I HAVE been not a little surprised to receive so many letters about miniature and model railways. Both the adult and juvenile populations of this country, it would seem, are far more interested in the running of miniature railways and the building and running of model locomotives than is generally imagined -
The spark of interest is, I think, at once kindled by the very first railway journey we make in our youth; and this spark never really goes out. In some of us it blazes into bright flame; in others it merely glows into a moderate interest, while in a few instances it remains more or less quiescent. Judging from the success of Railway Wonders of the World, the initial spark shows no sign of ever being extinguished.
There are many of them.
HOW and why these lines were built will be explained, and there is no denying that there is considerable fascination to be found in services that are run on lines with as small a gauge as 15-
In a number of places, also, miniature railways have been built for use in large country houses and estates, where the distance from the local station is considerable, or where the owner of the property is mechanically minded, and wishes to run a railway for his own recreation. There are many such lines in this country, and quite a number of notable people are adept at driving the locomotives which have sometimes, in fact, been built by themselves. It would surprise you if you could see some of the well-
This leads me to the subject of models, which, although running on rails of 2½ inch gauge or less (compare this with the 4 ft 8½-
Part 7 will also contain a chapter describing the great testing plant at Vitry, in France, which is used for recording locomotive performances. The locomotives remain stationary while running on rollers, so that the railway engineers can more easily acquire the data that is so important an aid to the improvement of design. Testing a locomotive is one of the most interesting of railway tasks and calls for a high degree of skill and knowledge. It is very special work and without it we could not hope for the progress that everyone demands from the world’s railways.
ANOTHER interesting chapter will be that dealing with the railways of Japan, for considerable strides have been made on Japanese railway work during the past few years. We shall also continue the section (begun in the Part which you now have before you) that presents so fascinating a picture of the railway in Eastern Africa. How few of us realize what the pioneers did to make transport possible through lion-
The construction of a railway in conditions of ever-
My correspondence proves to me that everyone is just as interested in the railways of his own country as in the railways of distant lands. And here I must ask those readers who have experienced a slight delay in receiving replies to their interesting letters to be a little patient, since my “railway mail” seems to be growing larger and larger every week, and I have to deal with them in rotation.