Date   

Re: Extreme Modeling/how crazy am I!?

Clark Propst <cepropst@...>
 

Are you crazy Bill? My wife likes to use the word insane when talking about us.

We've all heard the phrase "Jack of all trades, but master of none".

I have friends who are avid hunters, spent thousands on hunting trips, but use only bows. They don't own a firearm. I have other friends who only fish for Walleyes. If they catch another species it's by accident. Bill is a model railroader, but only builds freight cars. I call this being one dimensional. Is this a bad thing? No. But in our case it gets boring just putting kits together, We need a challenge. I've noticed that Ted keeps adding iddy-bitty pieces to his models in RMC. Something to spice thing up a bit. It's all perfectly normal for an aspiring Extreme Modeler or Master freight car builder.

In the past week I have assembled a resin kit (can't say it's a PS-0), painted 30' of backdrop, and installed lighting over my layout. Does that make me a
"Jack of all trades, but master of none"? Probably, but hey, I'm not asking people if I'm crazy!

Clark Propst
Mason City Iowa


PRM vol. 2

Ted Culotta <tculotta@...>
 

I have had several inquiries, both indirectly on this list and directly to me about the availability of Prototype Railroad Modeling, Vol. 2 for Cocoa Beach. For both personal reasons and a reshuffling of publishing projects, I will not have Vol. 2 at Cocoa Beach. Most of the content is finished, but I had to set it aside a while back and haven't picked it up again yet. I will have some other things printed in the very near future and the members of this list will be the first to know. Also, there will be a lot of new decals available by mid-January. Again, you'll hear it here first.

Regards,
Ted Culotta

Speedwitch Media
645 Tanner Marsh Road, Guilford, CT 06437
info@speedwitch.com
www.speedwitch.com
(650) 787-1912


B&O piggyback ramp in Pittsburgh

James Mischke <jmischke@...>
 

Question:


If I were looking at the B&O piggyback ramp in Pittsburgh, what
road name trailers would I see? Would the mix differ over the
years? ..... 1954, 1957, 1960, even 1965???




Reasons for asking:


I like the Mini-Metals 35' round end trailers and am wondering
about which road names might be appropriate: Hennis,
Mid-States, DC, Cooper-Jarrett, etc.

I would have asked model truck expert Dan Flock, a native of
western Pennsylvania himself, at the recent Naperville meet but
was not able to connect with him there.




Observations for discussion:


Trucking lines were very tightly regulated in those days.
Common carriers (freight forwarders too?) were authorized for
certain markets and not allowed to extend their territory or
serve new intermediate points without prior ICC proceedings and
permission. As huge a transportation market as Pittsburgh was,
certain familiar eastern and cross country trucking brands were
likely excluded. Who was in? Who was out?

The common carrier trucking companies and freight forwarders
availed themselves of railroad piggyback services from the
outset (1954), but favored certain railroads over others. On
Nickel Plate and Pennsylvania (TrucTrain), you will see many
non-railroad trailers in photos. On B&O, traffic tended to be
railroad trailers only, mostly B&O itself.

There were various ICC approved piggyback plans available
numbered one through six, depending who did the pickup and
deliveries and whose equipment was used.

B&O largely used plan II (contracted highway services at each
end and railroad owned trailers, I think) and was deeply
involved in all aspects of the shipment. In the earliest days,
to B&O a piggyback trailer was just a fancy boxcar, dispatched
singly in the loose car traffic model of the day. It was not
until the early sixties that solid piggyback trains or blocks
were utilized.

B&O gave great lip service to soliciting nationwide traffic and
interchange, it seems they were not very successful at this at
first, even after the trailer tie down procedures were
standardized across railroads and interchange became more
routine.

B&O had major clearance problems on the St. Louis main line east
of Parkersburg, and had various wheel well flat cars, dual flat
cars connected by a drawbar, even the earliest containers on
flat cars. These workarounds depended on the status of major
tunnel clearance projects on that line, complicated by the
growing size of trailers and flat cars. The Jersey Central had
to do some major work, and the B&O at Howard Street tunnel in
Baltimore to reach New York with high trailers. However, the
Chicago main line through Pittsburgh was largely unaffected by
these clearance headaches.

Piggyback operations can be murky, not helped by the abundance
of public relations photos, often contrived and atypical of
daily operations.



Thus I am aware of major considerations, yet lacking in
specifics. Any insights would be appreciated.


