“A model railway isn’t a model railway until it has a name”.
I can’t remember who told me that but it’s a rule I’ve always stuck with.
Giving your layout makes it feel more real. It transforms it from being a collection of models to a glorious micro rendition of rural Britain.
But what to call it?
For my 1:76th scale layout, for example, this was just a case of using a mash-up of the real places where it’s set: in near Wimbledon, in South London, around the River Wandle… Hence Wandle Valley
But it’s not always so easy to come up a name.
You don’t really want to use a real place name (unless you are recreating that precise loco action in miniature) for fear of some asking why it doesn’t look like the real location.
At the same time coming up with genuine sounding but artificial place names can be surprisingly difficult. Somehow the made up names never have that unique quaintness of real British places. Just look at some of these real place names…
Briggsworth, Huton Mulgrave, Sleights… Just perfect. (That these real locations right next to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway NYMR is just icing on the cake).
Luckily A.I. has come to the rescue.
American Dan Hon has fed a list of real British place names into an Artifical Intelligence system to come up with a list of wonderful sounding British but completely false place names.
The names all have that unusual quaintness only British places seem to have. My favourites include:
- Brutters Common
- Twettle Row
- Wallow Manor
And perfect for layouts.
I wonder how many of these will pop up at shows in the future?
If you name your layout with one of these please let me know, I’d love to hear about it!
Picture credit: anguskirk via Flickr. Reproduced under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.
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