At the start of April I paid a (long overdue) visit to the Zany Zen Railway (see: Letting off steam with Zany Zen Railway in Second Life). During my chat with the ZZR’s owner and operator Zen Swords-Galway (ZenriaCo), she made mention of Dizzi Sternberg, who helped her with scripting elements of the ZZR.
At the time, I didn’t actually realise that Dizzi runs a narrow gauge railway of her own, the Valkyrie Light Transport Railroad Having since been made aware of this, I decided to hop over and take a look.
Unlike ZZR,the VLTRR is located on a single region – Lexicolo – rather than crossing multiple regions. However, it is every bit a busy – and in places as novel – as the ZZR, running both goods trains and passenger services on a central looped track that includes several branches, and even elephants trundling around their own route (I did say it was novel!).
Now around 14 years old, the VLTRR is an entirely scratch-built narrow gauge railway, part of the Great Little Trains of Second Life network – a small group of enthusiast who celebrate everything about narrow-gauge railways. Dizzi developed it with her SL partner, NightShade Fugu and Janet Rossini.
The best place to start a visit is the VLT Main Depot. This see passenger and goods trains passing through it together with the VLT trams, giving visitors a choice of rides.
A lot of work has cone into the layout – working trains run back and forth between yards and mines, and steam trains of a bygone era huff their way around the tracks while a Double Fairlie loco – perhaps most popularly associated with the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales hauls a couple of passenger cars and a caboose. The latter and the trams are available for riding around the main loop – although be aware that the trams may head into the sidings from time to time to allow another to take to the tracks.
Given the age of the VLTRR, the rolling stock is an interesting mix of prim and mesh builds with some of the older units possibly dated in looks – but if this is your focus, you’re missing the point. Much of this rolling stock has – as Dizzi informed me – been running continuously around the clock for 14 years (allowing for region restarts!) to cover a distance equivalent to a journey to the Moon!
As well as offering rides around the track, the VLTRR also offers access to the Aerodrome Amilia Earhart, owned and operated by Lady Meirit (Meirit). Built around the idea of an airfield first opened in the 1930s, it offers the chance to take in various historic aircraft dating from that period through World War II, both real and fictional, including a Supermarine S.6B of Schneider Trophy fame, a Free French Dewoitine D.520, Tiger moths, Lockheed Model 10s (appropriately enough).
The VLTRR is one of a number of rides and attractions Dizzi, NightShade and Janet provide within Lexicolo. A significant part of the region is given over to their passion for Norse history, including a number of rides, whilst tucked into a corner of the region is a theme park and a further train ride – this one modelled on Dizzi’s favourite Swiss Alpine narrow gauge track. All of this can be accessed from the main store and portal platform, where anyone wishing to have a narrow gauge railway on their own land can also purchase complete sets.
Compact and rich in history, the VLTRR is an engaging mainland visit and offers a gateway to a lot more that is waiting to be found.
- Valkyrie Light Transport Railroad (Lexicolo, rated General)