Re: Modeling the World War II period . . .

Bruce Smith

On Apr 24, 2007, at 12:43 PM, Brian Chapman wrote:
Are there many individuals who model this period? If not, is it partly
because of security at the time suppressing information flow and
Yes, and therefore no, not really. I meet more folks everyday who model the WWII era. While I won't say that this is close to the most popular period, I am finding a lot of new interest. As for the lack of photographs, that can be an issue, but part of it is due to a more restricted time-frame. That is to say that if you wanted photos from any specific 4 year span, there are a limited number. The really good news for us is the availability of military and civilian archives such as the Library of Virginia US Signal Corps Archive, and the collections in the National Archives (Both of which have been discussed here many times)

It's such a powerful era historically, I've begun to consider more and
more this period as a modeling subject. But, because it was wartime,
maybe information about traffic flow, car loads and such would prove
highly difficult to research.
It just requires some perseverance <G>. There is a lot of information out there, and many of the models, both of railroad equipment and the military loads it carried are available (at least in HO scale).

I wonder, too, how much the railroad industry changed during those
years, 1942-45. Hard to imagine certain changes -- upgrades -- did not
occur out of a forced necessity. For instance, increased traffic, did
it require signaling improvements on certain routes?
Absolutely, for example, many many miles of CTC were installed as a direct result of the war. There were also lots of interesting rule changes. One of my favorites was the "freeing of the reefers" <VBG> where refrigerator cars were basically in a national pool, rather than under the control of their owners. Passenger trains also underwent a number of changes, such as the elimination of short distance Pullman cars, and the "freezing" of the number of trains.

I agree with Andy that the impact of freight cars WRT to new technology was minimal. In fact, freight car design took a big step backwards with the institution of "war emergency" composite designs for many classes. These, of course, help set the time frame for you modeling!

Anyone know of specific resources for modeling the World War II
period? Books, for instance? Is there a Yahoo modeling group focused
on these years?
Books? The Iron Horse at War is great, plus a number of others as Andy mentions.
Modeling group? None that I know of although there is a 1/87 vehicle modeling group (not WWII specific)


Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."
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