An Introduction to Monsal Dale to Millers Dale
Monsal Dale to Millers Dale is a small British model railway being built by an English expat in Wisconsin, USA. I want to recreate in
some small way key elements of the Derbyshire countryside that I enjoy so much. Monsal Dale and Millers Dale are small
towns located in what is known as the White Peak part of the Peak District; white as in limestone (this being the exposed bed
rock and thus the main traditional building material). The limestone affects the whole look of the area right down to the colour
of the grass.

I like to keep my model building simple these days. So I chose to use readily available set-track. I wanted to have continuous
running as well as an area to run engines slowly and do basic shunting and operational movements. So I came up with the
track plan and a baseboard size (using materials I had available and wanted to try) small enough to be mobile.
I like the mid-line scenic break idea because it allows all of the area to be scenic and yet provides the benefit of a scenic break
in creating two distinct areas. For this to work, you need to create some height, so my main limestone edge was conceived.
This is how my fantasy version of Millers Dale came to be. It's based on just two photos found in the book "Through
Limestone Hills," by Bill Hudson. The back slope of the edge nicely represents another photo from the same book depicting
Monsal Dale station. Both of these stations (especially Millers Dale) have more extensive trackwork and fascilities in reality.

I also wanted to experiment on this layout with more of my own ideas along a few I've read about. I'm particularly
interested in ideas of "scale colour" and "scale effect." As an artist I understand how colour, contrast, and definition change
with distance. This isn't relevant to a model railway if you see it as a miniature in it's own right. But, if you think of the model
as the full size object viewed at a distance, such that a real engine looks the same size as your scale model engine, then things
change. The distance for this to occur would be about 230 feet in 1/76th scale. Now imagine how the colour, contrast, and
definition might look at that distance.

On a clear day the colour may not change very much over that distance, but certainly the definition does. Can you really see
every individual 2" stone in the track ballast (as you can on your model track)? Or are you just seeing a colour where the
ballast is? Do you see the paving lines on that platform top or just a varying grey surface? Do you see individual blades of grass
or a green swathe? Imagine just a little moisture in the air -- an autumn morning or balmy summer's evening. The colours will
be more muted, the contrast reduced, and definition softened further. Darks lighten, lights darken, edges blur. Using these
thoughts we can see how to change and harmonise the overall colours of a model railway, and perhaps create a feeling of
reality at a distance rather than that of a model up close.
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