-have-been station, which is, indeed, more common than a prototype location.

 

We've touched on some of these reasons, and the comparison with the US has been made and is most apt; generally the UK modeller wants to model the distinctive stock of a real company, not the distinctive stock of a made up railway. 

 

Perhaps this is why there are only limited exceptions; the SG industrial line (increasingly popular due to increased RTR support in recent years) and the Light Railway ilk.  The former have standard designs from private manufacturers, just like 'mainline' roads in the US.  The latter often relied on second hand stock.

 

Mention is made of the freelance NG system layout, with famous and well-loved examples. The Standard Gauge freelancer has seldom gone so far.  Beyond the factory yard or the sparse Colonel Stephens terminus, it is hard to persuade the SG modeller to stray.

 

This is a shame as there is a rank of SG railway perfect for SG freelancing. Far below the big mainline companies and far above the Light Railways and tramways that opened up marginal communities to traffic, such lines existed,  at least in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.  These companies would typically link the towns of a district, indeed, most larger pre-Grouping companies were made up of companies, created to link A to B.  Some remained independent, though, or were created later to fill a niche as it were.  There are more of these smaller companies than you might think, when you start to add them up.  And there were plenty of 'standard' mainline classes built for them by the likes of Beyer Peacock and Sharp Stewart, without the need to invent your own tradition of locomotive practice (fun, though that might also be). 

 

That is where my enthusiasm lies.   I think that there is a lot the SG modeller could learn from the approach, the attitude and the inventiveness of the NG community.

 

And, of course, every SG freelance line must have at least one freelance NG feeder line!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Edwardian
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If we go back 60 or more years, model railways were very often a OO roundy with a selection of trains and every accessory Tri-ang or Hornby Dublo sold. That was the common public perception of how they ought to look. In that respect, they were freelance, because it was often tough to tie what you saw down to any particular prototype. Pick up any UK model magazine today and you will struggle to find anything remotely comparable. 

 

I see SG Freelance as being rather harder work to make plausible than following a real SG prototype. While obscure industrial NG prototypes are only known to the cognoscenti, many of us think we have a good idea what a UK SG railway looked like in virtually any era, at least since photography discovered railways. So the freelancer has to have a convincing back-story and his own corporate identity for his model. Plumping for a real prototype is a lot easier.

 

NG is perceived as small and cuddly, and tends to be portrayed in the past, when such lines throve - if ever they did. Curves can be tight and thus friendly to modern houses - Cyril Freezer's Rabbit Warren layout plan from decades back was devised to illustrate how much OO9 railway you could get into a small space. 

 

Unfortunately, the handful of NG prototypes that survive, most of them in Wales, are extremely well-documented, so we have the issue of knowing exactly how each should look (I do not imply they are all the same!), much like UK SG, really. And even the L&B, gone more than 80 years, has substantial literature detailing almost every aspect.

 

So we arrive back at the plausibility point, but this time it is much easier to take cues from the real NG world, wrap them in a unique format, and come up with something that looks bijou in its own right. As has been said, the NG lines would use each others' stock and locos, so there is easier suspension of disbelief on that score. And as the trade cheerfully ramps up the available ranges, NG, much of it freelance, will enjoy a boom, I am sure. 

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If we go back 60 years of more ago we will find a sometimes tetchy Freelance v Prototype discussion in the model railway press of the day and we are living with the outcome of that discussion namely the headlong pursuit of prototype.   Thank goodness folk like PD Hancock stuck to their principles.

Malcolm

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10 minutes ago, dunwurken said:

If we go back 60 years of more ago we will find a sometimes tetchy Freelance v Prototype discussion in the model railway press of the day and we are living with the outcome of that discussion namely the headlong pursuit of prototype.   Thank goodness folk like PD Hancock stuck to their principles.

