Traffic on this short branch is just a few covered hoppers for a wire and cable plant. In addition to that, there’s a runaround and the derelict siding to a farm co-op that wanders off into the weeds.
An image like this means different things to people.
Some can imagine a small steamer with a mixed train slowly making its way along or maybe a lone Geep with a grain hopper heading for an elevator.
Model builders will consider the wealth of large and small details scattered throughout the scene, while operations folk worry there’s not enough play value here.
What we see is based on what we value about railroading and how to recreate that in miniature.
For me, railroading is closeup, even intimate. I don’t need the active presence of a train to enjoy a scene like this. I can find many things of interest to appreciate like the composition formed by a cluster of rail cars awaiting pick-up. There is space and time for the imagination to wander and explore.
Like our approach to full size trains, this craft is also personal. Over the years, my appreciation of simplicity has deepened. As a creative person at heart, I want more than a shallow focus on stuff. Rather than sleepwalk through this craft by repeating what I’m already comfortable with, I want to explore new ideas and the challenge of doing what I don’t know how to do. We may bring as many layers of depth to this craft as we are willing to seek out.
In countless ways, 2020 has been a pain in the ass. It’s also shown me the grace of understanding the work I’ve done to this point isn’t as good as I believed and that it’s okay. It means I’m no longer fooling myself and can be deliberate in making the work what I believe it can be. I’ve learned to appreciate where the questions of what’s next can take me.
Regular posting will resume in January. Until then I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.