As an armchair modeler over the past year plus I did on occasion read blogs and posts about the current state of model railroading affairs. The ready to run/ operate trend, the large home model railroads, and a few voices lamenting the lack of scratch building and building models from plans. I too would like to add to the few who would like to see a swing to smaller layouts with kitbuilt or scratchbuilt models. I’m certain though that time, or actually the lack of time influences many to buy RTO/RTR items.
After much thought I decided to go a new direction in my modeling that will lead me back to Beckleysville at some point in the future. An explanation is required, so let me wander for a brief moment. Besides model trains, there are other pursuits that I enjoy, one of which is woodworking. Now a days one can buy many tools that make it very easy to construct furniture and other woodworking projects. However, some time ago I decided to move to using hand tools ( planes, handsaws, chisels, etc) and learn how these tools were used by craftsman to make so many things from wood. So I purchased an interesting book, The New Tradition Woodworker: From Tool set to Skill set to Mind set. It is like an apprenticeship in a book. One starts by building tools (i.e. a wooden straightedge and square for starters) needed to make future projects. In the process skills are learned and built upon through a progression of projects, just as if you were an apprentice.
My new project starts with a train set. I could not go any simpler than the trainset. Now a word of warning, this is not a trainset one purchases at the local hobby store or online. It is one assembled from the boxes of RTR/RTO equipment that I have collected over time and have not used. I am sure everyone has some in their own home. I have not finished unpacking all the boxes at the moment but I will so as to take photos of my trainset. It is a complete Sn3 set which does not include sectional track or a “transformer”.
Why not continue Beckleysville? The simple reason is that I did not have any RTR/RTO equipment. In reality Beckleysville is, in an Sn3 version, a kit and scratchbuilders delight requiring more time than I have at the moment to spare. I also needed a project that allowed me to start model railroading as a novice and build on skills. So why not start with a trainset and go from there.
A New Direction, a New Start©
By Herbert Mathews, August 2018