Getting back to modeling

Hello everyone,

My apologies for the long delay in posts. I have been working on various 1ft=12inch projects. One of which included a weekend learning timber framing. I liked the instructor’s format of discussing the project on a grand scale and moving to the one timber of part of the first barn bent to be constructed. We discussed the tools advantages, disadvantages, how to maintain ones tools. We discussed at length what side of the post would be the reference point.

We probably spent the first hour discussing the importance of this one point, what side of the timber will be the reference point and why. Is that side square and straight. What about the esthetics  of the sides that would be visible. Out of the experience, I couldn’t help but wonder is there something that crosses into model railroading?

I realized that initial time spent checking the timber sets the tone for the project, even the discussion is this timber good enough for the intended purpose of the end result of the building. It was baby step, one on a journey of many steps with the final product a building. Perhaps my modeling could take a point from this process. The story I wish to tell, is it straight, square on all sides, is one side the best side to be visible? Is it the “right timber” to tell the story?

What story am I trying to tell others with Beckleysville? I want to tell the story of a 30 inch gauge railway and it’s connection with a small farming community in rural northern Baltimore County in late Spring 1914. The Northern Maryland Railway is freelance in gauge and location. Thirty inch gauge was not used as a common carrier in the United States, so I am starting off with a compromise. The two closest narrow gauge common carriers, the East Broad Top and the Lancaster, Oxford, and Southern were both 36 inch gauge lines.

Why is the Northern Maryland 30 inch gauge and not 36 inch gauge? “Its my railroad and I can do whatever I want!!”  Not a very good response. The obvious answer, I like the Eastern Tennessee and West North Carolina’s ten-wheelers and it just so happens that Bachmann makes them in On30.  The not so obvious is that 30 inch gauge was used  outside the United States and by some large railroad companies. The story I am telling is a wishful one, that not only did narrow gauge survive in the United States, but also 30 inch gauge was used by some companies. 

Maryland and Pennsylvania RR #6 on the turntable in Delta
Maryland and Pennsylvania RR #6 on the turntable in Delta

If a Beaver a Creek Models Virginia and Truckee #27 had been available or if a Ma & Pa # 6, or Stewartstown RR #5  were produced in O scale perhaps Beckleysville would be a P48 model set a little later in the pearly 20th century. However, those engines are not available and I thought the story of a little narrow gauge railroad and a small farming community would be one I would like to model. That said, there is nothing to say the thirty inch O scale layout cannot be built to a finescale standard and bring many hours of enjoyment.

Location, location, location. Just happens I decided the Northern Maryland would have an east to west “main line” in an area of Maryland that had no rail service. Why, well there were only farms and small mills that dotted the northern section of Baltimore county. Not much business for a large standard gauge common carrier, but enough for a narrow gauge railway. The small village of Beckleysville exists, if only a four way intersection with a few houses now-a-days. However by borrowing different plausible features of the immediate area, the scene works. So in the end, location, the idea of narrow gauge prospering in the United States, and the Bachmann On30 ET&WNC ten wheelers steered me to a plausible imagineering project. Certainly a standard gauge carrier could have existed, the Stewartstown RR is a fine example of a small “Farmer’s railroad.”

Stewartstown RR #5 at Ma and Pa Baltimore Roundhouse
Stewartstown RR #5 at Ma and Pa Baltimore Roundhouse



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