Re: Shorter, Longer, Electronic...
Longer. I've met at least one editor who seems to have a "twelve page" policy, over that, and he loses interest for some reason. Shortened attention span? ADD? In many cases, some of the topics authors present on historical subjects will be the one of the few times they are ever covered, let alone sent to print. Thus, run it over a couple issues if need be. The more detail, the fewer gaps there will be in the historical record. I can't imagine any particular freight car class is going to get article after article after article written about it...
The Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association (http://www.NPRHA.org) is already busy digitizing things. Their Web site includes an ever-growing reference section with photos, profiles, rosters and equipment book scans. Sold out back issues of their quarterly are being scanned for PDF printing, offering buyers better quality over the old "take it to Kinkos" approach. I presume purchasing CD of a sold out issue in question is available or could easily be arranged through the NPRHA Company Store. The editors are working to keep copies of the PDFs sent to the printers for posterity. Its likely any interested buyers of purely digital products could arrange a purchase of PDFs only if need be.
A few articles, including freight cars, should be available through the NPRHA site, if not, they are available under my Mainstreeter volume index.