Artists in Miniature Landscape

(What you can expect for a budget of between 1,500 and 5,000)


If you've never built a model railway before. . .


indentIf you have never built a model railway before and you reckon all it involves is buying a train set and pinning it down to a baseboard, then just think about it for a minute...

indentCommercial toy trainsets are simply designed to allow you to buy a product that moves.v Commercial designs for larger train sets are created to allow them to sell you as much of their product as they can within the smallest possible space. v This has led to the general belief that "the more track the better".v Not true.

Fact.v Toy trains run round and round in circles. v That's all.v Sidings are so you can swap one train for another when you get bored.v Sooner or later you will get bored with that too - what then, more sidings for more trains?
Fact.v Real trains carry something from "A" to "B".v Unless you can reproduce that you (or your children), will soon get bored with your "trainset".v Allowing us to design and build you a model railway that has a purpose is the only good reason for employing us.v Remember also that if you buy something built for a purpose you will need to learn how to use it.   (Of course, nobody says you can't just "play" with it as well!)v We can teach you how real railways work - if you are willing to learn.v (If you only want to play trains then perhaps you should go elsewhere...)
indent(If you really just want a basic trainset on a board, pick up a copy of the "Railway Modeller" from your local newsagent and search for model railway builders in the adverts.v You might get lucky....)

indentHow do you make a model railway with purpose?v You find some way of taking goods or people from "A" to "B".v At its simplest this involves hiding part of the track "offstage" and modelling only the "on-stage" part.v Then you add a single siding to the "on-stage" part and that's all you need.
indent"You mean you make a circle of track and put one siding on it.  Then you hide part of the circle?  How does that make it any different?"v Simple.v You assemble a goods train of (say) 6 wagons on the "off-stage" bit and return to the controls at the front.v You are now "Chief Shunter" at your station and the goods is due.  Then you bring the train round and place each of the six wagons at the right place in the siding.v (For example; a cattle wagon by a cattle dock, a box van by a goods shed, a "Joe Bloggs, Coal Merchant" wagon by his coal staithes and a "Fred Smith" coal wagon by his coal staithes.v You may have a load of sand or gravel which can be left anywhere with road access or a milk tank which needs spotting by a loading dock so that the arriving lorry is higher up.v You may have a vehicle on a transporter which needs an "end loading dock" at the end of the siding or - and more likely - a high loading bank for tipping stone delivered by road from a local quarry.v This will need empty wagons on the incoming train and you can 'pre-load' a few full ones to take away.v I could go on for ages with lots more options but that's all part of the "learning process".v I expect that by now you have got the general idea anyway.)
indentSimply shunting these 6 wagons into their correct place in the siding will provide some entertainment with purpose because these are the goods "arriving at their destination".  In other words, this is "an event"; something you can get involved with.  Swapping 6 arriving wagons for 6 more ready for departure will naturally provide a lot more entertainment since it involves more shunting and more thought; but not more track!
indentHaving done that (not forgetting to replace the guard's van at the rear) the train returns to the "offstage" section.v Then you replace the wagons with a passenger train and run that.v In steam days, a local train may have had what was called "tail traffic".v That might be a cattle wagon or a horsebox and that might need putting in the siding by the cattle dock.v (Perhaps the goods train brought an empty one earlier for loading.)v Need I go on?  (If you want to know how real railways worked, buy a few books!  See a suitble link or our "links" page!)

indentWithout spending another penny you could then make this single siding more interesting by assuming there were several stations on your "branch line" and that each time the train did a lap it arrived at a different station.v You might then have 2 wagons for the first station, 1 for the next, nothing for the next station (but have to pick 1 up), and 3 more for the last before leaving to go to the "Junction" at the end of the line.v Assuming you had 6 other wagons to collect at specific "stations" along the route you would need to move some wagons out of the way to deliver and collect the wagons you are dealing with at that station on that "circuit".v This makes it all the more complicated but none the less fun since you have to think about it and "plan ahead".v By adopting such methods even a plain loop of track with one single siding can provide shunting entertainment for an hour or more.v I think that's excellent value for money, especially when you realise that all I make is the "stage" - you provide the actors (the trains) and with different "actors" you can ring the changes all the more!v Sounds like fun to me!

indentIt should be apparent from the foregoing that modern (post Beeching), railways are not really suitable for this kind of model.v This is because the old type of goods train was deemed "uneconomic" and by 1970 most goods trains were "block trains" which were not shunted like the old ones.v Whilst it is not impossible to create a modern model using a single siding they are both rare and unimpressive since they lack the essential "charm" of the steam railway.v Also, since in steam days the local goods train called at small village stations all over the country it is possible to create a period steam line in a wide variety of locations many of which will not require fancy (and therefore expensive), scenery.v By using carefully chosen proprietary items or simple kits, the necessary buildings can be fitted in a few hours thus keeping the price down.

indentI hope by now you are beginning to realise that a significant part of a proper model railway is creating the illusion that what you are doing actually has a purpose.I This illusion is best created by making realistic scenery for the trains to run through so that the imagination has a "setting" (rather like a stage set, if you will), within which the actual operation of the railway can take place.v This can be simple to make (for example a moorland or seaside scene) and yet still be effective if it is done with skill.

These skills are what we offer.v Can we use them on your behalf?


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