Re: Stock Trains

Frederick Freitas <prrinvt@...>
 

List,

Last year on the PRR list there was a long discussion on the King Ranch, Texas.
Cattle were moved in great quantity to Penna. for grazing & fattening. IIRC, this was a summer operation when Texas tends to "dry out" for open range feeding.
A large number of M.P. & T&P cars, as well as AT&SF, and anything that was available. This gives one the opportunity to use all of the southwest roads to some extent, though limited.
The Chicago--NY trains had more diverse road names; C&NW, GSX, GN, CB&Q,CMStP&P, and other leased units. The one curiosity that had us guessing was the frequent visits by C&O stock cars to Altoona, Pa.. Could not find out if these were west to Pittsburgh, or east to Harrisburg. Any C&O fans have a clue to this one?
Hopefully, this adds to the broader understanding of how far afield stock cars can, and did roam the rails.

Fred Freitas


---------------------------------
Yahoo! Photos
Ring in the New Year with Photo Calendars. Add photos, events, holidays, whatever.


Re Cities Service Cars

Frederick Freitas <prrinvt@...>
 

Tom, List,

The only info I have is from the Quincy, Ma. operations for Cities Service.
The green color is associated with 1949; this was provided by sources other than C.S. paper / info. The South Shore Model Ry Club in Weymouth Ma. did a special run of these cars some years back. IIRC, their website is: www.ssmrc.com; and they give a list of the cars. Contacting a member there may well supply you with the best, and most accurate info.

Fred Freitas


---------------------------------
Yahoo! for Good - Make a difference this year.


Re: Cities Service Lettered Tank Cars w/Green Tank bodies

Thomas M. Olsen <tmolsen@...>
 

Good Morning,

I have seen Cities Service tank cars, usually in the 8000-10,000 gallon capacity sizes in videos at Enola in the 1950s. The interesting thing is they are not black, but have the tank car bodies painted a bright green in color with the Billboard Cities Service on the sides. Anyone have any idea when these cars began to be repainted to this color and how long it lasted?

The second question refers to the tilted box logo on Milwaukee freight and refrigerator cars. In an article for the Milwaukee Road Historical Society, John Greedy wrote concerning the leased URTX steel reefers. In it he stated that the tilted box containing the road name "Milwaukee Road" lettering was not applied to these cars until 1954 at the time they were repainted and that it replaced the original company name "Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific."

When did the Milwaukee drop the original tilted box herald with "Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific" in it." Also, was this done for all the Milwaukee freight equipment at the same time or was it done in stages? My timeframe is late 1953 and if the change was made later than that time, I will not have to go back and replace a lot of heralds, otherwise I will have a number of the older heralds to buy.

Thanks in advance!

Tom Olsen
7 Boundary Road, West Branch
Newark, Delaware, 19711-7479
(302) 738-4292
tmolsen@udel.edu


Hump Yard Operation

aikenair@...
 

Tom,

You wrote, "At each major terminal, the incoming trains are either humped
(yes it
can be done at Charlie's HBG yard)..."

How did he do it?


Don Barnes
South Carolina


Re: Stock Cars - some facts

Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

ljack70117@adelphia.net wrote:

Also on both
the Un Pac ad Santa Fe we put them back on the same cars they came
off of.
Larry's comment matches what I've read in industry literature. Wonder how
often it was observed.... Probably fairly high given the need for the right
waybill to go with the animals.

If that is indeed the case then there should be a fairly standard scenario
to the traffic: the car goes as far as it needs to go to get to the
consignee. So the question then becomes: How much stock traffic got
interchanged? And that can be found in the ICC commodity data:

1956 DRGW, about 6500 carloads of stock (cattle, calfs, and sheep... I did
not incl. pigs) were sent off the road, 700 were received from other roads,
and another 650 were bridged, out of ~ 11,800 carloads total.

1956, ATSF, about 32000 carloads of stock were sent off the road, 10500 were
received from other roads, and another 3400 were bridged, out of ~ 68,000
carloads.

I have all the data from 1956, all roads, stashed somewhere in the house but
these were the only two with large numbers that I have online. I think they
serve well enough. FWIW, the ICC didn't regard terminal/switching lines as
offline carriers for the purpose of this data so anything going thru their
hands herein was counted as online carloads.

So in both these cases it looks like about 2/3rds of the stock traffic
involved interchange. At least in the far west, the idea of foreign road
stockcars doesn't seem so strange anymore, does it?

