Thursday 28 May 2009

Another fantastic layout

It would be remiss of me not to mention another fantastic layout I really admire. That layout is the US prototype layout of Gerry Hopkins - the Great Northern (Great Falls Division). Gerry Hopkins is a NMRA Master Modeller and he is also one of the key drivers behind the NMRA Australasian Region. I always take a great deal of inspiration from this layout, which is why I want to flag Gerry's layout as one of my favourites.

I mention it now despite the fact that Gerry doesn't write a model railway blog (to the best of my knowledge) and my last post specifically referred to Blogger bloggers. Having visited Gerry's layout three or four times over the past few years as part of a NMRA monthly layout tour, I am always impressed by the operational and scenic effect of the layout. I also love the track plan. You can tell I am a big fan of interesting track plans that have a strong preference for prototypical operations.

I will, no doubt, mention and discuss a range of layouts that have had an impact on me in some shape or form over the years. Moreover, I am always looking for new things and working through ideas on layouts I see for the first time, or ones that I have even seen before. And of course, there are those layouts I have only heard about through friends, or seen via model railway magazines and the internet.

And speaking of model railway magazines, I have three that have hit my reading shelf in the past week to finish off reading. Something for the next blog post...

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Blogger layouts I follow

One of the interesting dimensions of blogging using Blogger is the connections with other Blogger bloggers of similar interests - in ths case, railway modellers. I realise that this is the community or social media aspect to the Blogger product. It is not as sophisticated as Vox nor as ubiquitous as Wordpress. But it still performs a connecting function to like-minded souls that I think I will like. But I digress.

I have decided to initially connect to two layouts featured on Blogger/Blogspot. They are South Coast Rail (SCR) and Bylong.

I have visited South Coast Rail many times and really admire the way in which the layout's operational and design elements have come together. Partly this is due to the track plan, and partly because of the thinking behind the layout's reason-for-being. I often invited myself over just to see the progress on the layout and see some new building or scenery under construction.

The second connection I have made is to Ray Pilgrim's Bylong. I first saw Bylong at the Sydney Model Railway Exhibition in the late 1970s. I recall a NSWGR 26 class saddle tank in action at the time. I was impressed back then by the layout and equally impressed when I read about the layout in an issue of AMRM. I would love to see another article in AMRM about Bylong, especially the emphasis on operations.

Since that time I have followed the progress of Bylong via third parties and the odd conversation at a Petersham Convention or model rail exhibition. I doubt that Ray would know me, although I know a little about Ray and his rock n' roll!

The common feature of both layouts are quality production and operations - and they are the critical points of interest for me too.

Monday 25 May 2009

In the beginning

In the beginning something starts. And so it is with this blog about my thoughts, discussions, observations, and actual application of thinking to model railways. Unlike some other blogs about model railways, this blog is more than just a diary of a model railway layout.

Yet I do have a model railway layout. The layout is based on the New South Wales Government Railways (NSWGR) and subsequent permutations of that railway system. The layout is based on a fictitious town called Winmar located just north of Albury in New South Wales on the single track Main South line. The layout is operational (i.e. the electrics work and I can run a train) but there is no scenery, and no buildings have yet been erected. The layout is 16' x 8' (or roughly 5m x 2.5m) on a single baseboard with an operating well in the middle. The main technical feature of the layout is a moving traverser for a fiddle yard, capable of holding 12 individual trains 6' (2 metres) in length. The actual railway era varies, from 1965 to 2000, ensuring considerable flexibility towards locomotives and rolling stock in keeping with my broad range of interest.

So much for the explanation about the railway layout at this stage.

Now, the intention of this blog is to let loose the ramblings of an experienced (over twenty-five years) armchair modeller with plenty more to do to get where I want to be.

And so, as I say, I am at the start...of this blog...with more to discuss and think about in the future.