Trains are the oldest form of mechanical transport and carry a special charm for anyone who has ever set foot in a railway carriage. Trains and railways opened up entire continents and have become embedded in our consciousness. Many people remember railway journeys nostalgically. Since the advent of steam, the romance of exotic journeys and the sheer scale of engineering achievement have fascinated passengers and enthusiasts alike. A special group of people uses this passion to re-create spectacular model railways with model trains to an extraordinary level of accuracy. The attention to detail and artistry shows how committed, and passionate these enthusiasts are to their craft.
When the railways began to roll, model trains and toys began to be made. Many of these model trains were designed as promotional items, especially to show people who had not seen a real train. During the Victorian era, there were many model trains from very expensive working steam models to penny toys made of lead and tine. The first clockwork train sets appeared in the 1890s in which they had accessories and parts to allow personalization of your own railway and were exquisite in detail. They were also not as affordable to the average person.
Many model train producers were German and sold different kinds of locomotives. Gradually other manufacturers began producing model trains to cater for the growing enthusiasm for model railways. As popularity increased, manufacturers realized that railways were not just for children and began to introduce more sophisticated model trains and railway sets. Many model makers and engineers had such a fascination for the real trains, that they began to build complex models and publish magazines.
The hobby spread from Europe to the United States and, American companies began to produce model trains also. Suddenly, the hobby was no longer for wealthy enthusiasts, and the hobby grew to the levels it is today with railway and train model clubs worldwide.
Model trains that run on a particular layout is part of the fun of setting up your system. Some enthusiasts will choose which model trains to use and then build the entire railway system around their choices. Others will build an entire theme based on a location or era. Choose the model trains that appeal to you; steam era, electric, diesel locomotives and then you can tie in the theme to the era when your trains were active.
The 1940s to 1950s are great as both steam trains and diesel locomotives were operating. The research is not only educational but a great past time too. A fictitious railway location can be invented where your imagination is the limit. For authenticity, make sure the era is consistent with the model trains and are doing the job they are invented for, it makes your layout credible. For inspiration, the stories of iconic trains like The Flying Scotsman, The Ghan, The Orient Express, and The Super Chief can assist you when thinking it over.
There comes a time when all hobbies become art, and if you are fortunate to see some of the layouts of model trains and railway systems that are in place today, you will appreciate that attention to detail and skill of these hobbyists is equal to the great railway engineers of yesteryear.
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