Malcolm

 

Not so long ago (and I wish I'd noted down where) I came across a condemnatory editorial from the late great Cyril Freezer objecting to too many people aping Ahern with whimsical freelance railways.  In his day the magazines had more freelance SG layouts in the sense of a made up railway  company between made up towns, even if most of the equipment was standard British Railways fare.  Few went to the lengths of the Rev. Beale. 

 

I'd like to think that, if I ever finish Castle Aching, it would persuade him otherwise as he looks down upon us from the Celestial Clubroom.

 

But NG almost has to be freelance in a way that SG doesn't for the simple reason that there is no NG national network. Yes, you can model a prototype NG line, or an imaginary extension thereof, but if you want create fresh territory by putting a railway in a town that never had one, or make up a town, you cannot imagine it as a line built by an existing company as you could in the case of SG. No, you are creating a standalone NG line, so by necessity, you need to create a company to run it.  

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Depends on the definition of "freelance"...

 

All my stock exists in Real Life (I can't see any point in trying to dream up some weird looking loco/pugbash when there's plenty of real weird looking locos!) but the layout, though based on a region of Central Europe, is not a model of any particular location... Why? Because it allows me to mix several different countries stock.

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On 16/05/2021 at 13:43, Edwardian said:

 

But NG almost has to be freelance in a way that SG doesn't for the simple reason that there is no NG national network. Yes, you can model a prototype NG line, or an imaginary extension thereof, but if you want create fresh territory by putting a railway in a town that never had one, or make up a town, you cannot imagine it as a line built by an existing company as you could in the case of SG. No, you are creating a standalone NG line, so by necessity, you need to create a company to run it.  

Oh for the French system whereby large corporations could gain concessions on a number of different lines. Also, manufacturers were churning out fairly standard locos on a large scale. Then, some standardisation might have happened and stock moved around from one line to another. Muche easier to create a fictitious, but authentic line. No chance of that here in the UK.

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On 16/05/2021 at 13:43, Edwardian said:

 

 

But NG almost has to be freelance in a way that SG doesn't for the simple reason that there is no NG national network. Yes, you can model a prototype NG line, or an imaginary extension thereof, but if you want create fresh territory by putting a railway in a town that never had one, or make up a town, you cannot imagine it as a line built by an existing company as you could in the case of SG. No, you are creating a standalone NG line, so by necessity, you need to create a company to run it.  

 

 

This is half of the critical point.

 

Building models of fictitious railways is very common amongst standard gauge modellers in all scales. It's just that creating a fictitious railway company to operate a part 9of the national networkis very difficult. Mainline companies built their own locomotives and rolling stock to their own design. It is a huge task for anyone who isn't a professional railway engineer to do that credibly. So the normal approach is to model a fictional line operated by your favourite real companty

 

The two areas where freelance standard gauge modelling does happen, of course , are minor light railways and industrial railways. It's not an accident that the two critical conditions in standard gauge modelling don't apply here - minor light railways were not operated by big national combines , so each line had it's own company and if you create a fictional light railway, you create a fictional railway company to run it. Secondly these lines were too small to design and build their own stock - they bought in , either second hand from mainline companies , or new from the major builders. Therefore you don't have to design fictional rolling stock - you simply assemble a collection of models of suitable prototypes to operate your line. (Something similar applies to trams - invent your own town and equip the system with cars from the recognised tramcar builders. )

 

I think I'm correct in saying that the Cambrian was the only pre-grouping railway to build and operate narrow gauge lines as well as standard gauge (VoR and W&L) . The Southern acquired the L&B, the LMS got the Leek & Manifold, and the GWR acquired the ex Cambrian lines plus the Corris - but otherwise narrow gauge companies were small independent stand-lone companies that only operated one line. Hence if you want a fictitious narrow -gauge line you invent a company to operate it and summon up a motley assortment of available models to operate it.

