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Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains

When Is a Body of Work Complete?

If you've been paying attention to the Family Garden Trains "letters to the editor" section, you'll see that (except for that "O-gauge Outside" question that keeps coming up), very few inquiries come in that aren't already addressed in one or more of my articles. That tells me that I am close to completing my goal of providing the 20% of information about garden railroading that 80% of newbies need to build a working, attractive, reliable, and (relatively) low-maintenance garden railroad. My articles won't make a "master gardener," "master modeler," or even a "master garden railroader" out of anybody, but they'll get them to a point where they understand the principles enough to try things out and have something to show for it, while they're researching other aspects of the hobby elsewhere.

So those of you who were afraid I was going to keep cranking out new articles on core subjects indefinitely can breath a sign of relief - I've just about run out of "core" subjects. In fact the article I have just published is the third-to-the-last "core" reference article I plan to write, at least for the forseeable future. This one was critical since I've spent five years telling my readers to raise their railroads, but I've never explained how to get the rest of the garden up where the track is. It probably should have been three or more articles, but I'm taking advantage of the web's flexibility to pour a book's worth of content and information into one web "page" (that will take up about 15 pages worth of paper if you print it out).

After this, there is one more large core article on a major subject I've been neglecting, and one small core article to fill in a small, but noticeable gap in my coverage. (I won't tell in advance what those articles will be about, because I want to have my articles online before the folks who have been dogging me with "me-to" articles with "soundalike" titles get theirs theirs posted.)

I also have two product reviews to finish.

When those articles are done, I'll pick up Jack V's new book and resubscribe to GR so I can see what other folks have been coming up with while I was still struggling with putting my limited amount of current knowledge into usable form. (I'm especially hopeful that Jack's book will provide the reference that the hobby has been needing since Marc and Russ's tome became more useful for historical research than anything else.) Since Jack's book comes out in a month, I have a timeframe. . .

From that point on, I expect to spend more time updating the articles I've already written (some of which are a little long in the tooth) and reorganizing the site for usability. I have a few "non-core" articles in mind, including two promised product reviews, so I'll keep my writing "chops" up, don't worry. But the "corpus" is largely complete, unless I've overlooked something that is obvious to everyone else but me.

It's a little early to "thank the academy," but I'd like to renew my heartfelt thanks to all the great people on this list who have been offering suggestions, improvements, assistance, and photographs to help our online resource become as useful as it is. In no particular order, this includes George, Nick, Carl, Fred, Dave, Wil, Pete, Peter, Noel, Noel, Larrry, Lewis, Kaydee, Vance, Scot, Ric, David, Tony, Tony, Marc, Jon, Dick, Dick, Kevin, Eric, and Ray and a dozen others whose contribution I'll remember as soon as I press the button.

Please let me know if you have any feedback, and have a great summer,

See you online,


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