Re: Pacemaker boxcar usage off-line of NYC - NYCSHS


Let me pipe in here if I can. I work with WrightTRAK and we were looking at doing a project, a NYC car. I contacted the NYCHS and was told, yes, they have the drawings we are looking for. We would have to purchase the CD set, I don't remember what that cost was, but it was NOT cheap. This set included all sorts of information that we did not need. Then they said that because we were using information gathered from them that we would be limited to the amount of product we could produce from those drawings. If we wanted to produce more we were obligated to pay them what amounted to a royalty to do so. You gotta be friggin kidding me. Needless to say that project did NOT get done. This is by far the most restrictive policy that we have ever come across. In this instance it cost NYC modelers a car that we are certain would have been well received and it badly needed.

Denis Blake
WrightTRAK Railroad Models.

2011 Central Ohio Prototype Modelers Meet, May 19-21!/pages/Central-Ohio-Prototype-Modelers-Meet/326645470797

-----Original Message-----
From: James Yaworsky
Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2011 10:34 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Pacemaker boxcar usage off-line of NYC - NYCSHS

--- In, Benjamin Hom <b.hom@...> wrote:

James Yaworsky wrote:
"Disclaimer: as a NYC-focused modeler, I like to see manufacturers release
> NYC-specific models.

Hate to say it, James, but this state of affairs ain't going to happen until > NYC-focused modelers come out and actively support NYC-specific freight cars, > mot only through sales, but through demonstrating through publishing research > showing why NYC freight car prototypes are important, and actively pushing > prototypes through product development and cooperation with the manufacutrers.
None of this appears to be of any interest to the NYCSHS -[snip]
You raise some interesting questions, Ben. I've been a member of the NYCSHS now for four years and am aware that it has a history of not being noted as "modeler-friendly". I'm not sure this is true today. It may have started off as mainly an ex-employee organization but obviously as time goes by, it has become less so. I think there are a lot of misconceptions floating around about it now. I believe the current leadership is making sincere and productive efforts to change those misconceptions.

I've certainly noticed the superior quality of many of the other railroad historical society web sites as regards the information available to modelers. The NYCSHS's main efforts have been focused on the quarterly newsletter, "Headlight", and there is a lot of good information along the lines you speak of in it. However, it's mainly members of the Society who benefit from it.

It appears to me that the NYCSHS's focus is much broader than the sorts of issues that would appeal to someone who is strictly a prototype model railroader. I started off with an interest in the NYC because it was the largest railroad in my home town, Windsor, Ontario; and because I was attracted by lightening stripes, Dreyfus Hudsons, and, yes, Pacemaker boxcars etc. At that stage, I knew little of the actual history of the railroad. For example, my only thoughts about Al Perlman were probably what a jerk he was for scrapping virtually all of the Central's steam locomotive fleet.

As I learned more about the "big picture" - how the Central system evolved, how it actually operated, what it accomplished, and how it ended up in Penn Central, my views about many things evolved and changed.

My views about Mr. Perlman certainly have changed considerably. The current issue of "Headlight" has a story by a man who started his career with the Central in its sales department under Perlman. I've never seen a more concise demonstration, based on this man's actual experiences, of why Perlman was a great railroad executive and how he turned the NYC from a stodgy "status quo" road in to a dynamic organization that had in many ways "turned the corner" and might very well have survived in some form if not for the Penn Central disaster. However, I must concede this article contains virtually nothing someone entirely focused on freight car details would find interesting... Despite this "defect", I confess I *still* found it a fascinating insight in to the NYC in the 1960's.

So, the NYCSHS is not just about models and model railroading. I imagine every railroad historical society will have a mix of goals, which will include a model railroader component. The mix of historic and modeler focus is perhaps more on "historical" rather than "modeler" in the NYCSHS than it is in the PRR or many other historical societies, but it is a mix that the current NYCSHS executive has identified as being desirable to shift towards more modeling info.

I know for a fact that NYCSHS members like Terry Link have been consulted by and actively assisted manufacturers on some of the NYCS-specific models that have come out the last few years.

Although I can certainly see that a large historical society pushing for a specific model might help attract a manufacturer's attention, it would seem to me that this is more important for supporters of smaller railroads than a giant like the NYC, Pennsylvania, Union Pacific, etc. Surely the manufacturers would realize that models from the giant railways are probably going to sell. Surely the manufacturers do more than just react to pressure from "special interest" groups. If NYCS items sell, surely manufacturers notice?

bet that there was little or no support provided by NYCSHS to the BLI NYC
USRA-design steel boxcar - the single most lacking model boxcar on any HO-scale
steam era layout.
I'm not so sure about that, but don't know for sure one way or the other. Unfortunately, the NYCSHS has not been adept at blowing its own horn. I do believe it is more active in these matters than is generally supposed. This belief is based on what people like Terry Link and Rich Stoving have told me.

With all due respect to Jeff English, Roger Hinman, and Terry Link, I just don't
see a whole lot of action from the NYC crowd. Ask yourself, James - why is
there so much available for the PRR models, and so little available for the NYC?

Ben Hom
It's certainly a valid question, Ben. I just don't know the exact situation to be able to comment with authority on it - but I'm not sure anybody else does, either. All I can say for sure is that Terry Link is a personal friend and I do know for an absolute fact he's been consulted on several of the projects that have come out in the last few years.

As for the pros and cons of the NYCSHS, that's a big topic and one that is "off-topic" for this group. All I would like to say to anyone who is interested in these issues is - check it out for yourself. There's too many rumours and innuendos floating around.

If you have an interest in the NYC and want to see changes in the NYCSHS, then the only way that's going to happen is if you *join* and start getting involved. In other words, don't just grouse about it - *do* something about it!

Jim Yaworsky


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