Thursday, September 9, 2010

Old World vs New World

Sadly I don't have much to report on the model train front, time seems to have been at a premium lately and apart from watching my little n scale train running around inside the coffee table for a while I haven't done anything constructive.

However that's not to say that trains are ever far from my mind, I guess traveling for two and half hours a day on an interurban V-Set between Woy Woy and Central tends to help in that respect.

I must digress for a moment and say how much my fellow commuters are not looking forward to our lovely comfortable V-Sets being replaced with the new generation Oscars which are about as comfortable as sitting on a milk crate for any more than about ten minutes.

However, this kind of brings me around to the topic for this post, that of acknowledging the passing of time and the changes that it brings along with it, whether we like it or not.

A point in case was this morning, after disembarking from my train at Central at 6:19am and meandering slowly along the edge of the opposite side of the platform and looking at the sleepers, I noticed a point where the old (who knows how old) wooden sleepers stopped and the new concrete sleepers began. What an interesting photo it would make I thought, and once again the iPhone came to the rescue. Imagine the massive archive of images we'd have from the steam era if capturing every little detail was so simple!

The picture whilst not award winning captures a distinct difference in styles, and arguably shows why I find modelling the old more interesting than the new. Look at the distressed sleepers, splintered ends, the various shades of grey, the rusty finish closer to the rails, the different way the rail is spiked, all combining to create something far more appealing to the eye than simple cast concrete. While even the concrete sleers have some rusty discolouration, they are basically the same, where as each of the three wooden sleepers feature different grain patterns, varying shades of colour and finish, and just overall have a uniqueness about them that just begs to be studied further.

I also snapped a pic of an XPT coming into Central, and remembered back to when they were first released onto the rails of NSW in about 1982, and as a young'n of about eleven how exciting it was to see these new colourful trains whizzing about to far of places. That's not to say that I preferred them to the old indian red 44's, 422's and 421's I used to watch blast through Kogarah and Allawah station on their way to and from the South Coast with the last of the diesel hauled passenger services before the electrics took over for good, as I caught the train to and from school, but the XPT's were none the less representative of the new taking over from the old.

Here we are almost twenty (edit: actually it's nearly thirty!) years later, and after thinking about it one has to wonder how much longer the XPT's actually have before once again being replaced by something "better". I have no desire to model them myself, but I began to wonder how many people have taken pictures of them for future reference? Could these be another part of the railway that in time we will say "gee why didn't I take a few more photo's of them?".

So whilst a V-Set or XPT are not particularly interesting things right now, I will make a concerted effort to take that extra few seconds every now and then to make sure I capture a little bit of the "old" before the "new" replaces it for good.