Way back in the late 1970s Model Railroader published an article by Earl Smallshaw. It was Earl’s view that the front of a building wasn’t half as interesting as the back of a building … especially when it came to the tenaments found in major US cities .. and that idea has always stuck in my mind.
Even here in Australia the back of a building can be a whole lot more interesting than the front … and modelling the back of a row of town buildings can deliver a much more interesting scene than modelling the scene from the street.
I took this photo in Childers (Queensland) a couple of weeks ago when the lineside detail caught my eye.
The street side of this view is your usual bustling and prosperous country town. Lots of cars, lots of trees … and quite a few people. And that would be interesting to model but what’s out back … along the railway line … is even more interesting.
There are public toilets sheltering under a shady tree (1) … a pile of used tyres (2) waiting to be shipped off to a recycler … 40′ containers (3) … an open shed that you could load up with detail (4) … the back end of the town’s swimming pool complete with pumps and filters (5) … a beautiful old wooden structure that has a very imposing facade facing the street (6) … and the 610mm gauge track that’s part of the Isis sugar mill’s cane line network.
On the town side of the track the grass is neatly cut while on the other side it’s not so neat. There are plenty of trees and they tower over most of the buildings … and there aren’t many fences.
This might be a cane railway but that doesn’t mean that the trackwork isn’t kept in top condition. This photo was taken before any pre-season maintenance work was done yet where are the weeds and the grass growing between the rails.
Here at least the trackwork is in good condition with plenty of clean ballast in place … and there are warning signs for the loco drivers too. The one facing away from the camera warns drivers that they are approaching a busy level crossing.
You could spend weeks modelling all the lineside detail that you can see in this photo and it would be a real talking point for visitors.