Change modeling focus?
I've always intended on creating a believable fictional railroad, not based to specifically on any particular towns or cities.  Why?  I feel if I try model an actual line, I will get caught up in rivet counting and inaccuracies will bug me enough that I won't get anything done.  Plus, nobody can point out how I did something wrong.  Thus, for many years I have settled on Southern Arizona mining railroads in the 1910-1930 time frame.  Generic towns based on real towns and generic equipment that has the same general feel as what was really used in the area.

I haven't done a whole lot of modeling for the past few years due to family commitments, but I also feel like I am losing my "itch".  Right now I feel more like just "running trains".  Of course, I no longer have a permanent layout, and joining a club is not something I want to do right now.  Another drawback of a fictional railroad is the custom lettering and painting of rolling stock vs just pulling something out of a box, adding a little weathering, and rolling it down the rails.  

Anyone else face this crossroads where you give up on the direction you have been going for years and go a different way?
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my road is a fictional one based on a bridge line that through a natural disaster lost one of the major lines in a forced realignment causing it so struggle just to keep running hence it is a hogpog  of equipment  and being poor it just settles on patch jobs  on acquired equipment , meaning what ever it can buy cheep. before i came up with this idea it was just another bridge line .
I got into HO scale model railroading in the mid-'50s, and dropped-out, temporarily, 8 or 9 years later.  My interest re-kindled in the early 70s, but I had no layout, nor even room for one, since we were living in rented quarters. 
When we were finally able to buy a house, I spent the first few years doing repairs and upgrades, but eventually got around to building an around-the-room layout in a basement room.
When we sold that house, the buyer asked if I could leave the layout, and I gladly did - it was operational, but had only one small area with scenery and I didn't leave any trains.  I don't know how long it lasted.

We moved to a small fruit farm close to Lake Ontario, and while it was a beautiful area, the basement wasn't at all suitable for a layout. 
We were there for less than two years when we finally had an opportunity to buy a building lot, and in April 1988, I began construction, with us finally moving-in in early November. 
There was still lots to be done, and since I was doing most of it, it was a couple of years before I was able to start a layout in the basement, which I figured would be my domain, other than for a laundry room.
Within a couple months of starting construction of the benchwork, I went from an L-shaped layout room of about 1100 square feet, to one of a very odd shape with an area of 560 sq.ft., all due to "family considerations".

The odd-shape of the room forced me to ditch a sketched-up trackplan for the larger area, so I simply moved the partially built benchwork in the "new" room, placing it where it would fit, then built more to suit the space.  I had no trackplan at all, so took a sheet of 3/4" plywood, cutting it into arcs starting at a radius of 30", and increasing 2" with each successive cut.  I then placed the largest curves that would fit in in each of the room's 10 corners, cutting up another sheet of the same stuff  as needed, and splicing them together.  Pretty-well all of them were on risers, so all that was left to do was connect all of the curves with straight-ish roadbed.

In retrospect, this forced move gave me a challenge that has pushed me to make the layout both operable and interesting, and I'm not yet tired of it, although I am falling behind in getting much done.

(02-09-2021, 04:52 PM)nachoman Wrote: Anyone else face this crossroads where you give up on the direction you have been going for years and go a different way?

While I'm yet not giving up on my plan to continue, I am wondering when the time will come when the layout has to has always generated some friction because I tend to find myself drawn to it, even when I know that I should be doing other, less selfish, pursuits.   I can't imagine existing without it, even though I can imagine it gone.

Kevin, I've always admired your modelling and and your decision to freelance, but still be able to make the over-all impression that it represents a railroad which once simply looked completely believeable to me.

I still enjoy what I've built, and at times, am even enthralled by it, but if you've lost interest in what you started earlier, perhaps a different direction will re-ignite your interest.  Don't let the talents that you've shown us go to waste.

I was speaking with a friend a few days ago, and we both agreed that this hobby, even with all its foibles and in this time where everything sometimes feels oppressive, this is a darn good way to keep occupied and hopeful, and find joy in the things we do, simply because we can do those things. 
I see so many people on the verge of giving-up, and don't doubt that it's because they have nothing of interest to do, except eat, sleep, go to work, come home to nothing.  We can do stuff!!  We can make things!! We can challenge ourselves, whether it's working on the same old layout, or moving on to something more interesting or more challenging.

