Finding Your Railroad

by Aug 7, 2017Storytelling, The Modeling Conversation

I have featured this location in previous posts, suggesting there is something here that keeps me coming back again and again.

I do like the location for the way the rails form leading lines that carry the eye deep into the background. I like the trees and vegetation on the left for the visual boundary they create that frames the scene. However, the fundamental reason this location draws me is the emotional connection I have with it.

As one of three locations that forged my earliest connections to railroading, this spot is the only one that bears any resemblance to the past in terms of the physical structure and railroad activity that I remember. In that sense, this is my railroad.

Last year I wrote a post about why I do not model the Pennsylvania in Richmond or Centerville. It’s because a static model where only the trains move can never encompass the full depth and richness of a memory. Instead of recreating a hollow facsimile, I looked at what was best from those times (my up close encounters with trains) and used it as a foundation to build upon in the present.

Creative people have a notorious reputation for being too close to their work. It’s hard for us to be objective because of the emotions we tap into to create such work. It’s hard to see the mistakes and weaknesses and also the strengths of what we create. Sometimes we look so hard for meaning that we fail to see it’s right in front of us. It’s enough for me to know why I feel good when I’m watching the action here. It’s enough to know that the connection I sense carries meaning, whether anyone else understands it or not.