East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

Why Change?

Dan George's Spring Creek Lumber Company HO scale layout | April 2005

July 17, 2004

Tom called today. Only because he blew out his back working on his house can he sit still long enough to talk. I come away from the conversation with the kernel of a distinction - why change scales and model in On30?

• I have no experience modeling in O scale, but it is 1:48, and that is easy to "think in." Figuring how big something would be in O scale is like making change. O scale lends itself to model building.

• On30 is narrow gauge, without being a gauge that was ever popular in the United States. It is not exactly 2 foot or 3 foot gauge. And so, from a prototypical standpoint, it lends itself to freelancing. "Not exactly" is what On30 is all about.

As soon as thought is given to representing a rail system in an enclosed, reasonably sized space, huge compromises have to be made. How much "imagination" am I comfortable with?

When I look at my trackplan with On30 in mind, it is difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that the plan can stay basically the same while the layout essentially represents an area one fourth the size. Does it become necessary to change themes due to the fact that it is so obvious that the area being modeled is small?