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Model railroad trains

Model railroad trainsA shrill blast from the whistle, a green flag waves and with effortless motion the giant train glides out of the station to the throbbing heart beats of the mighty engine. A few minutes later and that train is roaring through suburban stations. An hour later she is flying along at a mile a minute, yet another hour and still that magic thing of iron and steel, with the precious freight of human souls, is racing westwards to a fair town beside the sea. Then and not till then does rest come to that creature of man's handiwork - the model railway train.

Much of this fascination is realized by the magic of a model railway with its tiny signals, its wayside stations, the glistening new train racing around the gleaming track. That there is something fascinating about a model railway is evidenced by the thousands who have their own lines and find unending joy in running them, in solving traffic problems pacifying irate passengers and dealing with the numerous incidents that befall the executive staff. A model railway is like a real railway in that it is alive, it works, can be made to go fast or slow, to stop or start at will, and reproduce most of the functions of its big brother.

A model railway may start as only a toy, but it soon develops into a pastime, becomes a hobby and abides to delight generations of young and old alike. What a glorious world is opened to the model railway owner. It stimulates imagination, vastly increases knowledge, and gradually imparts an acquaintance with the greatest mechanical achievements of today.

Electricity, mechanics, civil and mechanical engineering, bridge building, all and more are represented in miniature in a model railway and all perform similar functions to those on the real thing. This is perhaps one of the greatest charms of the model railway. It offers such a wide scope for ingenuity of effort, it is always complete yet it is never finished perhaps it is another siding to add, or a signal to make or connect up or any of a hundred and one other things that can be done. Interest is constantly maintained in this way even with a very modest affair that is set up when required on the dining table, but is only experienced to the full when the line is laid permanently, either in a spare room or in the garden.

A model railway can be a large or a small affair - the engines and rolling stock can either be quite small, or big enough to pull several children, or if need be, a number of adults. Moreover, the railway can occupy a large or a small space can be a compact affair with numerous points, crossings and sidings, or it may have great lengths of straight track for long runs at high speed. Nor does this list exhaust the possibilities because the motive power can be steam, or electricity or clockwork, and any of them can be manually operated or to a large extent be controlled automatically by electrical or mechanical means. What other pastime offers such scope for interesting amusement or has such an educative background ?

For whether you like it or not, you are bound to learn things and to acquire the power of critical observation. For instance, there are many wires, rods, levers and gadgets of all kinds to be seen on a real railway, and their use is often a mystery except to the initiated, but those mysteries are most agreeably solved by the possession of a model railway.

Suppose now that there is only a toy railway, just an engine, carriage, and a few lengths of track or lines. What can be developed from it and how can it be done ? The track can be extended as a start, to give the train a greater length of run. Then a couple of points can be added and the train turned off from the oval track to finish its run on a straight line. Naturally a station of some sort is desirable, and it can be made of cardboard, thin wood, or purchased ready made at a reasonable price.

Then, of course, a signal somewhere near the station is necessary to advise the engine driver that the line is clear and the train can be started with safety. After that perhaps it would be as well to add a few wagons for the trans­port of miniature packages, or a second train can be acquired, some extra track, and two trains operated simultaneously all this can happen gradually, without making very serious inroads on pocket money.

Latent constructional powers may come to life and a real scale model locomotive be built up from some of the excellent castings and parts now on the market. Should this be too ambitious, something less pretentious can be undertaken, such as simple wagons or coaches, built up from sets of parts, or with fretwood.

Tunnel mouths, stations, and buildings of all kinds are not difficult to make, and there is unlimited scope for simple constructional work in the erection of signals and their connection to levers in a signal box.

Maybe a little railway in a room sounds too much like a toy? Something more substantial may have a greater appeal, if so a big engine can be built, and many pleasant hours passed in driving. How intensely fascinating it is to raise steam, oil up the engine, get everything in good shape and then, seated on a little wagon to start the engine and take the first trial trip. The thrills of engine-driving are many, there is plenty to attend to, steam pressure to maintain, the water gauge to watch, and always an eye must be kept open for the signals, to see the track is clear.

What other hobby is there to compare with model railway-ing? Adaptable to all conditions and walks of life, ranging from a modest affair costing only little money now and again for materials, and constructed throughout at home, to the completely equipped lines executed entirely by one of the model supply firms.

The great fascination of the model railway is, perhaps, its flexibility. It has truly been said that a model railway is always complete, but never finished, for no matter how comprehensive the equipment, something new is always being evolved and is worthy of inclusion.

No matter what aspect of railway work is studied, the model railway can, and does, reproduce it with fidelity, and offers the devotee an unending selection, from the tiny, No. "OO" gauge or the little "O" gauge railway to the 15-inch gauge passenger-carrying lines.