The kids and I have been reading a wonderful pair of books by Stefan Bachmann. The Peculiar and The Whatnot are set in a version of Victorian England on the cusp of war with faeries from an alternate world. It’s an evocative steam punk vision of technology diverted from steam-power to magical-power. A grimy, gritty world of “mechanicalchemy” and strange inventions.
It is also a world in which trains figure prominently. Bachmann’s London features a roof-level passenger line. I can easily imagine street-level goods trains jostling with the cabs and steam cars to deliver the raw materials of imaginative industry.
Together with the ideas of engaging with the Maker community to foster innovation and learning through model railroading, the books have inspired me to think about a micro layout that we could take to events here in the lower mainland.
The layout would feature the elevated railway that Mr Jelliby rode to visit with the bird-Maker. This would be a continuous loop, but only one line of the parallel tracks would be operational, and would cut across the inside track to turn in an oval beneath the city roof tops. The loop train would be automated to stop at the station.
Below, a freight line would serve a mill of some sort, and this would provide a switching puzzle. The fiddle track end of the freight line would also run beneath the roof tops. The operator would stand behind and uncoupling would be automated using Alex Jackson couplers.
I have quite a few period figures I could contribute; I would pick up a few trolls and elves from Games Workshop to pull the location into Peculiar territory. Maybe we could repurpose our Thomas trains as they’ve not been used in a while. So, we could pull this off with relatively small expense.
Surely, I have enough projects, though, and this one should get added to the list of ideas that will never get built.