Monday, 30 January 2012

TMD is this the new BLT?

TMD ( Traction Maintenance Depot I think!) Model railway layouts seem to be springing up all over the place! A quick look through any of the well known model railway forums and web rings will bring up dozens of them.
But what is the great attraction of these TMD layouts? Like the Old GWR branch line terminus they are now becoming a bit of a cliché.
They all seem to feature the same "Knightwing" shed, oil tanks barely big enough to hold enough diesel for an average garage forecourt never mind refuel dozens of class 66 locos, three or four sidings each holding at least 3 class 66 in various gaudy liveries some of which in reality would never be seen on shed together, and last but not least at least 20 or 30 lamp posts of one sort or another with full lights blazing even though it is broad daylight! (Not very green  is it?)
Then there is the question of sound! just imagine the sound of half a dozen class 66s engines ticking over waiting to move off, some of which will sit there for hours on end with their engines idling away, again not very   environmentally friendly.
I have come the conclusion that those who built these TMD type layouts just want to let people know how many engines they have got! Not what modelling skills they have.
Another thing that I have always wondered is why are all such layouts called XXXX Road or XXXX Lane? Rather than something like Bescot, Saltley, Long sight and so on. Strange that.

The old faithful GWR BLT (NO, NOT Bacon Lettuce and Tomato but Branch Line Terminus) was the fore runner of the TMD  and nearly all space starved railway modellers built one of these, The cliché here being that they are nearly always based on Ashburton or some other equally chocolate box lid looking place in Devon in pre war GWR days, with the ubiquitous class 14xx and auto trailer and 45xx and B set. 

Most of both these type of layouts that I have had the pleasure of looking at either on the internet or at exhibitions seem to be fully stocked with Locomotives and stock   "straight out of the box" with little or no attempt to disguise the fact. I remember on one layout I was looking at seeing two "Hall" class locos from the same manufacturer on the layout together with the same name and number! I thought there was only one "Ravingham Hall" not two!

Now those who have read this far without feeling the need to hit the keyboard and fire off a snotty message or equally snotty reply should take note of the fact that I too am guilty of some of the above.
My current exhibition layout pen Y Bont is in fact a clichéd BLT. But, in my defence, it is NOT set in rural Devon, But in Rural mid Wales, IT is NOT set in pre war GWR Days, But, near to the end of steam traction on what became BR Western region. I DO NOT operate any RTR locos or stock straight out of the box, all my stock as been customised and weathered to suit the time period I have chosen to model. That includes things like buildings and infrastructure as well as stuff that moves, a far cry from the chocolate box setting that comes to mind when some one mentions GWR and BLT in the same sentence!

So what is the point of this blog entry?
Hopefully it will make people think a bit more when considering their next model railway layout and avoid some of the well known clichés when doing so.

Thanks for reading, and  as usual your comments are welcome, please keep replies civil even if you disagree with my ramblings!


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