Thursday, June 26, 2008

This is the start. . . .

of a new blog about the creation of my HO-scale model railroad, based on the New South Wales Railway in the late 1970's in and around the rural farming community of Narrabri, a few hundred miles northwest of Sydney.

One unusual feature of this model railroad is that it is located in Fort Worth, Texas, US of A. . . I'd guess that of the 200,000 or so model railroaders in the United States, less than a half-dozen of us are active modelers of Australian prototypes (there might be a few more out there who have pieces of Australian model equipment, but don't necessarily model Australian railroads themselves).

None of this would be possible, I think, without the internets. From 10,000 miles distance, it would be nearly impossible to keep track of what models are available from Australian manufacturers, and gathering information overseas by traditional land-and-sea mail would be extremely time-consuming. Thankfully, I've been able to make contact with several very helpful modelers and railroaders from down-under who've been more than generous with their time and materials they've gathered themselves over the years. And thanks to ebay auctions and manufacturers and hobby suppliers who don't mind dealing with the hassle of shipping merchandise overseas (and dealing with paypal or credit cards), I've been able to get a good start on equipping the railway.

My previous model railroad project, on the Walla Walla Valley Railway of Washington and Oregon, kept me busy for seven years. This railroad too was an obscure operation (I'm assuming that not many readers know much about the railroading in Narrabri, New South Wales, either!) and much of the time "working" on the railroad was actually spent in historical research of the prototype: how trackage was arranged, what customers were served, how the railroad was operated, what kind of railroad equipment was used on the WWV, etc. I'm only guessing that the Narrabri North layout will be just as research-intensive, as not only am I modeling a section of railroad I know NOTHING about, but it is a foreign railroad as well, and despite basic similarities in equipment and basic mission, railways in New South Wales are operated far more like those in Great Britian than they are in the United States! The WWV railway is subject of a dedicated website; I've decided to blog the NSW Narrabri North project.

So, check back in occasionally as I update this blog with observations and reports on the progress of my journey to Australia, set in a 17 X 19' room!

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