Dave Nelson


Re: Random Train Consists

Thomas M. Olsen <tmolsen@...>
 

List,

In regard as to how to make up consists that are accurate for any particular railroad that is being modeled, I would think that it depends on the type of operation that you are seeking. If it is branchline service with a lot of industrial switching, mainline service with multiple industry sidings which necessitates both through and local freight services, then you have to key the cards to that service. This means that at the originating terminals, yard crews will have to build trains keyed to the industries the locals are going to work and block through cars for the intermediate terminals and end terminals on the layout.

Card card systems often give you one choice or another. The system that several of the fellows here use in point to point terminal operation with smaller intermediate terminals is to have destination routing cards for each and every car on the layout. These are not keyed to individual industries, but to the terminals in the direction they are going to, with some points beyond the end points of the layout. For instance, a friend of mine, Charlie Carangi, models the PRR operation (both freight & passenger) between between Potomac Yard, Arlington, Va. (w/connections from SRR, ACL, SBD, C&O, B&O), Washington Union Terminal (DC) and points north and West. The time frame is late 1952. The north end is Edgemoor Yard, Wilmington and off-stage Philadelphia hold & turning loops. To the west, Harrisburg (Frt. Yard west of the Station) Harrisburg Passenger Station and points west (Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Chicago & St. Louis) in off-stage holding & turning loops.

Car destination cards are marked with a series of destinations for all of these routings and the intermediate terminals between Harrisburg and Pot Yard and Edgemoor. No car is assigned to a specific industry. Train operators are taught when beginning to operate that common sense is to prevail un car placement at industry locations that generally receive various types of equipment to load and unload. Each card has boxes to accept a penciled checkmark opposite the routing to show where it is destined to and the cards are laminated to protect the surface when the boxes are checked, so that when all the boxes have been checked, the markings can be removed so that the card be reused. The cards all have a rip track destination on them. At each major terminal, the incoming trains are either humped (yes it can be done at Charlie's HBG yard) or flat switched to the various designated destination tracks for their next turn. The yardmaster (who at various times can also be the engineman if there is a crew shortage on operating nights) handles the cards and breaks up the incoming trains and makes up the outgoing trains.

Most of the freight trains departing from the major yards at HBG, Pot Yard, or Edgemoor are symboled freights with designated end terminals based on the Pennsy freight schedules listed in the Divisional Employee Timetables for his period. Local freights are run as needed. A large number of passenger trains are operated north and south on timetable authority also, with the Washington-Chicago sections of the Liberty Limited and the Buffalo sections of the Dominion Express.

The use of end terminals and intermediate yard locations eliminates the confusion of what goes where and make car distribution over the railroad totally random. There have been nights when we have run out of cabin cars (cabooses to the great unwashed!) and had to add several to the consist to deadhead to the other end of the layout, or run a cab hop if both power and cabins are clustered at the wrong end. The worst thing to do is have trains ready, but cut for power and cabins. This card operation also lets equipment get to the shops for routine maintenance in a random cycle. Of course, if there is something radically wrong with any piece of equipment, it is removed immediately.

I do not know how many of the fellows on this list operate this way, but with close to 80 locomotives on the layout (electric's, diesel and stream), 40 plus cabin cars, and close to 700 freight cars, it gets really busy. All terminals and interlockings are manned tower locations that have routing capability, there are five wak-around road cabs that allow any operator to run the entire length of the railroad due to auto/semi-automatic stepper and cab signal control with automatic train stop imposed over the cab signal circuit. All the main yards and terminals have walk-around yard cabs to control the switching and train movements. This layout is not equipped with DCC and to rewire it at this late date would not be practical.

The train crew size is determined by the type of operation, with road trains with just an engineer, and local and yard crews with an engineer and conductor. On departure, the engineman is given his waybills (the cards on a loop with a spring clip) by the yardmaster. The cards are preblocked for intermediate set-offs in station order. At the end terminal, these are surrendered to the inbound terminal yardmaster.

I have found that this type of card operation is a lot easier than playing with individual car cards and their little folders. It allows the road crews to concentrate on getting their trains over the road without having to sort the cards. Basically, this was the way Pennsy road freights operated between terminals. They were given the waybills at the departure terminal, the train being blocked for the intermediate terminals where switching was to be done. These bills were also accompanied by what was called the "CT-2" which described whether or not there were equipment restrictions in the train. These included excessive height or width (A.K.A "Baobabs") restrictions which could determine speed and routing, or speed and routing restrictions for cars which were restricted for other than size (i.e. other types of lading or possibly shop cars going to a repair terminal). No train could leave without the "CT-2." Symbol freight trains had schedules, but these were for information and did not have timetable authority. The only First Class Trains were passenger trains with defined schedules. All freight trains were "extra" trains.

