Re: New Standards for Freight Cars Models
The NMRA is currently revising the Standards but IMHO is still missing the boat.
I think it would be extremely valuable if, instead of worrying about standardizing formulae for establishing vertical curves (the transition between flat and grade in track) and other esoterica (should they establish standards for O-27 or OO Scale???) the NMRA should concern itself with providing information about real world problems that most Model Railroaders face.
It seems to me that the downfall of the NMRA started when they developed the X2f coupler and then steadfastly refused to recognize the Defacto Standard of the Kadee coupler in HO (and then later the Micro-Trains in N).
I understand the excuse that they didn't want to bless a commercial product as "standard".... but it sure would have been helpful for them to, either with the cooperation of Kadee and Micro-Trains or simply by measuring them, establish complete, uniform measurements of the couplers and draft gear so that modelers and manufacturers could have single dimensions to work with when they have to interface with the defacto standard. Instead, because of the head-in-the-sand approach, every coupler and rolling stock manufacturer has to make their own measurements with the result that interchange is no longer insured.
The same holds true for rails, wheels, trucks, bolster heights, etc... A catalog of uniformly presented measurements of products in use would be much more useful than "standards". Right now the NMRA is developing new standards or reworking the old ones.... without the input of the Model Railroad Industry or the vast majority of Model Railroaders (who are not NMRA members).
I think that if products were presented in a format that would allow side-by-side comparison it would press for evolution to a standard.... or at least be a valuable reference for both modeler and manufacturer. The marketplace where everyone gets to vote with their dollars is a better developer of standards than a group of volunteers.
I don't believe the NMRA would be inclined to do something like this..... it doesn't allow creation of a "standard" to enforce and issue or deny certifications around to establish control. Perhaps a Wikopedia of Model Railroad Product Measurements would be a way of accomplishing this......