Saturday, 9 January 2016


As most of you will know by now, I am developing a love of railroad modelling, not as you might expect for the trains per se, but rather the joy of creating a small section of the world in miniature, thus keeping my hand in with my artistic skills whilst not doing what I do for a living in my spare time unless I choose to do so.

From the outset, I've gone with digital control, which unlike the traditional controller which allows control of a single locomotive, means that you can run multiple locos simultaneously, allowing for a much better sense of movement on a layout.

The rub of course is that the infrastructure is more expensive as you not only need a DCC control system, but in addition, every loco needs a decoder chip fitted at a cost of around £50.

What makes things even more expensive for me, is that whilst I have a small OO layout depicting a rail yard in 1980s Britain, and a mothballed Japanese project (until I can get to grips with how that all looks)  my real driving interest is North America in the late 70s to mid 80s, meaning that I have to either pay through the nose for a fairly poor selection in the U.K or find alternative source.

One of my clients was answering a few questions I had on the architecture of North America, and sent me a link for Otter Valley Railroad Model Trains in Ontario, Canada ( ) who specialise in Canadian themed stuff, which as layout 2 is set in Canada, was really useful.

Well, I went over and took a look at the stock list, and was blown away at just how much mark up is being applied to imported stuff, here in the UK.

As a rule of thumb, the dollar price for a loco with factory fitted DCC chip is lower than the Sterling price over here.

Even with shipping and customs fees, a loco which would cost £150 in the UK is going to cost about £95 direct from canada.

What's more the variety of loco numbers (I am admittedly a little OCD about not having identical locos and stock  on a layout) is such that I can populate my layout with unique models, straight out of the box.

The Strong £ means that there has never been a better time to buy from the Great White North, which is what I shall be spending a few hours doing, later today.


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