I suppose the first thing a visitor to this page might wonder is, “why do they do it” !
Not an easy thing to answer, as each and every one of us involved in this hobby are in it for different reasons. Most of us probably do it because we want to create a model railway in natural environment, whilst taking advantage of the space a garden provides. Some of us just enjoy being small scale civil engineers !
For me, it is the realization of a dream, which started in my childhood, when I saw a short TV program about some young people who had built a railway in their garden. The main attraction with this, was that the locomotives were powered as the prototype.. by STEAM. I dreamed of doing the same for many years, actually from the sixties until 1985. It seemed so natural to have fairly large, robust models moving about in a garden environment.
How I began.
In 1985 I was lucky to see a steam loco made by Mamod in England for sale in a model shop for £30. This was well within my financial bounds, so I bought it, plus a few lengths of track. The loco was not too prototypical, as it was cheaply made, with pop-rivets holding the parts together. After trying it out on the track a few times, I decided to try to improve on its looks and performance. Having done that, I added radio control, and extended my few pieces of track gradually over a few years. During this time, I managed to rebuild one more “Mamod” locomotive, buy a secondhand Salem Locomotive Works Baldwin Loco, and in July 2001, I became the proud owner of an Accucraft “Ida” locomotive. Since then the locomotive collection has gradually grown and grown
I get great enjoyment from the hobby, having met a number of like minded people, who have become my friends. I have learned a great deal about gardening too !! My main enjoyment with this hobby is probably not from “playing with trains” but from building an “illusion or reality” in small scale. The “playing” part is just a small part of the whole thing. Photography is another hobby which can be incorporated with garden railways to great effect. On occasions I have been found lying flat out in snow, taking close-ups of a scene at a station on my line, with a loco sitting at the head of a train with a full “head” of steam, or waiting for a loco to emerge from a tunnel, with a plume of steam pounding out of its chimney. Some people may consider me “mad”, but hey guess what.... I am enjoying myself !!
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