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Narrow Gauge Themes
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 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 02:52 am
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titus
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The hardest part is picking one.

No, really. Does anyone else have this problem? I come up with a neat theme, sometimes inspired by a prototype, sometimes inspired by a place. I spend a few weeks developing out how this theme might work. What's it's purpose? What freight does it move? What does it feel like?

And then I see something else cool and the cycle starts over. There are just waaaay too many choices.

How have YOU decided what narrow gauge theme to settle on and actually build for?

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 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 02:10 pm
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Herb Kephart
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If I were to start over, and go into narrow gage, I would build Maine 2'-- or else 2'
industrial / mining--but that is restrictive on the type of rolling stock. (and locos also).

At the rate I move, I will begin the transition when


Herb 



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 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 02:23 pm
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titus
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Speaking of industrial 2' in northeastern US, one of the theme ideas I had was a layout set on a place like Gould Island off of Rhode Island. It would be a small, dinky 2' gauge line that would service that island, maybe picking up stuff at a small wharf, bringing it inland, then bringing something back out to the dock (perhaps some kind of natural resource being harvested there).

There was actually a small industrial line on that island that serviced a Torpedo Testing station for the first and second world wars. Some pictures to get an idea:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/borahorza/sets/72157626715080505/with/5789628292/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/theviewfromthenorth/sets/72157615721475934/with/3373051682/

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 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 03:44 pm
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bobh
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i understand what you're going through completely.  One advantage that you have is that you live in Colorado and can view first hand things you want to model.  I live in the east so most of my info comes via the internet/books/etc.

Since the D&RGW served several different clients you can have a fair mix of industries to choose from.  One thing to remember is that you CAN"T MODEL EVERYTHING" you want. 

Deciding on a mix of scenery, realistic operation etc and be happy with that is as best as one can do.  A tonic for that is to make what ever you do...gooder!  By narrowing your choices you have more time to devote to what those choices are. 

Most importantly, relaxe and enjoy yourself!

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 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 04:26 pm
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Traingeekboy
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Titus, I think everyone has that issue. I think the only way to get past it is to build something, anything. It's very easy to develop a bad case of plan-itis.

It's also easy to look at magazines and go gee I wish I had a layout like that.

I have it worse because I honestly like all trains: standard gauge and narrow gauge; european and US; name the scale I've run some trains in it.

From what I see most guys on here mix up their themes a bit. So although they may have a perfect model of a steam engine exactly the way the prototype was, they may also be running a train from some place thousands of miles away right next to it.

A while back I got pinned on the idea of modeling the Gilpin Tramway. Well that was ok until I realized I wanted more than two dozen ore cars and a coach for rolling stock. (yeah they had more stuff I know but it was very limited.)

Right now i'm in my european HO phase. It's just part of my cycle of train obsessiveness. (The last one was 1970's standard gauge in N scale; before that I was checking out narrow gauge stuff. ARGH!!!) But I run what I have which is a weird mix of stuff and I'm having a blast.

So what scale are you modeling in? Do you have any rolling stock and locos or are you still planning?



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 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 05:59 pm
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titus
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Traingeekboy --

I've started trying to come up with strategies to 1.) make deciding easier and 2.) to not pick a theme that is so locked in to doing just one thing (or at least picking a theme or style that allows for future deviation).

As an example, if I model a later period of a lesser used narrow gauge, then I can run really older equipment, and say it was purchased 3rd hand, or I can run newer stuff and say it was 2nd hand.

If the location of the layout is moved to outside the US and set later, say 1960-1990's, it could run used equipment from the US and still be plausible, but also could use diesels and such (ie. in Mexico and Cuba they still run steam engines).

Another strategy is that I'm thinking of having a view-blocking backdrop that cuts the layout in half. The train will cross this backdrop as a tunnel through a mountain and it lets me say, when the train goes through a mountain that represents travelling a long distance through mountains, and thus I can get away with a slightly different theme on the "other side of the mountains".

This view block could maybe be done a few times and still be plausible.

My last strategy is trying to select a geographic location that has a lot of geographic features. For example, picking something that is up against an ocean or major river means you can do the overall feel of that place PLUS a waterfront section.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 06:59 pm
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Traingeekboy
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I've seen some fine layouts that had a colorado narrow gauge terminal with loco facilities, a california logging area, a colorado mining area, and eastern dock scene. Actually that was one particular layout being done by some guy back in the 70's with HO track and I believe O scale everything else. hmmm... what a nut!

If you want to be a model railroader...
get some track, nail it to a board, run a train; POOF! you're a model railroader. :)



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 Posted: Fri Nov 18th, 2011 03:41 pm
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elminero67
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narrowing it down to a specific prototype/theme with an exact date is just too restrictive for most people. But, the model railroads that impressed me the most did have ONE overall theme that set a context for the railroad, like Maine, or even an imaginary location-as long as it creates the feeling of a place.

Most model railroads that Ive seen in MR or other magazines dont stress the feeling of place. This is particularly true of club layouts that try to cater to everyone, where you see long intermodel freight behind modern locomotives-passing through a false-front western cattle towns while the rear of the train is still going through Donner Pass-even though everything is well done, it just isnt a credible landscape because it tries to do too much.

 



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 Posted: Sat Nov 19th, 2011 09:52 am
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MillCreek
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You'll make yourself crazy trying to model prototype and get it right. I've spent over 30 years of my adult life modeling and for the first 20 years did exactly that. Building countless layouts only to tear them down because they did now suit my goal of a prototypical road. Then for what ever reason...one day I got the bug to model a logging and mining shortline and the fun factor of model railroading went up by a factor of 10. It took me a while to get away from trying too hard but once you get that mind set you will find that the possibilities become endless. Pick a general area, like West Virginia for example and an era and let it go at that. As was mentioned above, get the feel of an area and keep with an era and let the rest up to your imagination, budget and space restrictions and you'll end up with a very believable operation. Because on your railroad they could have purchased anything from anyone and whose is to say that someone on the east coast didn't get their hands on building plans for a west coast structure and put it up in North Carolina for example.

I spent years and tons of money trying to get it right but I'm having more fun now then I ever did back when I was building or trying to build the perfect replica of someone's existing operation. Who needs those strings of 50 hoppers anyway?

Relax and have some fun.

Al



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 Posted: Sat Nov 19th, 2011 11:06 pm
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W C Greene
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Well, when I was around 20 years old, I heard about the two foot gauge Silver City, Pinos Altos, & Mogollon RR in the SW part of New Mexico and have wanted to "replicate" it ever since. I have strayed from the goal many times, loggers, short lines, even Colorado 3 footers but the lure of the obscure 2 foot gauge line always enticed me. Once, I tried to model it in HOn30 but the 6" gauge difference was always a problem. Then, about maybe 8 years ago I learned that I could actually build a 2 footer without the high cost of On2 brass or a bunch of scratchbuilding locomotives-I "fell into" a scale that is virtually unknown in model railroading (in the US) but is supported by military modelers across the world...1:35 scale. My On30 locos could be bashed into 1:35n2 locos and I was off to the races. I jumped in and have not looked back. There is another thing that has made me love model railroading even more, but I won't try to promote it here. I am not building a "nuts & bolts" nitpicker proof layout but one that is based on a real prototype. In all, I am having more fun now than I have ever had (and I have had loads of fun) and don't forsee any changes. That's my story and I am sticking with it.
Woodie



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