Saturday essay: First things first
The model train platform is down for another year. But that doesn't mean it's out of mind.
The brand-new, eight-line N-gauge platform performed flawlessly this past Christmas season. Two light-rail vehicles traversed the city; there was a switcher engine that ferried freight cars around its periphery. A full freight line wended its way up and down the mountainside; below, a coal line and another freight line ran in the mountain's shadow and beneath it through two tunnels. And two long-haul passenger lines were, at least for this model railroader, the large platform's pi è ce de r é sistance.
But as any engineer in miniature will tell you, no train platform ever really is “completed.” And almost from the day it went up for its month-long run, new ideas — improvements here, additions there — were being calculated for their practicality and aesthetics.
More realistic tunnel portals will be easy and fun to design and build. But a long, curved and very high trestle for one of the freight lines will be a junior engineering challenge and take scores of hours to build.
That said, sitting all boxed up and begging to be run for the next eight or so months is a just-obtained Southern Pacific diesel that will pull a consist of 10 passenger cars. Its red, orange and black paint scheme will be striking next to the blue and gray of the Baltimore & Ohio line that will run alongside it.
Of course, all of this will have to wait a bit. After all, I've a greenhouse to get ready for spring.
— Colin McNickle
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.