Eric Neubauer wrote:
"I don't think things are as gloomy as you think.
Whenever I compile builder lists, the original identity and quantity are on the
first line. Between the diagram books, Railway Age annual order summaries, and
the ORER, I rarely have any trouble coming up with the primary information for
NYCS cars. It only gets difficult when I get back to the wooden cars, but that's
true for most railroads."
You misunderstand me. I have no doubt that the details exist. As Clark's earlier comments illustrate, what's missing is an understanding of the big picture. For example, the casual modeler on this list knows what PRR boxcars are the most common thanks to the work done by many researchers, including Ian Fischer, Richard Burg, and others over the years. Nothing approaching even this coarse granularity exists for the NYCS. Everyone wants a magnum opus - it simply doesn't exist for the NYCS. Can anyone point to ANY source that shows proportions of cars that a modeler can use to build a fleet? How many USRA-design steel boxcars? How many prewar AAR boxcars? How many postwar AAR boxcars? Sadly, the answer is a resounding no.
The details are there, but what needs to be done is someone to do the work putting all of the pieces together into a mosaic capturing the big picture.