Merry Christmas

“I saw Rye & Camber and I just had to send this to you.”

That’s the note my friend, here in Halifax, who I share a fascination with Japanese N scale, narrow gauge anything, weird scale and gauge combinations, and British model trains with. Through the year, I love sharing into our little email list (James, Glenn, Peter, and me) fun and quirky models that seem to connect us by the way they fire our imaginations. Those words were James’ and the note he wrote inside this beautiful Christmas card he sent me.

My favourite way to see this hobby is “how they connect us”. We love this idea of how real trains are a way to connect across distance and I’m convinced the models are every bit as effective. Our share in this passion equals and probably even exceeds a ticket to ride the real thing. It would be harder to find an example of this than this one and a card that my friend, here in Halifax, sent to me is one my good friend in Wales actually created.

James Hilton’s artwork is superb. He has an intimate style that feels like how the ideas of these trains is in my imagination. My own connection to the hobby is first to the models and born in the work of those who themselves created models inside their own fictions. Highly imaginative work like that make it easy to see how the hook is set and how a lifelong interest is made possible and why I love these things so much.

I love this connection. This feels like a perfect expression of Christmas in its finest form. Thank you James and James.

Categories: How I think

2 replies

  1. Hold the imaginary Rye &Camber in your minds and models. There’s a lovely Rye & Camber model in the Col Stephens Museum nearby in Tenterden (by Laurie Cooksie I think, who wrote the book). Almost nothing survives of the real line save the Golf Club Halt building (modified) in the background of the picture and some rails in the concrete. I’m not sure they ever had much snow there! But in your imaginal landscape, it can be as you wish.

    Happy Christmas and thanks for the inspirations, Chris and James.


    • Sorry for my late reply.

      What a lovely comment. It feels equal to the power of inspiration that is the Rye & Camber. I think I’ve been hooked on the R&C since the early 1990’s when a friend introduced it to me. So many things from real railways and model railways inspire our imaginations but there seems to be something extra in railways like the R&C and the Talyllyn Railway that goes beyond just inspiring work to enriched emotional and imaginative places. James’ beautiful R&C artwork is a superlative example of that. What he’s created looks familiar because it feels like how it feels when I think about the railway—that sense of emotionally-informed connection. It reminds me of wanting to explore a model not just of the railway as it is but of an expression of how I see it.

      I’m so grateful that even the little bit of the R&C that exists does. Exploring it was the first place I went on my first explorations using Google Earth. I even bought Microsoft’s Train Simulator because there was a R&C route.



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