When I was a member of the "Silver Valley" club in South Jersey in the late '60s and early '70s, we had several members (read "Tourists" rather than Prototype Modelers") tell those of us who were interested in operation that you could not run a model railroad like a real one. Our advice was that they were in the wrong club and that they should take up modeling airplanes, but if they stuck around long enough, we would show them how it was done. It is simple when you apply prototype operation to train makeup and operation. As a now retired train dispatcher whom I worked with on the Harrisburg-Philadelphia side once said, "some guys make an easy job HARD!"

Tom Olsen
7 Boundary Road, West Branch
Newark, Delaware, 19711-7479
(302) 738-4292
tmolsen@udel.edu


Re: Unproduced frt cars

Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

timboconnor@comcast.net wrote:
Dave, I see absolutely no reason to think that model trains should
not be taken seriously as "collector items". I'm talking "Antiques
Road Show" appeal.
Sure, no problem with that. But is it modeling? Not as I understand it.

Besides, who here really wants to own Hallmark Gift's special Holiday Season
Boxcar of 2012? 8-)

Dave Nelson


Re: Extreme Modeling/how crazy am I!?

Raymond E. Russell Sr.
 

In a message dated 12/29/2005 2:47:09 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
STMFC@yahoogroups.com writes:

After building this model I realized that I had to choose between
scratch building a few highly detailed, prototypical freight car
models, or building a layout. I choose the layout. Fortunately, quite a
few prototypical O scale freight cars are now available in plastic and
resin.

Larry Kline
Pittsburgh, PA





When I started planning my Pokey I was also finishing the basement. When the
basement was done I was still planning. I was trying to nail down every
detail. Along the way I started looking into hopper cars. Just doing a simple
count of mines and storage plus running trains it quickly became clear I am
going to need somewhere near 1000 hopper cars. When comparing cars on the N & W
roster to commercially available hoppers it became real clear that by the time
I purchased the kits, added couplers and metal wheels with resistors. I am
going to be spending a lot of cash! I had to make a choice between Athears,
Stewart or those lovely but $25 a pop BLI cars. For normal ops and the beating
that cars will take from years of operation the least expensive car won out
over the more prototypical ones. I already have a nice train worth of BLI units
so if I need photo trains I will have them when needed.

So here simple economics made the choice for me! I sure would love them all
to be rivet perfect but that is not feasible with my wallet for one but also
the reality that cars will be damaged during op's sessions over time!
Ray Russell
NMRA-40609
"Norfolk & Western Railroad" "Pocahontas Division" "Circa 1958"
Visit The "NEW" Pocahontas Web site at:
_http://members.aol.com/rruss45826/public_html/index.html_
(http://members.aol.com/rruss45826/public_html/index.html)


Re: GSC "Commonwealth" 54' Flat Cars.

Bill Kelly
 

Tim,
The profile is different. The GM&O car has a long straight middle section
to the side sill, running just over six stake pockets. It is shallower as
you pointed out. T&P also had cars of this early design. There are only
two major crossbearers. These are not the only 50 ton cars, the Walther's
type later design was also used for 50 ton cars, AT&SF Ft-W, Ft-3 and
Ft-5 class cars were 50 ton cars. In my notes I just call them early
design cars.

Because the Wabash cars were built over a three year span I don't have
enough info to make a decision. You're right, the early cars are probably
different then the later cars.

Later,
Bill Kelly


Tim wrote:

Bill, I'd be happy to have more details on the Wabash cars.. I've
seen photos of both bulkhead and open deck cars but I don't think I've
seen a good view of the deck of either style. The Wabash bought them
over
a 3 year period so there may be differences between cars.

I have a scan of GM&O 72000 and I can see now that the depth of the
sides is shallower, although the overall profile is the same. Know
of any other examples of 50 ton 53'6" GSC flats?

Tim O'Connor


Re: Unproduced frt cars

Tim O'Connor
 

Dave, I see absolutely no reason to think that model trains should not be
taken seriously as "collector items". I'm talking "Antiques Road Show" appeal.

