Re: The STMFC: Its History and Functions

Jim Scott


You have summarized everything up very neatly. Your explanation is right on the money...

Jim Scott
Palo Alto, CA.

From: Tom Madden <tgmadden@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 1:55:04 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: The STMFC: Its History and Functions

It's always interesting to see what happens when a newcomer offers
his first STMFC post. Sometimes the reaction says more about us than
about the newcomer. The recent query about Athearn and Atlas tank
cars is a case in point. There were two responses. The first was
polite enough, but it essentially said "Too new, we don't discuss
that here, go somewhere else." The second response included the name
of a group where the answer could be found. Unfortunately, in between
the two responses the original poster stated that he guessed he'd
joined the wrong list.

Now friends, I'm here to tell you that there's a difference between
informing someone and educating them. Ideally, you want to do both -
point out errors, but also mention how to correct them. Generally
we're really good about this, but we may need to be extra careful not
to drive people away. (That presumes we're not a "Last Man Club",
where in January 2060 the last two members gather in Cocoa Beach to
see who gets to open the bottle of 2000 Chateau Brock Sherman Hill
Vintner's Plonk. Brianna wins when she releases the brakes on Ted
Culotta's wheelchair, sending him out of control down the beach
behind the Hilton and into the surf.)

I bring this up because I spend time on trainorders. com, where
participants in the Nostalgia forum routinely wax eloquent about
such '70s antiques as Railbox boxcars, SD40T-2 tunnel motors and
Amtrak heritage equipment. Recently someone posted a current photo of
a short line freight led by three or four chop-nose GP9's. I didn't
attach much significance to it, but the general response
was "OMIGAWD, those engines are FIFTY YEARS OLD!!" Now, _I_ can't
tell the difference between GP35's, GP40's and GP50's, let alone
today's wide-nose diesels, but I do know if you take our 1960 cut-off
date and go backwards fifty years, you land smack into 1910. Don't
know about the rest of you, but I have very little knowledge of, and
certainly no soft spot in my heart for pre-W.W.I railroading. Yet the
continued appreciation of our chosen STMFC era requires that today's
younger modelers bridge an equivalent time gap.

My point? That we continue to inform AND educate as we compile and
share information, but that we be a bit more tolerant and less snarky
when someone brings something to the table that doesn't meet with our
approval. As I said, we're really good at this, but we could be

Just my opinion - thanks for tolerating this.

Tom Madden, one of the "Dirty Thirty" original STMFCers and
a "Friends of the Freight Car" blackshirt

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