Australian Model Railway Magazine

Bookends

A few days ago a package I wasn’t expecting arrived in the mail. After the postie handed it to me I turned it over and discovered the reason this particular item’s arrival came as something of a surprise. Printed on the back of the package was the name of one of our better known HO manufacturers. All became clear: my HO NSWGR 48 class locomotive had arrived. While my initial confusion was partly due to it being quite a while since I’d ordered the 48, it also arose from the fact that at the time of writing I’m waiting on the arrival of a slightly larger 48 from the same manufacturer. However, in spite of my temporary confusion, I’m sure I shared this experience with quite a few other railway modellers around the country as they eagerly opened their packages to see what Santa had sent them for Christmas.

The arrival of this locomotive in the mail is a bit of a modelling bookend for me in that its release onto the market marks twenty nine years since I purchased my first HO scale 48, on that occasion a Powerline model in ‘red terror’ livery. I feel that the changes that have been wrought in our hobby in the almost three decades between my purchases of these two locomotives are worth reflecting on. Not so much as a chance to have a good old wallow in that rose tinted era we all know as the ‘good old days’, when we uncomplainingly constructed locomotives from empty biscuit tins, baling twine and sticky tape, and were glad of the luxury of the sticky tape, but more as a way to help us gauge just how far the hobby has come in that time and give us some perspective on how good we’ve got it these days.

I was seventeen when I commenced a thirteen year absence from the hobby and can even remember

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