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(Guest)    J&C Studios O Gauge Archive    O Scale Washington Union Station    Union Station: The Prototype and the Model
Related Website:   Trains/UnionStation/UnionStation.html
Topic: Union Station: The Prototype and the Model
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Joined: May 14, 2008
Topics: 81   Replies: 516
posted on Sep 24, 2008 03:59 PM:
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Here is a brief list of major differences between the real Washington Union Station (WUS), and this model:

- The real WUS has six columns on the front of the main hall, the model has four. The two flanks were removed as part of some selective compression to get the overall length feasible.

- The green patina pented roofs on the extreme east & west hall buildings on the model are pure fiction - they do not exist on the real WUS.

- The real WUS has seven arch portals in each connecting hall, the model has only five. Again, selective compression.

- The real WUS has only one glass canopy - over the west hall. This model has canopies over both the east & west halls. The glass canopy over the west hall of the real WUS is a true half-barrel, while the two canopies on the model are quarter-barrel (shallower).

- The sides of the east & west halls of the real WUS have more of the recessed arch portals that match the ones on the front connecting halls. The model just has three (much simpler) palladian windows.

- The balustrades over the connecting halls of the real WUS have hourglass-shaped granite balusters between the newel posts; the model uses pre-fab iron balusters.

- The barrel vaulted roof of the real WUS extends deeper into the connecting halls; the model's barrel roof stops at the edge of the main hall.


Joined: May 14, 2008
Topics: 81   Replies: 516
posted on Sep 24, 2008 04:13 PM:
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And there are many more differences, but the ones listed above probably represent the most glaring. Additionally, the entire second half of the station is not modeled: the real WUS has a second whole building attached to the back of the front buildings, and for obvious space reasons I decided not to model that.

A lot of people refer to this as a "scale" model of WUS, and I have to correct them: this model isn't even close. For starters, it is a little bit more than 1/3 the size it should be if it were modeled to 1:48 scale. (Seriously.) Which means it's not even quite large enough to be HO scale. Not only that, but as you can see in the above list, it is substantially simplified and selectively-compressed, mostly to make the overall footprint of the station squeeze into a moderately-sized layout. Despite these efforts, it is just over 68" in length, and disproportionately dominates my 22' x 8' layout.

Still, there is something about it that makes people want to call it "scale", and none of us seems to be able to put our finger on it. Maybe it's the detail? Is it the weathering and choice of colors? The lighting? Or maybe the sheer size just tricks us into thinking it's scale?

I wish I could tell you. The truth is, it's much more like a "LionMaster" or "Imperial RailKing" species - a bit more detailed and sophisticated than we're used to seeing in O Gauge, but still just a caricature of the prototype.



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