I think that we all go through the doldrums at some point, but if we have imagination (many do not) we can lift ourselves above it.  Don't give up.

What if there is no focus to begin with? I guess starting out with a track plan does show some focus, but beyond that, it's kind of make it up as you go. I have no era, I have no specific railroad I favor, no industries that serve each other, no story to go with my layout or even parts of it, just things that I like to build that looks right to me. And if they don't look right, I back up and try something else. I'm not even sure that I understand some of the things that I'm suppose to do if I want to mimic a real railroad. My first layout was like that as well, the one that got trashed when we decided to move. This one seems to be heading down the same path, and that should be OK. I haven't run trains in some time now, and that should be OK too since what I'm really interested in is to build things. The older I get, the slower things go and the results aren't always as good as I'd like, but it keeps me busy doing something I enjoy and keeps me out of trouble elsewhere. If that's my focus, then the only thing that has changed is my ability to do things as well as I use to, but I'll still try my best and that's all that should matter.

After all, it's a hobby, much more fun than knitting sweaters, crocheting scarfs or weaving baskets, and it's a lot cheaper than flying model airplanes.
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
Yeah there are times when I wonder if I need to tear it all out and start over. Or change hobbies, or...................
I do garden some and play golf. Once in awhile I bowl or fish and of course I have a multitude of puter games that I play so that keeps me too busy to tear it out for now.

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Kevin, You are the only one you have to please. My modeling is quite far from the others on this forum. I loosely model the transition era middle 50's but if I want a locomotive that wasn't around yet, or long since scrapped that won't stop me. My rolling stock is PRR power and the cars can be any road. I have a curve on the layout too. It is a horseshoe curve, not thee Horseshoe Curve for the reason you state. I admire the fine details that folks do when the build and I would like to detail stock, but I will be building this layout until the meat wagon comes to take me away. You can always buy any equipment and patch it for your own road. That has been going on since railroads began, and that makes a feaseable way to have your own railroad. 

When I was running the Kiski we converted a bay window caboose into a mini coach by adding windows and nice seats.  I had a guy tell me it wasn't prototype... Icon_e_biggrin .   That is what I call a stretch because it is a prototype. 
Just remember, it is a hobby. It will keep you off the streets after curfew.  Icon_lol 
Thanks for the responses, everyone Smile Good to hear others think about this stuff.

Don - I envy your approach. And with 4 year old kids now (both love trains), I get a lot of enjoyment out of just setting eztrack on the floor and watching the train run with my kids. The narrow gauge stuff is off-and-on. Right now my only "model building" consists of fixing old Tyco and Bachmann cars from my youth with new couplers and wheels. When I get a bigger space, I plan on building another layout. I doubt I will have much more room than a 4x8. So maybe occasional floor running is my future for right now.

Wayne - like you I probably want to spend more time with the trains than I have. The hobby really helps me stay calm, happy, and have a connection to my childhood. No matter where I have been, how poor I am, or how busy I am, I have always managed to squeeze in a little model railroading.

I guess I started thinking about this when I was pulling out some old stuff to fix/run. I have a Mantua Atlantic that runs really well, but it is lettered for ATSF. I thought, "gee, maybe just get some Santa Fe passenger cars to go with it rather than finish the ones for my own railroad". Would be so much easier. With the short segments of free time I have now, it would take a long time to re-letter and detail the locomotive and cars to the standard I would want. If I just want to run a nice passenger train on the floor every now and then, buying a few santa fe cars is the way to go.
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I only follow one basic rule - it has to be fun for me.
nachoman Wrote:
Anyone else face this crossroads where you give up on the direction you have been going for years and go a different way?

Yep...decided to try a brand new approach altogether, allowing me more individualism, versatility and unique individuality. It's more than a bit controversial to many, but I folllow The Golden Rule - my gold, my rules! My friend Tom Clancy told me that, many years ago, during a discussion over how to accomplish a particular objective.

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