The sun beats down in southern California (or is it southern Texas?) port of Santa Margarita. In the shimmering heat an oil-burning locomotive
shuffles onto the turntable and out on the exit track, stopping for some sand, water and fuel oil.
Roundhouse is a micro-layout that will form part of a Southern Pacific and Santa Fe joint line. It is an opportunity to display some N scale stock collected over the years, and to experiment with some 2mm modelling ideas. Track is a mixture of 2mm finescale, Atlas and Peco (in the hidden section). The structures are a mixture of scratch built, doctored kits and commercial detailing.
As night falls, and the heat gradually subsides a little to a clammy 80º Fahrenheit, a Southern Pacific articulated Cab-Forward comes on shed, closely followed by a group of F7 diesels, recently acquired by the Santa Fe, and scheduled for tomorrow’s “Medicine Man” streamliner to Chicago.
With imagination, and a little bit of theatre, lack of space should not be a complete constraint on model railways. This little layout has no switches (points!) at all, and perhaps by next year you might be able to see the dock served by the railroad where a US Navy destroyer, fresh from patrol in the Korean War, is visiting. Much remains to be done – weathering and modification of stock, completion of scenery – but perhaps you might accept that it is more important to get something running and enjoy it rather than strive for completion. The journey is more important than the arrival – or at least so it seems under those palm trees, sipping an ice- cold Budweiser and watching the local switcher engine push an oil tanker into the yard……………