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Recreate a prototype photo on your garden railway

By John Vorhes | May 24, 2022

Use your camera to step back in time

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Garden railway scene with a steam locomotive, depot, and several figures in a sepia tone

Recreate a prototype photo: If you are a history nut like me, authenticity is important on your layout. I model the Kansas Central narrow gauge line that tried to build across Kansas in the 1870s to connect with the Denver & Rio Grande in Colorado.

Black and white photo of a railroad depot, with six standing men and a passenger car nearby.
The author used this photo as the basis for the scene on his garden railway. Courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society

It met with competition from the standard gauge Kansas Pacific and wound up running out of investors in the little town of Miltonvale, only 166 miles from its starting point at Leavenworth. It was no heroic Western saga.

Garden railway scene with a steam locomotive, depot, and several figures
The author captured this scene after recreating the scene from the old photo. Photo by John Vorhes

In sympathy, I built the Miltonvale Depot based on an old photo, then posed my Bachmann Mogul and a few figures and reproduced the scene, not exactly but close enough. I took the photo, added a sepia tint, and stepped back in time.

Garden railway scene with a steam locomotive, depot, and several figures in a sepia tone
The author felt a sepia tone captured the tone using photo editing software. Photo by John Vorhes

Have fun with your camera. Find an old photo and try to recreate the scene on your garden railway.

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