A primer for

This is another of those things you find and yet can’t remember how you arrived at its door. From the Operations Special Interest Group’s website and authored by Barry Cott, the Primer for Narrow Gauge and Shortline Operations. It’s a PDF you can read by clicking on this link: www.opsig.org/pdf/CottPrimer.pdf.

I have only skimmed through it but I am already very impressed with the concept and look forward to reading it, in more detail, soon. Perhaps later on today after I shovel out the mountain of snow that fell last night and continues to fall today. As a celebratory act and in the accompaniment of a glass of well-earned wine.


At the heart of a fascination with local railroading is the idea of a railroad more closely linked with the people it was created to serve. Traditionally we describe this relationship in terms of shorter trains and customers that load single or parts of cars on a more relaxed pace. “You need a car of coal? Sure, we’ll just leave the car here as it will be easier to unload.” Somehow, to my imagination, it just feels like work driven by a more conscious relationship with purpose.

The man and the model…

I’m impressed with the large layout with the carefully orchestrated session. In this session, the operator might be more like a puppeteer in terms of his relationship with his role. Perhaps the shortline version of the session offers an alternate that is as much about the real people playing with the models as it is with the play we’re staging? Neither approach is “right” or “better” and I’m proud of opportunities to participate in both.

But how?

Work like this Primer might serve not only as tools to educate the modeller but if read before design and construction begins, could serve as a tool to help guide that design process. If you like what you read, when you read the Primer, than it could provide a framework around which the design of the model railroad could be created. Design from purpose is always good design.



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