I think we could use a photo like this as a primer for the urban landscape. It’s certainly one I’ll be returning to often for all those composition lessons it offers.

There really isn’t much change in the grade between the track and the nearby road. For much of the length of this spur, this is the case. For the modeller, life gets much simpler since we’re laying track on the same deck as the roadway with little or no need to raise the track on cork or a similar roadbed product. On a model railway, my temptation would be to perhaps arrange the scene so the front edge is centred on the roadway. Note that while the track and road are close to the same elevation, the land does slope upward as you move deeper into the scene. Speaking of elevation changes, we’re looking down this spur and at the end is the track bumper I posted about earlier so that’s another subtle change in the land that is a part of this spur.

I think it’s also interesting how close the road and the track are to each other. It must be tight in here when trying to bring a truck down the road if you meet oncoming traffic.

Many of the buildings along this spur are fairly non-descript. Detail here isn’t in layer after layer of Victorian finery but more in the composition of the overall scene. In many ways, it’s a study in the richness that minimalism can offer. The buildings are close together and fairly generic in design and construction. They represent a fascinating study in the evolution of construction and maintenance. Some have been updated to appear more modern and others have suffered from deferred maintenance.

In developing the story of our model railways there is a lot to learn from streets like this one. It would be easy to try and incorporate everything in this scene in the limited space that our railways often occupy so it’s a balance where we pick the elements that best contribute to our story. This is an area that may not be as busy as it once was but it certainly isn’t done yet.

Categories: How I think

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1 reply

  1. Reblogged this on esngblog and commented:
    The Prince Street Terminal Blog is one of my favourites – lots of small layout ideas and some traction interest. This recent post says a lot about ‘less is more’ in models and the how to compose and detail your layout scene.

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