 

There is prototype narrow gauge modelling . The list of subjects commonly chosen is instructive: IoMR , CDRJC, other Irish 3' lines (often as a fictional line operated by CIE using cast-offs from actual Irish NG lines), the Southwold, the Lynton and Barnstaple, the Festiniog, and also the War Dept 2' gauge lines behind the Western Front in WW1. These are all based on the largest heaviest NG systems , and quite often they are fictional locations operated by a prototypical company with it's real rolling stock , just like standard gauge modellers. (Think County Gate, or every WW1 narrow gauge layout I've seen, or Hugh Dougherty's CDR layouts)

 

In the US most railroads buy their locos from the main manufacturers' catalogues, wagons (sorry cars) work through , and you can do a freelance railroad simply by reliverying common RTR models. That simply won't work in a British context

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5 minutes ago, Ravenser said:

 

 

This is half of the critical point.

 

Building models of fictitious railways is very common amongst standard gauge modellers in all scales. It's just that creating a fictitious railway company to operate a part 9of the national networkis very difficult. Mainline companies built their own locomotives and rolling stock to their own design. It is a huge task for anyone who isn't a professional railway engineer to do that credibly. So the normal approach is to model a fictional line operated by your favourite real companty

 

The two areas where freelance standard gauge modelling does happen, of course , are minor light railways and industrial railways. It's not an accident that the two critical conditions in standard gauge modelling don't apply here - minor light railways were not operated by big national combines , so each line had it's own company and if you create a fictional light railway, you create a fictional railway company to run it. Secondly these lines were too small to design and build their own stock - they bought in , either second hand from mainline companies , or new from the major builders. Therefore you don't have to design fictional rolling stock - you simply assemble a collection of models of suitable prototypes to operate your line. (Something similar applies to trams - invent your own town and equip the system with cars from the recognised tramcar builders. )

 

I think I'm correct in saying that the Cambrian was the only pre-grouping railway to build and operate narrow gauge lines as well as standard gauge (VoR and W&L) . The Southern acquired the L&B, the LMS got the Leek & Manifold, and the GWR acquired the ex Cambrian lines plus the Corris - but otherwise narrow gauge companies were small independent stand-lone companies that only operated one line. Hence if you want a fictitious narrow -gauge line you invent a company to operate it and summon up a motley assortment of available models to operate it.

 

There is prototype narrow gauge modelling . The list of subjects commonly chosen is instructive: IoMR , CDRJC, other Irish 3' lines (often as a fictional line operated by CIE using cast-offs from actual Irish NG lines), the Southwold, the Lynton and Barnstaple, the Festiniog, and also the War Dept 2' gauge lines behind the Western Front in WW1. These are all based on the largest heaviest NG systems , and quite often they are fictional locations operated by a prototypical company with it's real rolling stock , just like standard gauge modellers. (Think County Gate, or every WW1 narrow gauge layout I've seen, or Hugh Dougherty's CDR layouts)

 

In the US most railroads buy their locos from the main manufacturers' catalogues, wagons (sorry cars) work through , and you can do a freelance railroad simply by reliverying common RTR models. That simply won't work in a British context

 

I may have already made the other half of the point ....!

 

 

There were, however and as I say, a bracket of SG companies built to mainline, not LR or tramway standards, but too small to build all, or sometimes any, of their own locomotives.  Think of the Cambrian and the Furness, both heavily dependent on standard designs by Sharp Stewart (in the case of at least three classes, the same standard designs). Others used other private builders, notably Beyer Peacock, including e.g. M&SWJ, Lynn & Fakenham, E&WJR/S&MJR.  My line could be understood as equivalent to what the Eastern & Midland and Lynn & Fakenham amalgamation could have been had it not become the joint line of two large mainline companies; one could see the beginnings of 'standard classes' including Beyer 4-4-0s before the joint line led to the MR taking responsibility for motive power.  

 

So, there is scope for a minor regional SG company without having to invent the house styles of 2-3 locomotive superintendents. Almost no one seems to have gone this route in recent years, that I have seen, instead preferring industrial and LR lines that also used private built designs that would have been widely available. If I do manage to realise it, my freelance SG line in some ways will have a lot more in common with many NG freelance systems than with most SG subjects. As I say, the imagination and inventiveness of the NG modeller is a great source of inspiration.  Mention was made of Mr Polet's system; surely one of the layouts that best carries forward traditions established by the likes of Ahern (SG) and PD (NG).

