Keeping the Coals Hot

Mere Modellers and Other Pastimes

A Reprint of an Article in The Coupling of September 1999 - by Mark Stapleton

Well, well, well, I think it may be safe to exit the bunker, but you never know. The response to my 'Opening Shot' reminds me of when Steam Magazine had 'City of Truro' painted in BR lined mixed traffic livery as an April fools joke...

I get the feeling that not everyone realised that the controversial sentence ended with a smiley face :) which means "I am saying this with tongue in cheek", or the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the author. However, I was out to encourage healthy debate or a least some good stories.

We all collect things, friends, memories or even model trains. That said, Mike Walton got off the pot and wrote a great story, which I believe could be re-titled - 'Philby, Burgess, MacLean, Blunt and WALTON, the Tri-ang connection'

I note that 3-rail enthusiasts "are a bunch of wimps" and are less radical (thus conservative?). Hornby three rail came in blue boxes and three rail was considered not very realistic. (Much like conservatives.....sorry, must be the red wine!)

So Mike, WHAT has happened since 1974? Could you perhaps enlighten those of us who may not know what your weight transfer mechanism is all about? I think some of us could benefit from something that defies the laws of adhesion. Would you consider exhibiting your Roland Emmett style portable layout if built? Would you let me run my OO GWR locos on it?

By the way, what is Roland Emmett's style?

I find stories of our respective journeys with railways fascinating, especially the philosophy behind our modelling choices. I am sure I am not alone in second guessing my decisions, after all I keep some OO to run on the layouts of the narrow minded infidels. (Just kidding OK?)

P4 is my personal journey, and for the most part I enjoy it, so I will continue down that road, but like Mike, I have more interests than time.

Therein lies the problem, it would be lovely to build an O scale narrow gauge layout of the Welsh Highland or Jersey railways, or even a OO portable GWR layout. Time will not allow it for the moment, so I focus on what I can do (and enjoy), not what I would do if the planets lined up properly.

The Coupling allows us to inform and entertain, and there are some great stories out there waiting to be told. Every now and then one has to stand up, take a stand (perhaps controversial) and run for cover. It can be entertaining, informative and a lot of fun.

Try it. Oh, and open a decent bottle while you're at it....

© Mark Stapleton - 1999

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April 2001