Re: Why not model actual train consists? (UNCLASSIFIED)

Gatwood, Elden J SAD

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
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For those many of us that cannot/couldn't host a "full-sized" (whatever that
implies) layout, the "railfan" layout is a great compromise. I had just one
fully-scenicked scene through which I ran my trains, and operated it by
myself most of the time for the industries on that "museum-box" layout. The
British have a long history of doing this. The rest of the layout was just
staging. I liked it very much and am considering not ever going full-scale
for many reasons, the biggest being, "who is going to help me operate a giant

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
Richard Hendrickson
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 1:23 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Why not model actual train consists?

On May 23, 2011, at 7:52 AM, Jim Betz wrote:


We keep re-visiting the topic of freight car distribution ...
and discussing how to represent the freight cars for a point in time
or an "era" ... and then, presumably, adjusting the mix of freight
cars on our layouts ...

So I'm prompted to ask "Why not model actual trains?" As in find a
train sheet you like and go for it - with selective compression - of
course. And then extend it to several trains.

Is anyone out there doing this? Thinking seriously about it?
Tried it and found they couldn't field enough models to fill the bill
(how close did you get)? Selectively compress out the models you don't
have as a first cut? No, substitutions allowed (same number series but
different number)? One box car - from the correct era - is just as
good as the next?

You could even preserve the order of the cars in the train even if you
aren't modelling all of them. And 'just' adjust the waybills for the
JIm, many years ago the late Terry Metcalfe had found a cache of wheel
reports for the location and date he wanted to model on the Union Pacific and
was well along with the research that would have enabled him to model
specific trains. I helped him with that research and provided numerous photos
of the car series in the wheel reports. At that time, there were fewer models
available of the cars he would have needed, but today, with the profusion of
styrene and resin freight car models that have been introduced since that
time, it would be much easier to replicate those trains exactly.
Regrettably, Terry's unfortunate and premature death brought that effort to a

I know a number of other modelers who are doing essentially what you
describe, and I'd be inclined to do it myself if I had the documentation it
would require.

Bruce Smith's objection that modeling specific trains would make it
impossible to do prototypical operation is, of course valid. but modeling
specific trains is a viable alternative for those of us who don't have the
space to build a model railroad that's suitable for prototypical operation.
My diorama is intended to be what Bruce refers to (I hope not
condescendingly) as a "railfan's" model railroad; sit down on a stool
(standing in for a pile of crossties) and watch the trains run through a
scene that is, as accurately as I can make it, a miniature of a real place at
a real point in time. I find prototypical operation rewarding, too, but when
I feel the need for an operating fix I can get it at the La Mesa club's
Tehachapi Pass layout in San Diego or at Bill Darnaby's in suburban Chicago.
On both of those large model railroads, operations are realistic enough that
it's well worth the air fare to get there occasionally.

Richard Hendrickson

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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