 

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Standardisation was just as common in NG than it was in SG, look at Saxony, Poland, Austria, Hungary and Russia. Even in the UK many NG railways used standard products from the manufacturers sometimes modified to suit. The big difference was the various different gauges, especially in industrial settings,  less common on mainland Europe except in industrial settings. Also that UK NG lines tended to be individual lines not connected with any other lines so had more of an individual identity. 

 

@Ravenser I'm not sure the Cambrian actually built any NG railways, they certainly operated some, best known being the Welshpool and Vale of Rheidol, but they didn't actually build those two. 

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1 hour ago, Edwardian said:

 

I may have already made the other half of the point ....!

 

 

There were, however and as I say, a bracket of SG companies built to mainline, not LR or tramway standards, but too small to build all, or sometimes any, of their own locomotives.  Think of the Cambrian and the Furness, both heavily dependent on standard designs by Sharp Stewart (in the case of at least three classes, the same standard designs). Others used other private builders, notably Beyer Peacock, including e.g. M&SWJ, Lynn & Fakenham, E&WJR/S&MJR.  My line could be understood as equivalent to what the Eastern & Midland and Lynn & Fakenham amalgamation could have been had it not become the joint line of two large mainline companies; one could see the beginnings of 'standard classes' including Beyer 4-4-0s before the joint line led to the MR taking responsibility for motive power.  

 

So, there is scope for a minor regional SG company without having to invent the house styles of 2-3 locomotive superintendents. Almost no one seems to have gone this route in recent years, that I have seen, instead preferring industrial and LR lines that also used private built designs that would have been widely available. If I do manage to realise it, my freelance SG line in some ways will have a lot more in common with many NG freelance systems than with most SG subjects. As I say, the imagination and inventiveness of the NG modeller is a great source of inspiration.  Mention was made of Mr Polet's system; surely one of the layouts that best carries forward traditions established by the likes of Ahern (SG) and PD (NG).

 

 

If you are leaning towards Beyer Peacock, it is worth looking up another very large customer of theirs , the New South Wales Govt Railways, whose locomotive design team seem to have been located in the suburbs of Manchester rather than the suburbs of Sydney until about 1910. The MSWJR 2-6-0s were - until the GWR got hold of them - a trio of entirely Antipodean NSWGR moguls , some of which survived into the 1960s Down Under (There were also very similar classes from Dubs and Neilson). Clearly the MSWJR were thumbing through a builder's  catalogue when they bought them.

 

A batch of Beyer Peacock derived "Standard Goods" 2-8-0s  being built for the NSWGR were commandeered by the ROD in 1914 and ended up with the Belgian Railways, Sydney recieved a decent sized batch of IoWCR Beyer Peacock 2-4-0Ts, and the late 19th century NSWGR had several classes of 4-4-0 whose lineage from the Met 4-4-0Ts is rather obvious. If your line can run to something as big as a small-wheeled 4-6-0 the NSWGR C32 class (a Beyer Peacock design of 1892) might suit you nicely...

 

57 minutes ago, Hobby said:

 

@Ravenser I'm not sure the Cambrian actually built any NG railways, they certainly operated some, best known being the Welshpool and Vale of Rheidol, but they didn't actually build those two. 

 

The Cambrian was responsible for both the W+L 0-6-0Ts and the VoR 2-6-2Ts as far as I'm aware, so they did actually design NG stock

 

It's interesting to speculate what might have happened if the Furness had similarly become responsible for a 3' mineral line in Cumbria (although they showed no interest whatsoewver in the R&ER) or the NBR for some narrow gauge line in the Highlands or connecting with the Waverley Route

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6 hours ago, Ravenser said:

 

If you are leaning towards Beyer Peacock, it is worth looking up another very large customer of theirs , the New South Wales Govt Railways, whose locomotive design team seem to have been located in the suburbs of Manchester rather than the suburbs of Sydney until about 1910. The MSWJR 2-6-0s were - until the GWR got hold of them - a trio of entirely Antipodean NSWGR moguls , some of which survived into the 1960s Down Under (There were also very similar classes from Dubs and Neilson). Clearly the MSWJR were thumbing through a builder's  catalogue when they bought them.

