Re: How far do we go?

Bill Daniels <billinsf@...>

I think that both sides have a point, but then both sides are also off base. For example, Arved asks if real couplers don't have that phosphor-bronze spring, why should a model coupler have one?" Well, real couplers do not have a magnetic uncoupling feature... they have a 1:1 scale brakeman to pull the pin. I don't have a 87.1:1 brakeman available to me to do this, so I have to compromise and find another way to do this. Hence the infamous Kadee "pins" and visible springs. Real trains have real airbrakes... but my trains don't. And frankly, I'm thankful for that... imagine tying all those hoses for each train. And making real, working AB (or K) brakes complete with working reservoirs and valves. No thanks...
Real trains operate on real curves... not only do I not have room for 500' radius curves and #24 turnouts, but if I were to perfectly scale down real cars to HO (or O or N or TT...) they wouldn't work on my curves. So we compromise... after all my steam locomotives don't really have a fire inside nor do they work on steam... instead they have an electric motor inside.

But, on the other hand, I do think that the NMRA has really dropped the ball over the last 50 or so years. They still have a standard for wheels that NOBODY has made for the last quarter century. And the track standards are even worse... my club (Napa, CA in case you are curious) will not certify cars with "code 88" wheelsets to operate on the layout unless they have been pushed out to the absolute wide limit... otherwise they tend to fall in between the points of the turnouts (built to NMRA standards), which scale out to a foot or more between the point and the stock rail. A real railroad turnout is, what, 2 to 3 inches at best? Why don't they rectify this? Even the old S-4 wheelsets will track through a switch built to these standards. Is the NMRA afraid of alienating the switch manufacturers like Atlas, Peco and Shinohara?  One wonders why... after all, as I mentioned above, nobody makes wheels to the old S-4 standard, and hasn't for the last quarter
century. Some manufacturers turnouts haven't changed since the 1950s. In fact, I don't think that the NMRA has done much at all over the past 50 years in advancing the hobby (don't get me started on DCC... Lenz developed the system that the NMRA merely adopted, much to the chagrin of other manufacturers and consumers at the time. There were better systems out there, and they now have been Betamaxxed.)

Maybe the NMRA should rethink it's mission... get back to representing the modeler, and not the manufacturers. Or are you completely satisfied with your analog cell phone?

Bill Daniels
San Francisco, CA

From: Richard Brennan <brennan8@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 10:00 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: How far do we go?

At 08:49 AM 2/5/2013, Scott wrote:
When the NMRA was formed , the concept of railroad car historians
was in the future. The technology to create accurate products in
smaller scales, indeed, even some of the smaller scales, was in the
future. The NMRA had to work with what was possible at the time.
Today we have manufacturers producing products in finescale in O and
HO.-even N. But to ask the entire industry, with products produced
worldwide for American prototypes, to retool to a new standard is
"Retool to a new standard??" So... how is that circa-1984 analog
mobile phone working?

Standards (should) evolve... and those changes help carry the
industry forward. IMHO... it is time for NMRA2.
We already have some parts of it in the "Fine" and "Proto" standards
and recommendations. The rest need to be agreed and "packaged" for
commercial use.

Let's be realistic about changes in the market:
The folks buying $500+ engines and $40+ cars are -NOT- the Christmas
Tree or 4-by-8 plywood crowd for which some of the early NMRA work
was meant. I see no real reason why the NMRA cannot extend it's
efforts into some updated branding efforts like "NMRA Fine" or "NMRA
Proto"... with a selected set of more prototypical specifications and
interoperability practices.

Even at the mall kiosk, they ask the teens... "Did you want that new
SmartPhone for 3G, or for 4G LTE? !!!"
(NB: 4G LTE is standards-speak for "4th Generation - Long Term Evolution"...)

Richard Brennan - San Leandro CA

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