After all, people collect toys, Barbie dolls, stamps, baseball cards, ad nauseum.
Why not trains? And if so, then why not promote this idea so that there will be
a collector market out there that will appreciate and preserve model trains for
generations to come? Sure kids are having fun with video games (a quite a
few million adults too), but this impacts every material hobby I can think of,
from cross-stitching to woodworking. But the value of quilts and cuckoo clocks
isn't slackening, as far as I can tell -- the new generation values craftsmanship
and quality, and they have money to burn on beer can collections, and cute
little ceramic figurines -- Why not trains? And the more unique the model (i.e.
a Sunshine model that is actually built) the better.

But be forewarned, heavy weathering and graffiti has limited appeal! :-)

Tim O'Connor

-------------- Original message ----------------------

Dave Nelson wrote

.... from what I see the youngsters are building 3d cad models for Train
Sim's and completely ignoring 3d plastic models. My guess is when the old
timers go the only ones around that might pick up the slack are persons who
are already doing model railroading today.


Re: Freight TRAIN Consists

Tim O'Connor
 

Armand, I'm not sure how to respond, but for insurance purposes I would
think you'd need a minimum of a good photo (or photos) of the car, the box
it came in (or at least a very good description of the value of the car) and
all this would be stored on a CD-ROM in a safe deposit box.... But we may
be getting off topic for this list.

Tim O'Connor


Re: Freight TRAIN Consists

armprem
 

Tim,This topic needs greater discussion.The railroads that I model had
large amounts of "Bridge Traffic".As a result many trains would not switch
local industries.
Every car on my roster has TWO cards.One remains in the box with the
car.This card contains the following information:Road,road number,type.On
the reverse side:source,date built,cost,weight,matching
color,trucks,couplers,weights and any other data such as repairs or added
parts and lastly current value.Rather than just more paper the cards are a
source of information for insurance purposesThe other car card has a pocket
and follows the car until it reaches its destination or is returned to
storage.I do have some blank consist forms but rarely use them.Much of the
paper work would be in place prior to an ops session.
I would be interested in your comments.Armand Premo--- Original
Message -----
From: <timboconnor@comcast.net>
To: <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 4:32 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Freight TRAIN Consists


Tony Thompson wrote

There is a simple way to do this, by creating some "random" draws
of car cards, along with a pattern in most industry deliveries and
shipments. I used to do a clinic on "realistic operation" which covered
how I did this. It was not particularly complicated to devise nor at
all labor intensive to implement.
Tony, EVERYTHING at a club with 600-700 freight cars is labor intensive
and difficult to implement (and especially to repeat month in/month out).
Randomness can be more sublime when it is coupled with rules. I don't
want a 2 bay PS2 assigned to the wheat elevator for example. But that
means that club members must be able to distinguish a 2 bay PS2 from
a single door box car. For you a piece of cake, for some some members
of the club, quite a challenge! :-)

You think I'm kidding, right? I'm not.

On the other hand, rules for oddball cars should ensure that they do
not show up all the time. Some may only be seen once a year.
I worked up some of these "oddball" appearances, though none so
rarely as "once a year!" Now that's a rare car, but of course realistic
in a sense.
If you only operate 20-24 times a year like the North Shore club, once
a year is not as infrequent as it seems. In a year we might get through
6 to 7 "days" of railroad operation.

An infrequent visitor might be a depressed center flat car, or a Southern
Pacific stock car (this is West Virginia after all)... Not the kind of
cars you
want to see frequently, but they're nice to see occasionally :-)

Tim O.




Yahoo! Groups Links







Re: Unproduced frt cars

Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

ed_mines wrote:
--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@o...>
wrote: "train set bozos"

You mean new guys? It would be nice to keep the hobby going.

[snip]

You younger guys should encourage the train set guys. Hope that some
of them will take up the slack when the old timers go to the great
beyond.

FWIW Ed from what I see the youngsters are building 3d cad models for Train
Sim's and completely ignoring 3d plastic models. My guess is when the old
timers go the only ones around that might pick up the slack are persons who
are already doing model railroading today.

Dave Nelson


Re: Freight TRAIN Consists

Tony Thompson
 

Tony, EVERYTHING at a club with 600-700 freight cars is labor intensive
and difficult to implement (and especially to repeat month in/month out).
Randomness can be more sublime when it is coupled with rules. I don't
want a 2 bay PS2 assigned to the wheat elevator for example. But that
means that club members must be able to distinguish a 2 bay PS2 from
a single door box car. For you a piece of cake, for some some members
of the club, quite a challenge! :-)
I didn't make myself clear. NONE of the randomness could wrongly assign car types: it was random as to destination but linked with car type and lading.