 

A batch of Beyer Peacock derived "Standard Goods" 2-8-0s  being built for the NSWGR were commandeered by the ROD in 1914 and ended up with the Belgian Railways, Sydney recieved a decent sized batch of IoWCR Beyer Peacock 2-4-0Ts, and the late 19th century NSWGR had several classes of 4-4-0 whose lineage from the Met 4-4-0Ts is rather obvious. If your line can run to something as big as a small-wheeled 4-6-0 the NSWGR C32 class (a Beyer Peacock design of 1892) might suit you nicely...

 

 

 

 

Indeed, and Beyer standard designs found their way to larger companies, providing both the LSW's Ilfracombe Goods and the numerous Irish J15/101 Class, both 0-6-0 types.  You mention the Antipodes; the Victorian Railways were another company that bought a lot of Beyer Peacock 'mainline' locomotives.

 

Dutch state railways were another great customer of Sharp Stewarts. You mention Dubs, which supplied the M&SWJR; Vulcan Foundry is another potential supplier to the 'mainline' SG freelancer. As well as SG versions of Irish gauge locos, another source would be SG versions of types supplied to the Indian 5'6'' system.

 

All mainline types that could take the SG modeller beyond minor/LR SG lines ... if he chose ... without him having to become his own CME.

 

But, apologies - I have strayed too far from NG in arguing that the the SG modeller has just as much scope for freelancing as the NG modeller.  What is different is that the SG modeller is not put to the necessity of freelancing to the same extent as the NG modeller, and any ways seems to prefer to model real railway companies to imagined ones, even if more often than not in fictional or fictionalised settings.  

 

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9 hours ago, Ravenser said:

The Cambrian was responsible for both the W+L 0-6-0Ts and the VoR 2-6-2Ts as far as I'm aware, so they did actually design NG stock

 

Not according to the Glynn Williams book on the Welshpool they weren't, the initial input was from Calthrop (sp?) and then they consulted with Mr Jones from the Cambrian's loco department, he recommended a six coupled loco which was what was built, but the design was B-Ps, the Cambrian were not involved in design or build.

 

Re the VofR the original locos were built for the line and the Cambrian only came into ownership ten years after it was built. The current steam fleet, 7, 8 & 9, seem to be attributed to the GWR, but perhaps copied from the original two? I don't admit to any expertise on the VofR, wrong gauge, the info coming from Wiki!

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Vale_of_Rheidol_Railway_rolling_stock

 

Sorry for the drift.

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Interesting debate. As has been touched on already, I think the many SG British modellers probably model fictional locations but the majority tend to follow the practices of a particular real company or region. Some NG modellers do model actual railways, and many of them do it extremely well. Given that the majority of NG railways, in Britain anyway, were quite small affairs its not surprising that that there are plenty of  'what if' layouts based on extensions to the real lines and even more 'freelance' layouts that take a particular type of NG railway as inspiration. I'm  certainly guilty of the latter. My 009 layout Ryedown Lane is inspired by various common carrier light railways (mainly NG but with some SG influence too), mainly those associated with Colonel Stephens. 

 

IMG_20200418_115442

 

When I started out in 009 I didn't want to model a Welsh slate carrier. I have nothing against such railways (I'm a Ffestiniog member and supporter, love the Tallyllyn and can happily spend hours searching out the remains of the slate industry), I just wanted to model something different. If anything the strongest influences are the Welshpool & Llanfair and the Rye & Camber Tramway but with a nod to Stephens SG lines like the Selsey Tramway and the KESR.

