Re: Conductors Train Book, Ferguson, May-June, 1938


Dave Nelson
 

laramielarry wrote:
"As the saying goes, you 'eat the elephant one bite at a time'".
Tom Madden

Thanks for the very nice letter, Tom. It will help keep my spirits
up as I chomp away at the elephant.

Best wishes,
Larry Ostresh
Laramie, Wyoming


Some comments and suggestions Larry:

Don't try and do it all yourself; If you can scan (or just xerox) some
books and make those copies available to volunteers you'll get much further
along. Just ask for volunteers and see! Ditto for anything you can't make
out.

I strongly recommend you stick a few extra fields on each line bearing a car
number:
* some sort of train id; Elsewhere that train Id can be have it's own line
w/ date, time, engine(s),start & end locations.
* a column w/ an incrementing integer for the car order (first car is 1).
* Put mark and car number into their own columns. Mark means what's on the
car, not the railroad (e.g., if it says OSL, put that down, not UP).

Having done that you will be able to sort the data in any way and then
return it to the original ordering.

As for poorly understood marks... Both Tim Gilbert and I had those problems
w/ our own books. I found the best thing to do was not to guess the first
time or two thru the listings. Later, when you've done several hundred
lines you can go back, find the spaces, look up the lines and see if there
is any pattern. It will also help to have an ORER from the same year so you
can see if the car number falls into a reported series. Also, remember than
grade school penmanship was far more strict back then. People wrote capital
letters in script, not block, making a capital "Q" look like "2", capital
"I" look like "J", and capital "G" like "&". So when it doubt, leave it
blank.

Good luck!

Dave Nelson

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