If you only operate 20-24 times a year like the North Shore club, once
a year is not as infrequent as it seems. In a year we might get through
6 to 7 "days" of railroad operation.
Ah. I thought you meant 365 days of OPERATION. Whew.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Re: Unproduced frt cars

Tim O'Connor
 

As Ed Mines has said, we need to encourage those train set guys.
Gene Green
Gene, I agree the 'bozos' are helping us out, but most of what they are
buying does us no good at all. Schuyler posted an article link on sales at
Lionel and MTH, which are currently BOOMING -- sales have tripled in the
last few years. Atlas has been crowing about their new "Trainman" line
and if you like Lionel, then you'll like Trainman, is all I have to say about
that junk.

Also 'bozos' does not explain Branchline's success.... There must be more
than a few people who want good stuff and are willing to build it. Or maybe
there is just one really rich nutcase buying it all! ;-)

Tim O.


Re: Freight TRAIN Consists

Tim O'Connor
 

Tony Thompson wrote

There is a simple way to do this, by creating some "random" draws
of car cards, along with a pattern in most industry deliveries and
shipments. I used to do a clinic on "realistic operation" which covered
how I did this. It was not particularly complicated to devise nor at
all labor intensive to implement.
Tony, EVERYTHING at a club with 600-700 freight cars is labor intensive
and difficult to implement (and especially to repeat month in/month out).
Randomness can be more sublime when it is coupled with rules. I don't
want a 2 bay PS2 assigned to the wheat elevator for example. But that
means that club members must be able to distinguish a 2 bay PS2 from
a single door box car. For you a piece of cake, for some some members
of the club, quite a challenge! :-)

You think I'm kidding, right? I'm not.

On the other hand, rules for oddball cars should ensure that they do
not show up all the time. Some may only be seen once a year.
I worked up some of these "oddball" appearances, though none so
rarely as "once a year!" Now that's a rare car, but of course realistic
in a sense.
If you only operate 20-24 times a year like the North Shore club, once
a year is not as infrequent as it seems. In a year we might get through
6 to 7 "days" of railroad operation.

An infrequent visitor might be a depressed center flat car, or a Southern
Pacific stock car (this is West Virginia after all)... Not the kind of cars you
want to see frequently, but they're nice to see occasionally :-)

Tim O.


Re: Freight TRAIN Consists

Shawn Beckert
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:

I would like to inject the idea that MODELING freight train consists
on layouts is not precisely the same thing as understanding what a
particular prototype may have done at a particular point in time...
In my opinion, if your layout represents a mainline railroad, you are
going to have a particular mix of model cars on your layout and you will
need staging and you will need to have train consists that
(1) represent 'possible' or reasonably realistic consists given your
location and time period and scenarios
(2) are variable, so that trains do not all look exactly alike and may
even cause an occasional incredulous 'Wow, I didn't expect that' but
on reflection you may agree surprises are part of the real world
experience of train watching.

I would agree that, given time, space and budget constraints, most of us
can only approximate in 1:87 (or whatever) what the real thing did in terms
of what industries were served and how specific trains might have looked.
Still, the more research and information you have, the more you can at least
recreate the feel or look of your particular railroad in a given time frame.

Ten years ago or so I fooled around with software that combined an
amount of randomness coupled with a number of 'rules' and I ran thousands
of train consists simulating dozens of years of operations at the North
Shore RR club.
Every now and then I would get really interesting results, but generally
train consists were highly consistent with their purpose and types of cars
and the road names and destinations of cars.
Sounds like "Ship It" or other such programs. Maybe you should have packaged
your version and marketed it to the rest of us?

On a private layout, you can control the exact mix of equipment according
to the fleet statistics carefully compiled by Tim Gilbert and other folks
that have made studies of conductors' books and interchange records. But
personally I think a layout that completely lacks the occasional oddball car
is diminished if you operate it a lot, because it starts to seem very
predictable and routine. On the other hand, rules for oddball cars should
ensure that they do not show up all the time. Some may only be seen once a
year.
I have no problem with the occasional unusual car or block of cars running
across the railroad, but with enough detective work on what kind of industry
might have needed that "oddball" car and when, you can at least narrow down
what that car might have looked like and how often to run it.

Shawn Beckert

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