Artists in Miniature Landscape

(What you can expect for a budget of between 5,000 and 20,000)


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


If you have never built a model railway before and you think all it involves is buying some track and pinning it down to a baseboard, then just think about it for a minute...

There is a general belief in some circles that "the more track the better".  Not true.
Fact.  Toy trains run round and round in circles.   That's all.  Sidings are so you can swap one train for another when you get bored.  Sooner or later you will get bored with that too - what then, more sidings for more trains, and then more trains and more sidings, and more still?
Fact.  Real trains carry something from "A" to "B".  Unless you can reproduce that you will soon get bored with your "trainset".  Allowing us to design and build you a model railway that has a purpose is one of the best reasons for employing us.  The fact that we also have the skills to make it look realistic is helpful but if the model does not reflect the way real railways were used then it can never be satisfying to use.  Even automatic layouts (for example, for public exhibition use or for some other kind of display), should reflect reality if they are to be convincing as models.

indent Remember also that if you buy something built for a purpose you will need to learn how to use it.  We can teach you how real railways work - if you are willing to learn.  Of course, just because you've bought a "proper model railway" nobody says you can't just "play" with it as well when you want to!

How do you make a model railway with purpose?   You find some way of taking goods or people from "A" to "B".  At its simplest this involves hiding part of the track "offstage" and modelling only the "on-stage" part.  First you arrange a representative selection of trains in the hidden part.  This represents the "rest" of the railway system.  Then you bring them on one at a time and operate them on the "on-stage" part so representing part (or on smaller layouts, all), of the actual "Working Time Table".  That's all there is to it.  (What's a Working Time Table?)

"Supposing I want scenery throughout the layout, like the ones in your Gallery?"
Then we put the hidden sidings underneath the scenery, just as we did on Tupdale and Westbury.  This certainly makes it more difficult to clean the tracks but there are ways and means of combatting rail dirt.  It can - for a price - be eliminated more or less entirely.  We know; we've done it.

"What else does a "model railway" involve - as opposed to a "toy train set"?
It's an "attitude" thing.  With a trainset you buy whatever trains you like, put them on the track and watch them go round; and round; and round...  With a model railway you buy the right trains, put them in your hidden sidings, bring them out in the right order and run a service.  Of course you will have preferences - that's what our questionnaire is all about - but even if you don't we are here to help with appropriate suggestions.  Again; there's no reason you cannot buy anything you like and put it on the track - it will be your railway!  The point is that with a proper model railway you can both "play trains" (which is fun) and run a real railway (which is satisfying) !

v Need I go on?  (If so, buy a few model railway magazines from Smiths and see how others do it!)

One final thing about this price range - Location.

indentModel railways at this price are generally quite large things.   They are often best fitted into a spare bedroom for two excellent reasons; a) rooms in the house are warm and b) they are easily accesible at any time - which means you will get to use it more often! 
indentOther options are the loft or garage but there can be problems with these; the loft is often difficult to get at - which can severely hamper the size of baseboard which can be got into it - and, unless an expensive conversion is done first it is often too cold in winter and too hot in summer.  Sloping roofs can also be a problem since the more comfortable the layout height, the less space you have!   Garages have the same problems (normally!) with the added disadvantage that they are usually far less secure than a room in the house.  Worth considering if you are spending this kind of money, don't you think?  (And before you ask, yes; specialist insurance is available from one or two companies.)

This experience and these skills are what we offer.v Can we use them on your behalf?


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