Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Steve and Barb Hile

Before there was Prototype Modeler magazine, Robert Longo had Southwestern
Prototype Modeler and Western Prototype Modeler. The latter appears to have
grown from the former through the addition of UP and SP etc. material to
ATSF which appears to have evolved from the old Santa Fe Modelers
Association going back into the late 60's. The first WPM was Jan 1975.

I started getting them because they also had Rock Island modeling
information which, to me, was in short supply in MR and RMC of that era,
mostly because I missed the cool stuff that Al Kamm (junior, who is my
senior) was doing in MR in the late 1950's. Al was certainly one of the
early prototype modelers, doing mostly scratchbuilding.

When I came to the Chicago area in 1973, I was amazed at the amount of
railroad (especially steam locomotive) photos that were available. I bought
a lot from Don Gruber, who still sells at Wheaton each month.

I am sure that the burgeoning of RR historical societies in the 1970's
contributed greatly to the expansion of prototype modeling. It was through
the RI society that I met people who shared data and photographs, including
a lot of steam era freight cars.

Of course the launching of Mainline Modeler in the 1980's and the
progression of magazines edited by Bob Schleicher were a major contributor.
Prolific authors, including John Nehrich and Richard Hendrickson showed us
the better way. I still have copies of Richard's The Car Report newsletter
for the Freight Car Data Exchange information sharing group, something that
preceded the internet lists.

Considering the wealth of information and the ease of finding and sharing
this information, we are, truly, living in a golden age! It is certainly
true that go information leads to better models.

Here's to future of the past!

Steve Hile


From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2012 2:22 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: History of Prototype Freight Car Modeling

Hi Bill;

I think you will find this history of Pacific Rail Shops on the S Scale Sig
site interesting, as it connects PRS, IMWX and Front Range with specific
products and dates:

Vol. 1, No. 1 of Prototype Modeler magazine is available on-line at

I may be able to find some of the RPI materials you ask about.

Hope that helps.

Pieter Roos

--- In STMFC@... <> , "lnbill"
<fgexbill@...> wrote:

As some of you will remember from posts I made in the fall of 2011, I want
to put together materials to create a history of modeling freight cars more
accurately and more prototypically. I now have some good materials about the
early offerings of Al Westerfield and the materials that publicized the
releases of Westrail and Dennis Storzek. F&C is putting some materials
together for me and I will be talking w/Martin about Sunshine's initial

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