At first, it seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? Let’s face it, picking the era for a model railroad is very much a personal decision. Seeing as I have all night sitting in a hotel room in Rocky Mountain House AB, I’ll try to get into my thoughts on it here.
First off are some very practical concerns when it comes to the steam versus diesel debate. Except for some rare cases (eg. branchlines), it is rare to see a single diesel pulling a train. A pair, or even a trio is much more typical, whereas it was unusual for steam to run with multiple locos on a train. Even in HO scale, a pair of diesels need a substantial train to justify the amount of power. Also, car lengths tend to be longer in newer eras, leading to even longer trains. A universal complaint amongst model railroaders is how much space they have/are allowed to have. Steam helps make the most of the space available. Continue reading Why steam?