Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Makes a Model Railroad Great?

The 2009 issue of Great Model Railroads is out. The layouts in it are truly great.

I really like this annual issue; I've been buying it since it first came out. But every time it comes out, it makes me wonder: What makes a model railroad great?

Looking at the magazine, you'd come up with different reasons: Size, detail, prototype fidelity, scenery. All would be correct, plus some more I haven't thought of.

But in my mind, the one simple thing that makes a model railroad great is that it gets built at all.

This is no small feat. Along with room and money, building a layout takes time, skill, energy and discipline. The last item is often not appreciated as much as it should be; if you're going to make a model railroad, you have to get out of the armchair. That can sometimes be very hard to do.

The fact is this: Building a layout isn't easy. Maybe that's why so few model railroaders seem to be able to do it.

To me, it doesn't matter how big the layout is, or how good the scenery looks, or how well it runs. The mere fact that someone actually took the time to make it makes it great in my books.


  1. I couldn't agree more with your statement about the greatness of a built layout - as one who desires to build a layout but is in the midst of educational pursuits, I am hard pressed to think of a better way to describe a great layout!

    Your layout looks fantastic and I am excited that you're keeping the blog up-to-date. It's a real help for me to read your blog entries and to imagine what my layout will one day look like. Plus I'm a huge fan of CP (hailing from Lethbridge, AB I never really could like the CN because it was our competitor's railroad and it never passed through our city) and seeing it modeled in such a skillful manner as what you've done is a real treat. Keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks, Herman. The CP Rail M & M Sub. has been a good adventure--and a great learning experience.