One year ago today, I picked a URL, a theme, some custom header photos and started this blog about my plan to build a small segment of the Port Rowan branch.
I started by writing about Breaking Marley’s Chains – about how as model railway enthusiasts we’re often reluctant to abandon a layout that’s not satisfying us because we feel we would also be abandoning the time and effort that we had invested in it.
One year later, my opinion hasn’t changed. If anything, I’m more convinced that hobbyists benefit from the experiences of others who have chosen to change prototypes, eras, and even scales. Because unless one makes a living from model railroading – working for a manufacturer, magazine or other enterprise – it’s important to remember that this is, above all, a hobby. It’s meant to be enjoyed.
So, whether that enjoyment comes from collecting brass or books … whether from building a highly-detailed museum-quality switching layout or a multi-decked schematic of a railroad, geared towards operations … whether from creating masterpieces in styrene, metal, wood, Lego, or electrons … make sure you’re enjoying what you do in the hobby. And if you feel there’s anything lacking – anything at all – don’t be afraid to branch out, to try something new, or just try something.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey in S scale so far, and plan to continue to enjoy it for some time to come. I’m just having too much fun researching and building a modest piece of a modest branch of a familiar railway – as should be clear to anybody who has been following my progress on this blog. But I would not be enjoying this journey if I had not taken that first step, more than a year ago – deciding that I needed a change, as painful as that sometimes felt at the time.
Blogging is also a change for me. I’ve never done this before, and I’m glad very glad that I did. One of the greatest pleasures I’ve enjoyed over the past year is meeting new people via this blog. Readers have provided everything from encouragement and suggestions, to sources for products and historical information that is helping me build a better layout. To those readers – you know who you are – my heartfelt thanks. It’s been great meeting you, and I look forward to more conversations. Thank you!
I have to be honest and admit I’m surprised at how much I’ve accomplished in a year. When I launched this blog, I had a layout plan, some of the equipment I needed, and that’s about it. I had just confirmed that sufficient equipment existed in S scale to do the Port Rowan branch justice, but I hadn’t yet attained all the essentials. And I still had a previous layout to remove from the train room.
In the 365 days since then, I’ve built all my benchwork… hand laid, wired and tested all of my track… acquired all of my key pieces of motive power and rolling stock… installed basic terrain across the entire layout and given most of it a first pass of scenery… mocked up all of my structures… and hosted my first operating sessions. I’m looking forward to what the coming year brings!