The "MISSION" link of this website will take you to my "vision" for the collection as a teaching aid and how it might be expanded and used in the future.
The "STORY" link relates the collection to the events of June 28, 1914 and the following month, as well as describing how the "Orient-Express" makes its way from country to country discussing, for example, the role that Alsace-Lorraine played as one of the festering causes of the First World War.
The "TRAINS" link illustrates and describes the railway rolling stock, the towns and peoples of the empires, kingdoms and grand duchies through which the "Orient-Express" traveled. In this link you will discover how little related the southern kingdoms of the German Empire considered themselves to be to the mighty Imperial monarchy established in Berlin. Why did the Austro-Hungarian Empire see itself as irrevocably related to Germany?
The "HISTORY" link offers background to the crisis ignited by the assassination at Sarajevo. There you can go deep into the causes of the First World War, discovering that the more you know about the subject, the more disbelieving you will be that such irresponsible behavior could ever have happened. You will ask yourself - over and over - why no one could stop the inexorable march to destruction. Like myself, you may come to see this collection not as toys or, more correctly, working scale models, but as symbols of an age when pride and mindless power ran away with the ability of men to understand what might happen if there were no controls. You will meet many men here, any of whom might have stopped the madness unleashed in August of 1914. You won't ask who was "guilty" because you'll know that all of them were. "Our side", "their side" - it doesn't matter who's side you or they might have been on - the guilt lay among all of the so-called "leaders," a pathetic flock of sheep driven by aristocratic complacency, traditional hatreds and vicious national prides. The sleepy charm of my layout belies the sinister currents running beneath the smiles and waltzes of European life. The collection has been assembled to represent that final, suspended instant before the cataclysm.
Finally, the "LINKS" link offers you the e-mail and/or web addresses of especially knowledgeable craftsmen and historians, stars of the European model railroading world. No finer workmanship than theirs can be found. There are examples of their work on my layout. Some of it exists as superdetailling parts; some as background information, painstakingly discovered over a lifetime of research and study, assisting greatly my own research and craftsmanship.
The text of this website is copyrighted and may not be quoted in publications - including websites - except in brief critical reviews, without written permission of the author.
© Alec Nesbitt 2005