As one approaches a certain age, in my case retirement, one begins to become all to aware of one’ own mortality. Sorry, that’s a really cheerful way to start a blog, but stay with me. Over the years, we’ve seen a number of layouts in the UK modelling press called something like, “The Last Great Project”. These lucky people have got to my age and then built their ultimate model railway. This has usually been….
- In O gauge, so that they can see it.
- Had a lot of scratch building.
- Has often been of a moderate size.
- Has been to the highest standard that they can manage, based on years of modelling.
This is a laudable aim, but I’m not sure it will work for everyone, and probably not for me! Whilst on holiday, listening to the rain on our tent, I was mulling over my aims for the next few years, and what could my “Last Great Project” be? I quickly came across a couple of problems with such an approach….
- I am very happy modelling in N gauge, even if I can’t see the details as well as I used to.
- I can’t see myself sticking to one project.
- We expect to downsize our house in the next 5 years, and I may have to fight for a modelling room!
I came up with a few ideas, and looking through the notebook I was using at the conference, I found some notes from 3 years ago. I realised that my thoughts were actually quite consistent – just more realistic….
- Lehigh Valley – complete the N-club modules (and I have another layout idea).
- Interurban – much as I like the Pacific Electric, I have two 1200mm N-club boards sitting in the railway room. It would seem more sensible to use these for an interurban layout, with eastern US trolleys, that could be linked with my other modules, and maybe just sneak the odd PE stock on at times!
- I still have a desire to try a 2mm fine scale model or two. As with many layouts these days, this would be N gauge on fine scale wheels and track, to make best use of the commercial models available. One option for this could be an Isle of Wight layout. The other a BR (Southern Region) shunting plank.
- Finally, a scenic N-mod module would be good to take to club nights.
That’s plenty to get on with – but probably attainable.
I have built up a collection of ‘off-theme’ rolling stock. I have sold some of this on, and will continue to do so – especially the HO bits and pieces. The exception will be my ‘blue boxes’ containing trains that I can take to the ESNG club night – for example my Deltic plus Pullmans, two 4-CEPS and my Delaware & Hudson and Penn Central passenger trains. And the other exception will be the unmade or part-made O gauge kits – one day my eyes may need them!
Time will tell whether I stick to this plan or not! At least I can run a few ideas in parallel with a clear conscience. I must progress my N-club modules, but I do fancy trying my hand at some 3-D printing 0r even scratch building.