It must be enjoyable

I had somebody I know email me offline to say how much he enjoyed seeing the movie of my Maine two-foot layout, which I recently posted to this blog.

He’s a fan of narrow gauge and while he made a point of saying he enjoys what I’m doing with the CNR Port Rowan branch, he really wishes more people would take up the challenge of modelling the Maine two-footers in O or S scales, as I once did.

In my response, I noted that the key phrase in my previous posting is “on those rare days that it worked well”.

The unfortunate reality is that those days were rare indeed. I won’t go into the details here but the upshot is, I took up the challenge and – after seven years of trying to model a convincing Maine two-footer – I found the exercise so frustrating that it was ruining the hobby for me.

Most days, my On2 adventure felt like a Sisyphean challenge:
Progress Report photo ProgressReport.jpg

I kept trying to make it work because I loved the look of narrow gauge in general, and Maine two-footers in particular. I also enjoyed the larger size of O scale. But eventually, I got tired of fighting to push that rock up the hill. Others may do better with On2: More power to them!

I’m having better luck with S scale.

That’s not to say that my layout is perfect – like any layout, it requires maintenance. For example, this week I’m dealing with a bit of expansion which has closed the gap between the main track and the sector plate. I’ll need to file back the rails a bit, or create a set of sliding rails so I can adjust the approach to the sector plate to suit the season. I also have one turnout that’s giving me a bit of grief: I need to adjust the points so they do a better job of mating with the stock rails.

But these are small, isolated issues.

It’s a rare day indeed when the layout does not work well, and that’s an important difference. I’m still challenging myself – just as I did in On2 – but with S, I achieve enough successes that I’m also having fun.

And that’s important because this is a hobby – and that means it must, first and foremost, be enjoyable. It’s meant to provide a welcome diversion from the stresses in the rest of one’s life – not become another source of stress and frustration.

That doesn’t mean the hobby has to be easy, but it shouldn’t actually seem like your trains are actively fighting you.

3 thoughts on “It must be enjoyable

  1. Trevor,

    I could not agree with you more about On2 and Sn2. Truly the realm of the scratchbuilder and model steam engine tinker. They are both fine sales to work in, but the gauge and limited availability of reliable out of the box motive power is indeed a problem. Would not recommend either to someone new to the hobby.

    Like your On2 layout, you are putting the time into the important details, track, electrical pickups etc. Makes for what looks like a great model railroad an an inspiration to many, both the new and old modeler alike. Keep up the great work.

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