Railway modeling - what is it?
Railway modeling - what is it?

There were not so many eras in railway modeling. The earliest modeled railroads appeared in 1840 and were the so-called "carpet tracks". Electric train models appeared around the beginning of the 20th century, but their resemblance to the original prototypes left much to be desired. Model trains are much more realistic these days. Today, modellers create models of railway lines, often recreating real places and historical periods. For those who love to work with their hands, railway modeling is the perfect hobby.

The famous green railway in Norfolk

What is the point of this hobby?

The essence of it is to recreate real railway tracks with models of the railway itself and trains, as well as layouts of landscapes. People doing this have been nicknamed "railway modellers" or "model railroaders". With sufficient funds andenthusiasm, they can even create life-size models!

Modelers can build model trains by creating terrain for them. They are also capable of operating their own miniature railroad. For some modellers, the goal of building a mockup is to eventually run it as if it were a real railroad (if the mockup was based on the builder's fantasy) or like a real railroad (if the mockup is based on a real prototype). If modellers choose to model a prototype, they can reproduce road reproductions of the real railroad in miniature, often using prototype tracks and historic maps.

Modeler at work

Records of railway modeling

Layouts range from an impromptu circle or oval to realistic reproductions of real places skillfully modeled after a prototype. The largest model landscape is in the British Pendon Museum in Oxfordshire, where a life-size model of the Vale of White Horse train was built in 1930. The museum also houses one of the earliest pictorial models, the Mader Model Valley built by John Ahern. It was built from the late 30s to the early 50s of the last century, and it turned out so beautiful and realistic that it was written about on both sides of the Atlantic in Model Railway News and Model Railroader magazines. Beconscot in Buckinghamshire is the oldest model village which includes a model railway dating back to the 1930s. The world's largest model railway - MiniaturWunderland in Hamburg, Germany. The largest live steam layout with a 25-mile (40 km) railroad is "Train Mountain" in Chilohin, Oregon, USA. The exhibits of the Museum of Railway Modeling in San Diego are also noteworthy in their own way.

Simulated landscape with mock seashore

Landscape modeling

The art of railway modeling also includes landscape modeling. Some modellers focus on greening their layout, creating a fantasy world or a real-life place, often focusing on its historical appearance in a particular era. Landscaping is called "landscape building" or "landscape modeling".

Set construction involves subsurface preparation using a wide range of building materials, including screened wire, cardboard strip grating, or carved Styrofoam stacks. The decorative base is superimposed on the sub-relief. Typical substrates include cast plaster, gypsum, hybrid paper pulp (papier-mâché) or lightweight foam or fiberglass, and any material used in geodesic foaming.

Soil modeling

The decorative base is covered with ground cover substitutes, which may be static grass. Modelers create an imitation of grass, poppies, conifers, caterpillar ballast and other picturesque ground cover. The material used to simulate road ballast is usually fine-grained ground granite.Colored grass material is usually covered with sawdust, wood shavings or ground foam. Foam or natural lichens or commercial spreading materials can be used to model shrubs. An alternative material for grass is static grass, which is made to move with static electricity.

Models of trains and buildings

Models of buildings and rocks

Buildings and structures can be purchased as kits or made from cardboard, balsa wood, basswood, other soft woods, paper, polystyrene or other plastics. Trees can be made from mugwort to which simulated foliage is glued, but they can also be purchased pre-made from specialist growers. Water can be modeled using polyester casting resin, polyurethane, or fluted glass. Rocks can be cast with plaster or plastic with foam protection. Castings are painted with special paint or women's shadows.

Climate and weather modeling

Some warp finished models to simulate dirt and wear on vehicles, structures and equipment. Railroad cars in cities accumulate grime from construction and vehicle fumes and graffiti, while cars in deserts can be subject to sandstorms that tarnish or wash away paint. A model created in room conditions can hardly contain as many relief details as its prototype in real life, subjected to dailyweather and other natural (and man-made) phenomena.

There are many methods to simulate the effects of the weather, including painting, grinding, demolition, and even the use of chemicals to corrode. Some of the weather creation processes obviously do not suffer from a lack of creativity, but it depends on the skill of the designer.

Coal wagon models

Dirt, rust and signs of damage

Changing purchased models is common. At the very least, a change aimed at reducing the "plasticity" in the appearance of the models. Dirt, rust and wear modeling adds realism. Some modellers simulate fuel stains on tanks or corrosion on battery boxes. In some cases, signs of accidents or repairs can be added, such as dents or freshly made replacement parts, and mature models can be almost indistinguishable from their actual photo prototypes.

Railway modeling clubs

Model railway clubs exist where enthusiasts most often meet. Clubs often showcase their best models to the visiting public. One specialized industry concentrates on large scales and gauges, typically using 3.5 to 7.5 inch (89 to 191 mm) tracks. Models at these scales are often handcrafted and powered by steam or hydraulics, with engines powerful enough to carry dozens of fake passengers.

Technical Model Railway Club (TMRC) inMassachusetts Institute of Technology in the 50s of the XX century for the first time provided automatic control of route switching using telephone relays. It is a real laboratory of railway modeling.

Models of people at the tram rails

Fans of this hobby have their own "places of pilgrimage", one way or another connected with the history of modeling. Usually such places are just societies of modelers, scattered around the world. The oldest society is the "Model Railway Club", founded in 1910. It is located near King's Cross in London, UK. In addition to model railroads, it houses about 5,000 books and periodicals on railroad modeling. The Historic Model Railway Society in Butterley, near Derbyshire, specializes in historical matters and has archives of the hobby's history available to members and the public.

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