Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Model railroaders are lucky. We build little perfect worlds. We are benevolent dictators. The only reason our streets are in disrepair is because we decide that (for some unknown reason) they are more interesting. The only time we have rescue squads or fires responding to emergencies is because that seems to make a more exciting scene. If you model like I do back in the early 40's you don't even think about rescue vehicles with flashing lights and quite honestly I haven't considered even one fire truck.

Maybe our worlds are a bit too perfect. Heck, it's only kids who have staged train wrecks and at the price of model railroads today I doubt that there are many children racing trains toward a cornfield meet. If there are they might be able to accuse their parents of child abuse.

There's something comforting about our model railroad worlds. Maybe it is because we are in total control. I will grant you that about the only thing that intercedes is our bankroll , time and skill. I'm content not to model a perfect reflection of the real world. I'd rather spend my time and effort on a specific box car than on a scene of a store holdup in progress or a landfill. I have no homeless people (Some folks do model the occassional hobo camp but not the reasons there were hobos) and I have no poverty, war, drugs, booze or spouse abuse on my railroad. Unemployement is unknown. Pretty nice world. Heck even MY steam locomotives don't belch acid smoke, cinders, and the boiler laggings aren't full of asbestos. You'll never see a corrupt politician on my railroad.

So for reality, I turn on the television. I start with the news channels and slowly drift to old movies, home repair and food shows. I dare say we are all guilty. Who doesn't like to be immediately entertained?

And I write this after the horrible incident at Virginia Tech. No question, it was horrible. But unlike the media I'm not ready to jump to conclusions about the root causes. Who knows, maybe they'll find a note in the shooters effects that he loved model railroads but the local club made fun of him for his craftsmanship. Maybe he couldn't find the plans for a B&O wagon top boxcar.

We all want perfect worlds. I'd love my world to have no war, disease, old age and death. The only place that is currently the case is on my model railroad. I've found a way to escape the things I don't like dealing with too.