Excerpt From The Intro
This is a book about modeling track for the pure joy of it. Most modelers see their track as a means to an end: something to simply run their trains on. For many folks, sectional track and turnouts, flextrack or even basic handlaid track without any details will do just fine, as long as the trains run without derailing. Others might take things a step further and paint the sides of the rails with brown paint or similar color, and maybe even weather the ties or the ballast. Again, as long as the trains run, they really won’t care too much what the track looks like. Which is fine. There is no one-size-fits-all answer or way to do things in model railroading. I understand that few modelers will go to the de- gree of detailing and modeling of track that I have. For those who do however, the results often speak for themselves in terms of realism and track that just looks right to the eyes and operates as well.
Over the years, I’ve studied prototype track the way an artist would study the subject of a painting. For artists, learning to render a subject well often involves learning about the subject in-depth. Learning to see beyond the surface of things to the essential qualities; those that distunguish one object from another. One also comes to understand how the relationship between individual parts contribute to the whole.In studying track I’ve looked beyond the simple mechanics to learn and see the characteristics that distinguish real track from the typical model renditions.
I won’t kid you; modeling track to this degree involves time and expense for materials. For me it was a sound investment that resulted in model track that has a satisfying resemblance to the prototype that inspired it. Even though you may not have an interest in O Scale, P48, or handlayinig track, the techniques described here are equally useful for commercial track in any scale. If we can get away from the idea of a particular scale and instead think modeling techniques and principles, then there is much we can learn to enhance our enjoyment of the hobby.
In this book, I discuss my observations of prototype track and the methods I use to model it in 1⁄4″ scale using P48 standards. I’m not presenting more hard and fast “rules”. There are enough of those. What I hope to demonstrate is how, with a bit of observation, model track can look as good as the prototype that we all enjoy.
Michael L. Cougill