A brief overview of the AFK
  
The AFK is the Altonia Ferovojoj Komplementaj, or Complementary Railways of Altonia, to give the English translation. Altonia is a canton in Marronĝaco, the northernmost province of Thalnia, a country neighbouring fabled Ruritania and Narnia. Economically underdeveloped, immured in a 'sixties time warp and overshadowed by its more celebrated neighbours; the country was inexplicably overlooked by the great cartographers when they came to map Europe.
 
As you will doubtless have realised from the above preamble, the railway is that pariah of serious modern railway modelling, a freelanced layout set in an imaginary country. Those with long memories will remember the acrimonious debates, during the late 1960s, about railways set on the Danish/Yugoslav border with Spain, which is precisely the location of this layout! Prototype inspiration for the layout has been drawn from many European countries, blended to create a (hopefully!) credible railway set within these rather wide ranging geographical parameters.
  
A country immured in a sixties time warp inexplicably overlooked by the cartographers. An old lady attends Vespers in the gate chapel at Fenditavalat, the ancient Roman capital of Murranaccia province.
  
In a parallel universe the AFK is a large model railway, for Britain at any rate, housed in a 22'6" x 9'3" room. The railway is narrow gauge in 7mm scale and could be classed as O16.5, On30 or Oe depending upon one’s inclination. The layout employs multi-level constructional techniques, some areas having three layers and others two, depending upon the requirements of the design.
 
  
Building began around the turn of the century and drew upon the foundations laid by a much smaller predecessor. The layout is by no means complete. There are many areas of bare wires and track but it is not quite the Plywood & Pacific celebrated in US legend. It was never anticipated that the layout would rapidly reach completion but progress is being made towards this end, albeit at a glacial rate.
  
  

Not quite the Plywood & Pacific but not far off!  An ancient 2-6-0 diesel stands in front of the building shells below the cathedral at Fenditavalat.
  
  
The AFK bucks the modern mainstream trend in railway modelling in that it generally eschews proprietary products. The stock and the pointwork is hand built rather than being removed from the box of a manufacturer, although the locomotive mechanisms were obtained, usually secondhand, from this source. There is, of course, no inherent virtue in scratchbuilding per se, as will be obvious by a quick perusal of the photo galleries, but it does allow the AFK to escape the bland uniformity that characterises many contemporary layouts.
 
Much of the stock remains at a basic level of completion and some of it is little more than a plastic carcass on wheels. This is of little import in the wider scheme of things in that the overriding goal has always been the realistic operation of a complex railway system rather than the contemporary preference for the creation of a refined animated diorama. In this respect the layout reflects American influences rather than those prevailing in the British sphere, seeking to meld the best of both approaches within a continental context.
  
  
Hand built, different, but certainly not virtuous. Take your pick: buy something better or build a model with character. The 1-B-1 diesel stands at a wayside station. (The Preiser figure was lifted straight out of a box so I am not immune to temptation!)
  
  
The site includes photo galleries, maps, diagrams and illustrated essays about the layout.  Although these essays have been specifically written for the website much of the material has been covered before in Narrow Lines (the magazine of the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association). Given the restricted circulation of the magazine I am sure that 7mmNGA members will forgive any duplication that they encounter within the site.
  
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