 

 

DSCN1741 (2)

 

I did seriously consider basing the original part of the layout, the terminus at Ryedown Lane, on Rye but the operational potential was a bit limited so went down the freelance route but sticking as much as possible to a plausible back story with  rolling stock more akin to a larger 2ft 6 or some of the smaller 3ft gauge lines.

 

DSCN4397

 

The majority of the rolling stock is kit built or bashed, based on real stock from a variety of lines, mostly but not all connected with Stephens.

Of course, some NG modellers do go off on real flights of fancy with freelance locomotives and rolling stock, although I can think of several who have done it so well that you would need some very specialised knowledge to know that they aren't models of things that did once exist.

 

One of my other interests is standard gauge light railways for which I would apply the same argument. One could, and many people do, build very fine models of  real light railways but there's nothing wrong with taking this genre of railway as inspiration for a fictional light railway. Would this be any less serious a form of our hobby than modelling a fictional  big four branch line?

 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, PatC said:

Interesting debate. As has been touched on already, I think the many SG British modellers probably model fictional locations but the majority tend to follow the practices of a particular real company or region.

 

I'd agree with that, in fact it describes what I do except abroad rather than UK based! Judging by most of the 009 layouts I see at exhibitions and the stock they use I'd also suggest they are based on "Common Carriers" rather than industry specific as well.

 

What stock you run also depends on the era you choose, if your layout is based in the distant past then the amount of stock you will have can be very limited, most NG lines only had two or three locos for a start, often more over the age of the railway as locos wore out and were replaced but at any one particular moment in time very few were running. Obviously the way round that is to model Preservation Era where much larger fleets are available, in fact I'd suggest that most 009 layouts tend to be more representative of that era even though some purport to be as a line was 100 years ago!

Edited by Hobby
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Interesting points about NG vs SG freelancing. I think part of it is that, for most people, SG light railways and pre-grouping are actually more niche than NG. It’s also been easier to get stock representing existing companies in RTR or kit form for SG prototypes. The point about SG lines having to fit into the overall network to a larger extent is also valid, though I think this applies also to NG in a different way. If you want to model a freelance LMS station (for example), the LMS covered a vast area, so you just look up either a real village with no railway, or an area where a fictional village might fit in and build your line there. For the Ffestiniog, the overall network is much smaller (even if including the Ffestiniog and Blaenau, Welsh Highland etc.) so it becomes harder to squeeze a fictional station into the network. So people don’t, they create an imaginary line a bit like the Ffestiniog and put their station on that. A further factor is that relatively few NG common carrier or passenger stations are available as prototypes, and some have already been modelled well by others. So if you don’t want to simply reproduce somebody else’s work, where do you go from there?

 

Personally I don’t really go in for common carrier lines and have instead largely focused on industrial NG prototypes. Two of these layouts stand out as slightly unusual examples of the divide between freelance and prototypical. The first was my first ever 009 layout, which was based on the line at Hurst Castle in Hampshire. There were various detail differences, track plan compromises etc., but more significantly the castle building itself was in a vastly different style (due to the materials I had available and found it convenient to use), and the prototype was not only hauled by donkeys but also 18 inch gauge. It wouldn’t have been particularly practical for me to go up to 09 or down to 006.5 so I used 009, representing a similar but fictional (and loco-hauled) location. A motley collection of stock was run - some freelance, some based on the actual wagons used at Hurst Castle, and some based on other military 2ft and 2’ 6” gauge prototypes seen nearby.

 

The second is a watercress bed line that I built, which operates on an automatic shuttle system. Though built in a box file, it is more accurately a moving diorama than a micro layout due to the limited operational interest. This is actually based very closely on a specific, local, but real prototype in North Hertfordshire, unknown to most people outside the area. Again, on the model loco haulage replaces hand-working, there are some obvious detail differences and it had to be slightly altered to suit the available space, but compared to the castle layout I did a much better job of capturing the look and feel of the original. I probably could have got away with it because the prototype is so obscure, but again I felt it was better to claim that this is a similar location inspired by the real one.

