What is Prototype Modeling?


Andy Harman
 

At 05:43 PM 3/24/2012 -0500, you wrote:

I am sure many will disagree with me, but I believe you can define
prototypical modeling as what ever level the modeler wants. We could go
on for hours about this subject. I hope the moderator allows this
discussion.
I define prototype modeling as a desire to model after the prototype. The amount of money, time, and skill a person has to pursue that end may determine his level of success, but even at a low level, it's possible to be a prototype modeler just by intelligent choice of stand-in models.

An extreme example to me is the Lego model of Cincinnati Union Terminal that was displayed at the 2005 National Train Show. It's made out of Legos... it's a toy. Yet, if you are even slightly familiar with CUT, you'd have to admit it's a prototype model. Not exact scale by any stretch. Some selective compression even so, the model occupied an 12x12' spot at the show. The back wall of the concourse even had a crude representation of the USA map that once adorned the prototype. To me that's a prototype model, because it's clearly an attempt to model something that really existed. Perhaps not with the best material or the most exacting scale dimensions, but there's no doubt as to what it's supposed to be.

On the other hand, the worlds most gorgeous finescale model of a train station that never existed is not a prototype model. It's a freelance or "protolance" model. Is it a "better" model than the Lego CUT? Of course. But it's not a prototype model.

RPMing isn't about degree of detail, or degree of perfection. It's about intent, and intent is clear: either you are making a model of something that existed, or you're making it up as you go. I think to a lot of non-RPMers, they view RPM as being a bunch of perfectionists, but I believe that is not the case. Everybody has to draw the line somewhere. I draw the line at freelancing - the rest of it, I do the best I can. But I don't freelance... well, don't look at my "vintage HO" page on my web site then :-)

Andy


Ray Breyer
 

One thing to keep in mind is that being a "prototype modeler" does not mean being a GOOD modeler. You can be a proto modeler and not know one end of a #11 blade is which, and you can be one of the best modelers on the planet and be a freelancer. And in fact, that's usually the case, no matter which model-building hobby you choose.

 
Ray Breyer
Elgin, IL


________________________________
From: Andy Harman <gsgondola@gp30.com>
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2012 1:05 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC]What is Prototype Modeling?

At 05:43 PM 3/24/2012 -0500, you wrote:

I am sure many will disagree with me, but I believe you can define
prototypical modeling as what ever level the modeler wants.  We could go
on for hours about this subject.  I hope the moderator allows this
discussion.
I define prototype modeling as a desire to model after the prototype.  The
amount of money, time, and skill a person has to pursue that end may
determine his level of success, but even at a low level, it's possible to
be a prototype modeler just by intelligent choice of stand-in models.

An extreme example to me is the Lego model of Cincinnati Union Terminal
that was displayed at the 2005 National Train Show.  It's made out of
Legos... it's a toy.  Yet, if you are even slightly familiar with CUT,
you'd have to admit it's a prototype model.  Not exact scale by any
stretch.  Some selective compression even so, the model occupied an 12x12'
spot at the show.  The back wall of the concourse even had a crude
representation of the USA map that once adorned the prototype.  To me
that's a prototype model, because it's clearly an attempt to model
something that really existed.  Perhaps not with the best material or the
most exacting scale dimensions, but there's no doubt as to what it's
supposed to be.

On the other hand, the worlds most gorgeous finescale model of a train
station that never existed is not a prototype model.  It's a freelance or
"protolance" model.  Is it a "better" model than the Lego CUT?  Of
course.  But it's not a prototype model.

RPMing isn't about degree of detail, or degree of perfection.  It's about
intent, and intent is clear: either you are making a model of something
that existed, or you're making it up as you go.  I think to a lot of
non-RPMers, they view RPM as being a bunch of perfectionists, but I believe
that is not the case.  Everybody has to draw the line somewhere.  I draw
the line at freelancing - the rest of it, I do the best I can.  But I don't
freelance...  well, don't look at my "vintage HO" page on my web site then
:-)

Andy



------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Randy Hammill
 

I agree. I think the difference between a prototype modeler and a freelance modeler can be summarized in one word.

Intent.

As a prototype modeler, I do my best to research and replicate what existed in a particular time and place (New Britain, CT c1947). The reality of things like space mean that probably at least 50% of the layout is not prototypical. But I'll be able to operate the railroad largely as it was then, and I'll be able to photograph the key locations that closely mirror the prototype. And for those areas that are non-prototypical I work to make them look 'right' and plausible as much as I can to blur the line between prototypical and freelanced.

On the other hand, think of Tony's AM. I'd consider that a freelance layout. His term of a protofreelance indicates his desire (at the time) to create a freelanced railroad that matched prototype railroading as closely as possible. Some of the structures and models were prototypical, but placed in a non-prototypical (but beautifully done) location. In terms of attention to railroading detail, operations, equipment and scenery, it was in many ways more prototypical than most layouts built in that era.

A completely freelanced 4x8 with no intention to address things such as realistic operation, track layout, still has rolling stock, locomotives, and often structures that come from a prototype, if for no other reason but available models.

The point is, pretty much everybody models some mix of a prototypical and 'freelanced' (aka selectively compressed, modeler's license, etc).

But the underlying intent is what differs: I'm presenting a model of a railroad that actually existed vs. I'm creating a fictional railroad.

Each prototype modeler will have their own ideas of how much compromise (freelancing) is acceptable to them, and in what areas (scenery, track layout, rolling stock, rolling stock mix, operations, etc.). Just like every freelance modeler will have their own ideas of how much 'made-up' vs. 'realistic' railroading is acceptable to them, even if it's not consciously considered.

