Re: Necessary Freight cars

Schuyler Larrabee

From: Andy Harman

A solid data package will go a long way to advance the possibility of a
model being produced.
No doubt, but not all of us are employed in model RR R&D, nor retired and
mobile to go travel to Roanoke and pull erection drawings, or chase down
survivors in museums and measure them and photograph every detail.

Andy, you don't have to do that.

I managed to create drawings of the two most modern classes of 0-6-0
switchers the ERIE had. I began the project working with a general
arrangement drawing I got many years ago from the California State Railroad
Museum. When I got that, I also asked if they had a list of other drawings
that might be available. I got a package of 11x17 photocopies of pages in a
ledger book, listing all the drawings that were in the Lima Fire File that
they have. A fire file, for those who might not know, was a duplicate set
of drawings kept "somewhere else" in case of a fire at the main plant. Much
the same as you might keep a backup of your hard drive at your best friend's
house (suitably password protected, of course!). Eventually, I cut and
pasted the various copies together to get a reasonably legible list of the
overall set of drawings. I called and asked if they actually had all these
hundreds of drawings. "Well, we have the vast majority of them."

Now, I started these drawings because I was thinking of scratch-building
one, and the absolutely most expeditious way for me to make an error is to
use math, and the idea of drawing the plans to HO scale was a "forget it"
proposition. But with CAD, I could draw them at full size, then reduce them
to 1/87th of the original size to get HO scale versions of the drawings. So
I began, and ordered a lot of other drawings from CSRRM. Amazing stuff.
One interesting thing was that during the course of the project, I realized
that the original drawing contained an error, which had been "corrected" by
changing a couple of dimensions, but not redrawing the drawing. With CAD,
this was a relatively simple thing to fix. Therefore, I believe my drawings
to be more accurate than Lima's!

But as time went on I began to realize I was missing some critical drawings.
The tender tank, for instance. The headlight. Valve gear. And somewhere
along the line, the drawings themselves became the project, not the building
of the model. But little by little, I began to find these other drawings in
other archives, SMU, Alco in Schenectady, a couple of private collections,
and so on. And of course, I had about 60 or so photos to work with. Some
of them were pretty much square-on shots, and I could scan them right into
the drawings and size them so I could draw right on top of the image.

Here's the point: I never got out of this chair I'm sitting in right now to
make these drawings. I never got out of this chair and onto the work table
stool to build the models, either, but that's another story. Building these
is in the plans, so to speak. But all the information I needed I found in
archives where the staff would copy them and send them to me, would answer
questions, would suggest other places to look. You don't have to wander off
to find some real beast and measure it. (Though I have done that trip too,
about freezing my uh-HUH! off in the snow in the D&H yard in Oneonta NY one
winter day getting up close and personal with an ex-EL caboose.) If you
want to create the drawings you can find the information, more, or sometimes
less, easily, but you can find it. I have two other projects I'm doing
more-or-less the same thing with now, one a box cab, another a cute little
track inspection car. By asking around, I found drawings for both of them.

The drawings and an article I wrote about the locomotives were published in
the ELHS "The Diamond."


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