As the title suggests I have reached a fork in the road with my modelling and have decided to head down a new path.
I have been freelancing for about 10 years and it has been fun creating a railway that was mine. Freelancing can give you a lot of freedom to have what ever model you want. There can also be a downside because there is no guide book to say how your railway should be. As some one who's goal is to have a realistic railway I was finding I was spending lots of time agonising about the myriad of choices that freelancing involves. Instead of enjoying my modelling I was researching different options and often dissatisfied with the choices I had made. There is nothing wrong with freelancing but at this point in my modelling life it just wasn't working for me.
If I look back I have known this for some time and I have been exploring prototypes to model both consciously and sub consciously for the last twelve months. There is so many options these days for a modeller to choose. If I was going to model a prototype it had to be something that had meaning, preferably something I have seen, have a reasonable amount of rolling stock available as I don't want to scratch build everything.
It probably isn't that big a surprise that I have chosen to model the Victorian Railways 30 inch gauge branch lines as it ticks all the boxes for me. The Bogong & Geehi has always drawn inspiration from the VR and I had planned to use quite a bit of the VR rolling stock. I wanted to model the VR when I got into On30 in 2005 but the lack of motive power has been a stumbling block. Since then I have managed to acquire a couple engines but I didn't have a model of the garratt G42 which I consider a must. I was fortunate to buy a kit produced by Phil Badger of G42 late last year. I now had all I needed and so I spent about 6 months considering making the change.
There is no doubt that modelling a prototype can cut back on creativity as lots of decisions have been made for me. That said I am finding I am getting a lot more modelling done and I am seeing details in photos I have never noticed before. I considered modelling one of the branches closely specially the Walhalla branch but that would have meant having to rip out what I had built and start a new layout. In the end though I have decided that a freelanced branch was the way to go. I don't have to make many modifications to the current layout as most of the towns are based on VR prototypes.
So the new layout is the Bogong & Geehi branch of the Victorian Railways. The branch was opened in 1903 to Geehi in north east Victoria and latter extended to Mt Bogong in 1908 to service the tin mines. I will be taking elements from all of the four real VR branches and possibly from the broad gauge branches in the region.
I have been hard at work putting a train together. The carriages need weathering and I still need to add lights to the Na but it is nice to see my first VR train trundling over the layout.
So I am happy to look forward to a new phase on my model railway journey. I have enjoyed the freelanced Bogong & Geehi and I have learnt a lot but it has now become another chapter along with On3 D&RGW, HOn3 D&RGW and HO American.