Sunday, June 27, 2010

Slices of railway

Princess drive railway bridgeI drive under this bridge most evenings on my way home from work. A couple of days ago, while I was approaching, a Chiltern Railways train went over it.

This got me thinking – there is a special joy in seeing trains in transit. To me it’s more exciting than seeing them at a station. Well, unless I’m meant to be catching one that is. What I’m thinking of is those moments as you drive along when you see a train on the main line from the car window. Or like this where all you get is a glimpse of train between the bushes (this shot is nicked from Google Streetview, the normal angle frames either side of the bridge with greenery).

A few years ago, the Double O Gauge Association ran a competition where we had to build a layout or diorama in a box file. Most people laid the file on it’s back to get the most area for their work. One guy though used the file vertically with the front opening like the cover of a book. In this he put a backscene and a slice of viaduct. Obviously you didn’t get a full train, just a locomotive, but the result was a 3D picture so good he won the diorama class.

Now this got me thinking – the scene above could be modelled in the same way. What you need is a circuit of track and in the middle a very small slice of railway. The slice probably wants to be quite deep and possibly even modelled using forced perspective.

Better still, how about a fiddle yard at the back of the circuit which releases trains randomly. The viewer would sit, as though in a car, in front of the scene and get occasional glimpses of movement. Maybe this is more art installation or even something you could have at home as part of a test track than exhibitable model railway but it’s worth a thought.

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