I fell in love with trains a long time ago, I can’t even remember when, as far as I know, it’s always been like that.
The real ones, old or modern, slow or fast, bringing you across countries and continents, or just across a Swiss valley, diesel, electric, or steam powered.
The bridges and tunnels we build to get them to across mountains, how we put them on boats to get them to cross the sea, the stations we put in the heart of cities, as cathedrals to the industrial revolution.
But also model trains, historically HO scale, a passion inherited from my father an uncle. I don’t even count the hours spent as a kid reading catalogs, and playing with an ephemeral layout that I would build just for a few hours.
A few years back, after moving to Switzerland, as I had some available space below the office, I decided to give it a try for real, but, long story short, a couple of years later I moved from that office, and the train went back into boxes.
Very recently, the virus hit again, no HO scale anymore for me, it isn’t compatible with life in an apartment, but I decided to build a n scale (1:160) layout with / for my daughters.
Scale model trains have always been a much more complex hobby than what outsiders would imagine, intricate electric networks being necessary to move around these locomotive in a way that could at least give the illusion of reality. In recent years things have changed a bit, like in so many other sectors, due to transistors, microchips, and computers.
What electric complexity model scale layouts have lost has been replaced by software, digital decoders, and digital control stations, with the result that this hobby is even more appealing to me than it ever was, as it now stands at the crossroads of my two passions: trains and computers.
I am only at a very preliminary stage, experimenting to decide which track to use, what type of switches, how to power them, and trying to make the right choices in many other fields, to find the right balance between realism, complexity, time involved and my personal skills ( I am not too bad with mechanics, electricity and electronics, but definitely not so good with woodwork for instance ).
I decided to document this journey to my first real layout here, as it will involve tons of research, first as a way to record my progress, then a way to share it with other people interested by the same subject.