Even I have to admit that it’s a bit curious that my enjoyment of this hobby is derived from the pursuit of reproducing in miniature the banality of 1970s railroading. Is that what a hobby is supposed to be? Military modellers are probably the closest cousins to our hobby, and they typically go for the most legendary pieces of warfare hardware from history. Many model railroaders will aim for the spectacular: the Rocky Mountains, Tehachapi, Horseshoe Curve. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find anything in that kind of modelling offensive in any way, but you’ll find no turbines or articulated steam locomotives in my scale world. My layout is like an anti-spectacle.
I think there are a few reasons for this, not the least of which is the fact that I’m reproducing what I saw as a small child. In the early 70s, I wasn’t old enough to understand any of what I was seeing, regardless of the state of the industry, the entirety of railroading was a spectacle to me. The oily smells, thunderous sounds, and vast array of curious railroad names on the sides of boxcars activated my imagination. According to anyone not captivated by railroading at the time, it was a dead and bloated industry that seemed forever looking for ways to save itself. Here I am getting hours of enjoyment from creating a reproduction of this less-than-glorious moment in American industrial history. To an outsider, it surely is a curious way to spend one’s spare time.
Here are some boring shots of a boxcar I weathered the other day. I hope you enjoy looking at the pics as much as I enjoyed putting the scene together.