Allen Keller sits down with narrow gauge modeler Bob Brown to discuss the planning and inspiration for his Tuolumne Forks model railroad. Brown has been able to inspire the devotion of the narrow gauge community through his modeling and the publishing and editing of his magazine, The Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette. Brown has what he calls a fellowship of fine modelers who send cards and call in to the gazette to give praise and criticism. Brown has been publishing for over 30 years.
Narrow gauge appeals so much to Brown because of the rundown equipment and the atmosphere of a vintage railroad with clutter and litter. This clutter and litter is due to the fact that most narrow gauge railroads didn’t sell old equipment but rather just threw them to the side or reused the parts. Narrow gauge has a wonderful overhung look with equipment hunkering down on the track that completes the quaint atmosphere.
Modern railroads lack this atmosphere for Brown. He also enjoys all of the distressing of wood and other features. Scratchbuilders are drawn to narrow gauge modeling because it offers interesting and unique models to build. Many contests modelers also are building in ON-3 scale because these are the models that frequently win.