I've recently had that sinking feeling of "Oh oh, something is not right", best summed by the Yogiism "Its like deja vu all over again!" For those who don't follow baseball, Yogi Berra was a great player from the 1940's to the 1960's and then a manager who was hugely successful but also became famous for his little sayings - Yogiisms. For those who have followed any of these ramblings the common thread is of indecision regarding railway projects. Being a big fan of big engines (especially the LNER variety) does not mesh at all, in real life practical terms, with the desire to operate as a lone builder, improve modelling skills and run on scale track. I have over the last couple of years wondered the desert, so to speak. Now Moses did this for 40 years, then died within sight of the promised land, so I'm hoping not to follow in that tradition (on both counts). I didn't bring along 10 commandments, but rather some basic principles, including that "less truly is more" and that I wanted to build things, rather than just buy things.
Where this thinking has taken me up a dark alley though is in trying to maximise the use of pre-existing assets. I have been working in P4 and am much happier with the look of the resultant trackwork, but as a result I have tried to use what stock I already have as a way of determining the location of this new project. I mean prototype location, rather than the fact that it is being built in the attic! This has been wrong on a number of levels and a valuable lesson learnt. I have said in an earlier blog that I believe that the desired project should determine how the scheme is modelled. By that I mean that if I want to run (as was contemplated at one point) the east coast line through Fife, then the resultant need for multiple pacifics would mean that the project would only be viable in OO. The other side of that would be that if I wanted to model a specific branch line, then that would influence the gauge, stock etc that would be required.
What I did in starting my P4 project was to set out to build a branch line that made the maximum use of the rolling stock that I already had. Breaking my own - thoroughly thought out and rigorous - principles. This rather obvious error on my own part led me to move my prototype location, company and create a back story (Auchenreoch) that whilst being quite believable, did not in fact reflect the very thing that I had set out to do in the first place. I have now rectified this.
|Evidence of progress!|
I have gone back to first principles and have started with the question that should have been asked in the first place, "What is the project?" The answer to that is that when I turn around from this screen, the bookshelf at my back is all related to the GNSR, so the project should always have been, "to build a typical Great North of Scotland branch line." The detail of the project will be padding for further blog entries, but in broad terms the layout is being built as a GNSR station that can also be used for BR steam and the BR diesel eras. The challenge that this brings is probably what I was trying to avoid in making earlier decisions, in that there is very (very) little available in the way of trade support. I am fortunate though in having a small band of fellow travellers who, although they are all working on their own projects, do help me keep focussed on improving my work and they provide the inspiration to push ahead.
I am now more determined than ever to follow the wise words of the great Yogi, who said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" I have taken the fork and know where I'm heading, which is good news, because he also said that "If you don't know where you're going, you'll wind up somewhere else."
Further updates to follow