Re: Modeling the World War II period . . .

Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...>

Hi Brian,

Personally I know a couple of modelers interested in the World War II
period. One is even a Pennsylvania fan, which I find ironic. I mean, the PRR
ran more trains on a holiday Sunday than most model railroads can manage, so
I wouldn't think you'd need war traffic to keep a P Co. layout humming. But
I digress.

The World War II period did see many improvements on US railroads,
especially large-scale installations of CTC and widespread adoption of
diesel-electric freight and switching locomotives. On the freight-car scene,
I'll stick my neck out and say the changes were less dramatic, largely
incremental and evolutionary. In the case of brake systems, the war provided
another excuse for delaying the total adoption of AB brakes in interchange.

There were several notable shifts in traffic patterns, including well-known
ones like the oil trains started when the German submarine campaign made
coastal shipping dangerous, and some lesser-known, like the all-rail
movement of coal to New England, partly for the same reason. Also, the
predominance of eastward traffic on the the western transcontinentals was
reversed, even as early in the war as 1942. And there was no fall-season
grain rush in 1942, as shipment of grain not already sold was prohibited to
eliminate the usual boxcar shortages.

It really isn't that hard to research things like traffic patterns or car
and locomotive production figures if you have access to trade literature,
such as "Railway Age," and to AAR statistics. The most severe limitations on
railroad photography were due to shortages, and/or rationing, of film,
gasoline, and tires. Nevertheless there was a lot of photo documentation,
both official and by hobbyists. "Trains" magazine published right through
the war, too, and is another source of contemporary information for the
period. (I relied on these and other sources in my January 2003 "Model
Railroader" article, "A year you can model: 1942, railroads go to war.")

So long,


Andy Sperandeo
Executive Editor
Model Railroader magazine
262-796-8776, ext. 461
FAX 262-796-1142

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