Saturday, December 15, 2012

A "Christmas" visit to a local model railroad, and a virtual trip to the Smokies

Today, I visited a free exhibit of the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders, showing a model  (HO) of portions of the Western North Carolina Railroad as it might have looked in the 1950s.  The exhibit is located in “downtown” Vienna, VA on the Washington and Old Dominion Bike Trail.

The exhibit is unusual in that the model railroad runs on at least three elevation levels, with a helix out-of-sight to elevate the trains.  Visitors can stand next only the lowest level.  On the lower left, there is a model of a portion of the Piedmont town of Salisbury NC.  The actual railroad ran to Asheville and then south, along the Blue Ridge, to Murphy.

The layout also has a streetcar track running parallel to some of the railroad.  At a few points, one can spot trains and tunnels at different levels within short proximity (including a little bit of the “underground” helix), as if different layers of reality could be experienced with very little movement in physical space.

The link for the club is here.

The exhibit is of interest to me because I didn’t “get in” a trip to the Smokies this October, but expect to go next summer (including a visit to Oak Ridge).

I think an exhibit that shows the same area in different time eras in repeating panels (or perhaps radially with distance from the center representing time, and  radian measure representing distance) could be interesting.  Or, in fact, time could be correspond to elevation.  
Could a model railroad be set up as a Mobius strip?

Update: Dec. 12, 2015

I revisited the annual exhibit today.  There appears to be a model of Brown Mountain with at least one light near the back ("Asheville" is hidden.).

Salisbury is shown in detail.

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