Making do with our memories, or modelling...

Discussion in 'Talk' started by LarryG, 13 September 2020.

  1. LarryG

    LarryG Western Thunderer

    I was leaning over the deckchair this afternoon looking at the grass and thinking I had done this before. My mind went back to a back garden in the early 1950's. We had nothing in those days, but there was no shortage of things to do. I could pop up town to see the steam railway or elderly buses and each surrounding town had its own differences. Even in bed I could hear trains whistling in the night because in those days, railway lines were everywhere.

    I became familiar to some of the town's bus crew's and they would ask me to tell than what was special about about their bus. Some conductors even paid my fare out of the 'tea' money!

    My parents knew nothing of my after-school activities, nor did they care. They had probably not had a good word for each other since 1940! A boy was expected to "find out for himself" and become street-wise, or so it seemed. My wish to roam freely was not without the occasional smack in an age when gangs of boys were very territorial. I expect all heavily industrialized towns were the same, and so I roamed into areas hoping to find an individual to chat to, which in turn introduced me to his gang.

    If I lived in that town today, what is there to do? It hasn't even got a railway line now, but I expect there would some fun in riding on the new-age trams. The nearest heritage line is the East Lancs. Only my cousins survive now and we only tend to meet up at funerals. Keeping in touch on Facebook is what we're down to today.
    Last edited: 14 September 2020
    3 LINK, FulhamTim, paulc and 2 others like this.
  2. LarryG

    LarryG Western Thunderer

    Modeling the rural branchline is popular probably because it brings to mind a past age when (we are constantly told) life was much slower and simpler. I was old enough to understand what I saw in the late 1940's and that 'much slower and simpler' is as much modern-day eyewash as Black Eights and Night Owls. Workers dashed around on bikes, public transport or shanks pony and performed tasks that would terrify today's millennium snowflakes. A lavvy at the bottom of the yard or hot water bottles was all part of life's rich tapestry.

    Railway tracks seemed to be everywhere when I was a boy and I sometimes came across them while crossing fields, but I never saw trains on them. And that was the trouble, many rural train services had been pruned back before World War Two. The ones I rode on were boring if they left me on a station in the middle of nowhere for a couple of hours. For that reason I tended to stick to main routes where there was much more activity to see.

    As modellers, many of us are probably guilty of embellishing our backwater branches with loco sheds, an half-hour train service and enough locos to work a major trunk route. Which is why modelling is so useful. We can tailor our creation to suit ourselves. At the moment I have two locos but no track! But that's part of the pleasure I suppose of our model railway hobby.

    I completed the sketch back in 1959. All the time I was there, I only saw two trains (the same one coming back) and a light engine....

    WEB Parkbridge sketch 2.jpg
    Last edited: 10 October 2020
  3. Martin Shaw

    Martin Shaw Western Thunderer


    Your a very few years older than me but life in the 50s as a boy was great if you had the necessary fundamentals of life and the poverty wasn't too grinding. In many ways I share your sentiments but this idea that things were better then is as much a function of ageing as it is based on any kind of reality. If you were to list all the things that weren't much good in 1959 it would I expect be quite long and I'll give you a stark reminder. In the last ten years I have had both cataracts replaced and a detached retina successfully saved, in 1959 I would have been totally blind. I'm all in favour of nostalgia but lets do us all a favour and not sugar coat it as well, in many ways life is significantly better for a large section of the population than it was then, but of course there have been changes for the worse as well. We should only look forward with hope, especially at the moment and not backward with regret.
    Best wishes
  4. paulc

    paulc Western Thunderer

    Well said Martin .
    Cheers Paul
  5. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Life always seems better as a kid because you have far less responsibilites and are one step removed from a lot of the economic angst in particular. I now understand the old saying "Your school days are the best days of your life." although I always disagreed with it because I hated school, and one of the best days of my life was the day I walked out of school after my last exam, never to return!!
    I grew up in the 70s - an utterly dire decade according to the history books. But the only bit that really hit me personally was having to walk up all the stairs in the block of flats we lived in, during the power cuts of the Miner's strike.
    On the plus side, footballers didn't wear their names on their shirts, stuck to a club for loyalty not wages, and the numbers only went from 1 to 12 (including the sub). You could still buy quite a handful of sweets for a penny. You could roam all over the place at the Severn Valley Railway, and even get on the footplate sometimes. British Rail trains were all one colour, but the variety was in the amount of different loco classes, and how Regional a lot of them still were, plus of course you knew where you stood with Hornby diesels in the catalogue - the choices were either green, or blue, and would be around long enough to save up for new, or very cheap second-hand!!!
    Where I diverge from most modellers it seems is that I don't model my memories, apart from a handful of Blue Diesels I have, but my main interest is trains I've never seen for real in a part of the world I've never been to. ???!!!??? :confused:
    One thing that is far better for me now than back then - I have a much better train set, with bigger models!! :)
    Last edited: 17 October 2020
  6. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    I must be about the same age as Jordan (maybe - 1965 vintage!) and I grew up dragged all around Europe. Honestly! My dad owned several houses that he rented out as numerous flats around Derby and he didn't have to do the 9-5 thing so we went on tour every winter from 1970 onwards. Before I returned to live in the UK on my own, I only had a very distant memory of a proper British winter.
    This introduced me to the wonders of railways other than BR and I saw that other railway systems could be very, very different and very exciting, to what I saw in the UK.
    So for me, modern freedom of travel and the internet enables research into times and regions that would have been nigh on impossible except for maybe a university professor in times past, hence why and how I was able to build a fair representation of a small Prussian branch.
    Curiously however, that brings us back to the thrust of Larry's point, does it not?