On the Road to Darjeeling
By John D'Angelo
John D’Angelo has been reporting on the progress of the group building the 2-foot gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Earlier reports can be found at the Trainz Narrowgaugers page. - Ed
Running along the Cart Road.
It has been a while since I wrote my last article for Virtual Railroader about the Trainz Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. We are now heading into spring and I feel that an update on the project is due.
Are folks still working on the project? The answer to that question is a resounding yes and I can say comfortably that not only is the project still being worked on, but it is also making great gains as the various sections of the route are completed. Although I am not directly involved in the creation of the route and the myriad details that are being discussed, designed, created and installed, I do get copied on the messages between the folks bringing this model to life. Let me tell you this….They are Busy!
I didn’t get to my computer for a day and when I got to it, there were 40 email messages dealing with different aspects of the project! That’s a lot of mail, but it is also reflective of the high amount of creating that is going on. Take a look at the picture above of the Toy Train (as Mark Twain called it) traveling along the Cart Road. All of the elements in that single picture have been created and worked upon by the Trainz DHR team of Peter Pardoe-Matthews, Bill Slack, David Drake, Ted Stuckey, Andy Turnbull and Noel Brettoner. Of course, holding it all together is the spirit of Franklin Prestage.
It is astounding to me when I think about how much work actually has been done to create the model. Bill Slack created the original hills to scale, and laid the mainline from start to finish. Peter Pardoe-Matthews then created the rolling stock. He also created special rail sections, the roads and stone walls in splines so they could be curved to match the track route. David Drake created a massive number of special foliage, trees, buildings, people, automobiles and animals. Tony Weber created numerous buildings and custom objects and Ted Stuckey is doing work as a “scenery dresser” building sections of the line. Noel Brettoner is also working hard to create areas of the route from the myriad custom items and textures.
The detail is right down to items such as automobiles modeled from cars that have been seen on videos the group studied; and to give you an idea of just how far this has gone, I saw an email to David Drake that praised his work in creating dogs for village scenes. Then came a request “Do you think you can make any dogs that are lying down?” Dave complied and now there will be village scenes that have dogs lying down in them.
The route is not being done in sequence from bottom to top or from top to bottom. Right now sections are getting completed and then being added to the route, filling in the blanks as everything progresses along, somewhat like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Here are some screenshots of the route in various stages of completion:
Siphedura Approach with the Cart Road and some landscaping added.
A fully detailed mountainside.
North of Batasia Loop.
The Buddhist Temple.
Even these screenshots do not do full justice to the model. As the creative work continues, additional details such as trackside items, cars, people and other fine details will be added to bring the route to life. For an amazing look at the model in action please visit the Trainz Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Project web site.
When you are at the site, visit the “Screenshots” section and you can view the videos that have been made of the route in action. The video entitled “Hill Station Bazaar on the DHR” is especially exciting because of all the extra detail that has been placed alongside the track. The videos are silent, so you will just have to imagine the sound of the little steam train chugging its way through the narrow streets of the Bazaar. In addition, please browse the site so you can see details of various items of interest.
This project has not been an easy task, and every day the creators have to deal with new problems as they crop up. When the project is completed, the route will not be like any other Trainz route, just as the original railway is not like any other railway in the world. I can tell you this: it is certainly worth waiting for!
Article and screen shots ©2007 John D'Angelo. All rights reserved.
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