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As a child and young lad I was never interested in railways. I know, shocking isn't it?


But I do remember visiting relatives in Wales and a trip to Cardigan. There was some sort of local event and in this big 19thC building by the river was something that fascinated me at the time, and it just happened to have a railway on it. It was a model of Cardigan not long after the terminus had been built, along with boats on the river, horse-drawn carriages and tiny people. As a model I thought it looked fantastic.


Fast forward about 30 years and cue my new son, who seemed to have a keen interest in Thomas, like every boy I know. This triggered me into making him a train set to play with. After a bit of planning, joining this forum and building a little oval it became quite clear that he's not interested in model railways after all. But something had sparked an interest in me.


Trying to think of what to build was tricky - there were so many options and I got a bit stuck after playing with many ideas and alternatives. Until I remembered that trip to Cardigan all those years ago, and the impact it had on me at the time. I finally had a goal.


The trouble was, all of the locos, coaches and most of the wagons were not available to buy. There was no alternative but to make my own; but how? With the help of members of this wonderful forum I learned how to research my subject and, eventually, design an etch of one of the three locos used on the line, with one or two mistakes thrown in for good measure. The timing of this competition was perfect to give me the impetus to transfer my ideas on my computer into a real tangible thing. You can read about that process from the start in the competition thread here.


In the past I have suffered from temporary fluid on my retina and hadn't thought that it had left any lasting effects. Unfortunately I was wrong. During the course of this competition my eyesight got steadily worse, which prompted a visit to the doctor and then a referral to an eye hospital. The news wasn't good so, with the deepest regret, I decided to stop the project where it stood.


The news wasn't all bad; I had learnt a huge amount about model railways, proper research, and eventually designing my first etch. It's not perfect but it suited my goals for this exercise and it was a great experience. Plus, this eventually moved my scale into 7mm and building my first brass kits (progress below). I'd like to thank Andy for the idea, and everyone that offered advice, tips and critique. For me, this competition was never about winning anything. My prize is my new hobby. Thank you RMWeb, Steve.



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