Part of a conversation with Stewart Auld about childhood passions, the Victorians, craftsmanship, and Rod Stuart.
Last Thursday, Michael went to visit model train enthusiast Stewart Auld at his home in North Berwick. Over the course of his life, Stewart has slowly expanded his model in area and complexity. The set now lives in Stewart’s attic, spanning the entire length of his flat and covering over 60 years of railroad history.
Carefully preserved posters and packaging cover the walls and the electric hum of spinning motors fills the space as Stewart calls the trains to life. He operates the rail network from a large switchboard in the middle of the room, carefully monitoring each trains progress and switching lines to avoid collisions. Without explanation, the process appears almost impenetrably complex, however the system is actually built around a set of rather simply rules. The complexity arises through years of adding more track and the ripple of effects that each new line brings to the system as a whole.
The joy Stewart gets from the trains is clearly visible as he unwraps controllers from the 1950s. Still housed in original packaging, these artefacts have been carefully looked after since his childhood and indicate the respect Stewart has for the tiniest detail. Taken as a whole, the installation is a great illustration of what is possible with ample space, keen interest, and some free time.
You can find some more photos here.
Watch the video in high definition over at Vimeo.