 

I’ve also built a couple of quarry layouts, not inspired by anywhere in particular but incorporating various (hopefully) realistic details from real locations. There were loads of sand, gravel and stone extraction lines, all using extremely similar equipment (usually 2ft gauge Simplex and other diesels with V skips, often being transferred to another similar site when the original workings were worked out). In theory they weren’t necessarily very diverse or even very interesting, but some sites had more quirky features as well and it can be very easy to model a fictional, but completely realistic line of this type in a very plausible way.

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Can I thank everyone who has contributed so far to this thread. All of your comments and views have been very interesting to read. 

In my own layout building up to now I have fallen in to the catagory of real stock fake place. Having always made sure the stock was real I never really worried about the layout it ran on. I always looked a real places as something to aspire to if and when I had the space and time. I can't say to much about the project as it is very much in the planning stage. But I hope to produce something that might give those of us who would like to produce a real prototype some hope of doing it convincing in a small space.

Marc

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14 hours ago, MarcD said:

Can I thank everyone who has contributed so far to this thread. All of your comments and views have been very interesting to read. 

In my own layout building up to now I have fallen in to the catagory of real stock fake place. Having always made sure the stock was real I never really worried about the layout it ran on. I always looked a real places as something to aspire to if and when I had the space and time. I can't say to much about the project as it is very much in the planning stage. But I hope to produce something that might give those of us who would like to produce a real prototype some hope of doing it convincing in a small space.

Marc

 

That post brings your original question into focus for me; the advent of RTR 009 equipment is starting to place the 4mm NG in a similar position to the SG modeller, who typically opts for prototype company's equipment in a fictional or fictionalised location. 

 

Previously, if having to build kits (of prototypes or 'in-the-style-of' a particular loco manufacturer), you might as well finish your NG stock in a freelance livery to fit with your fictional setting. Now we are presented RTR with a specific loco or coach in its historic livery, but we don't necessarily want to recreate the historic setting to match. 

 

There is some flexibility 'baked in' to RTR 009, for instance ex-WD stock could end up anywhere in theory and Peco have produced 'generic' liveries for their 009 rolling stock.  

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Therein lies the conundrum... Initially most British NG had locos unique to their line, only after WW1 when war surplus locos became available did the "same" loco appear on several different lines...

 

Then there's the gauge issue... ;)

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I'm surprised no-one has brought the gauge issue up before. I was expecting this to be one of the major factors in the discussion. 

Marc

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33 minutes ago, MarcD said:

I'm surprised no-one has brought the gauge issue up before. I was expecting this to be one of the major factors in the discussion. 

Marc


I think gauge plays out in different ways:  locomotives and rolling stock could get regauged (within reason) when moving from one railway to another - as an aside here’s a link to a photo of a brand new prototype Narrow Gauge diesel nearing completion, but currently fitted with standard gauge trucks to move around the works!
 

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Staying with American practice, some Narrow Gauge lines interconnecting with big railroads would swap the trucks under freight cars for each onward journey - seems a hassle but with longer distances to cover and more generous loading gauges, it was less inconvenient than transferring everything (the US isn’t the only place this happened of course).

 

In model terms, I mentioned previously John Ahern’s Madder Valley, which I think essentially rescaled models to fit the gauge of his layout (as I also mentioned, I’ve not been to Pendon and seen the model - others will know more).
 

I’ve been looking at Bemo European models, which are made with wheel sets that can be set to run on either H0m or H0e track - models built to a consistent 3.5mm scale, but flexible for gauging.

 

The example list could go on - the popular and well made MinitrainS r-t-r range has a consistent 9mm gauge, but can be flexible on scale at times by all accounts.

 

What it all boils down to, I suggest, is that the “NG mindset” we’re discussing perhaps takes the more relaxed view of gauge that NG prototypes often applied too. And after thirty years collecting OO models that’s got to be fine by me anyway :).

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