I know there are some truly fantastical model railroaders who have very little regard to real-world railroading, but I would guess that most of these types of modelers consider themselves more as artists than model railroaders.

Randy Hammill
http://newbritainstation.com
Modeling the New Haven Railroad 1946-1954

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Andy Harman <gsgondola@...> wrote:

At 05:43 PM 3/24/2012 -0500, you wrote:

I am sure many will disagree with me, but I believe you can define
prototypical modeling as what ever level the modeler wants. We could go
on for hours about this subject. I hope the moderator allows this
discussion.
I define prototype modeling as a desire to model after the prototype. The
amount of money, time, and skill a person has to pursue that end may
determine his level of success, but even at a low level, it's possible to
be a prototype modeler just by intelligent choice of stand-in models.

An extreme example to me is the Lego model of Cincinnati Union Terminal
that was displayed at the 2005 National Train Show. It's made out of
Legos... it's a toy. Yet, if you are even slightly familiar with CUT,
you'd have to admit it's a prototype model. Not exact scale by any
stretch. Some selective compression even so, the model occupied an 12x12'
spot at the show. The back wall of the concourse even had a crude
representation of the USA map that once adorned the prototype. To me
that's a prototype model, because it's clearly an attempt to model
something that really existed. Perhaps not with the best material or the
most exacting scale dimensions, but there's no doubt as to what it's
supposed to be.

On the other hand, the worlds most gorgeous finescale model of a train
station that never existed is not a prototype model. It's a freelance or
"protolance" model. Is it a "better" model than the Lego CUT? Of
course. But it's not a prototype model.

RPMing isn't about degree of detail, or degree of perfection. It's about
intent, and intent is clear: either you are making a model of something
that existed, or you're making it up as you go. I think to a lot of
non-RPMers, they view RPM as being a bunch of perfectionists, but I believe
that is not the case. Everybody has to draw the line somewhere. I draw
the line at freelancing - the rest of it, I do the best I can. But I don't
freelance... well, don't look at my "vintage HO" page on my web site then
:-)

Andy


Jack Burgess
 

Randy stated:
"Each prototype modeler will have their own ideas of how much compromise
(freelancing) is acceptable to them, and in what areas (scenery, track
layout, rolling stock, rolling stock mix, operations, etc.)."

I don't equate "compromise" with "freelancing". I think we compromise when
we don't have the space needed to accurate model a prototype, whether a
building or length of a siding and need to reduce the size of it to allow it
to fit the space we have available. We also compromise when we don't have
all of the information needed to accurately model a particular prototype.
This is especially true of structures...we might have photos of 3 sides of a
building and need to make an educated guess about the other side (which is
not a concern if it can't be seen). On the other hand, to me, freelancing is
simply building something that is not based on a particular prototype. For
example, if someone were to ask me to build a gas station, I'd first ask for
photos of the prototype they want. But, I'm guessing that a freelancer would
simply get started based on their vision of what a gas station should look
like without relying on prototype information.

Have I compromised on my own layout? Of course! Without the space of huge
empty warehouse for my layout, the length of yards have been reduced,
sidings are shorter, towns closer together, and a few (not many though)
buildings have been reduced in size from the prototype. While the scenery in
some areas is modeled directly from photos from land contours to the
placement and types of trees and bushes, other areas are "representational"
and reflects the scenery typical to the particular area being modeled.

What I don't agree with is the position that we all freelance to a degree
since our locomotives have electric motors, our couplers have springs, our
trucks are held in place with screws, etc. Those are inherent compromises
due to the size of our models and the desire to have them operate. They do
not represent freelancing...

Jack Burgess
www.yosemitevalleyrr.com


Jim Betz
 

Hi all,

One of my favorite things to do is to ask a layout owner "what
kind of layout do you call yours?" and then use some hints to get
them to answer the question of "prototype", or "proto-freelance"
or "freelance". I then follow that up with the interesting part
which is when I ask them to explain why they chose to -label-
their layout with whatever term they selected. I learn more about
that person and their view of model railroading thru this simple
approach than any other single 'view' of their modeling ... *G*
- Jim


dennyanspach <danspach@...>
 

By definition, all modelers live in a vicarious world of imagination. Although Andy Harman expresses my major thoughts and beliefs on Prototype modeling far better than I could do so by myself, I also extend my personal RPM franchise to include a good measure of modeling the illusive imaginary prototype, the truth of which may be known only to.....me. This is not a conscious choice, but is simply just one expression of the internal personal freedom that any hobby bestows, an honest freedom that no one else has a right to criticize.

Progenitors of the tide that raises all boats. It is my observation that the nominal 6% of the hobby that the RPM-ers inhabit influence the wider hobby way our of proportion to their numbers, and they are the single biggest reason why even mass market low-end models these days are seen to strive for prototypical accuracy to an extent not seen at all in the past.

Denny

Denny S. Anspach MD
Sacramento


Randy Hammill
 

Good points Jack -

I don't think we 'freelance' or compromise because we use electric motors, etc. And yes, I think your points are valid regarding compromise. There are times when we compromise such as reducing the length of tracks, perhaps number of tracks, modeling the other side of a building, etc.

I guess my point was that to a large degree, 'freelancing' is modeling something that doesn't model a specific prototype. So I suppose when I model a building for which no photographs exist, but I know a building was there is still prototype modeling with the intent of making as close a model as I can with the info at hand.

On the other hand, as many (most?) of us do, I may move an industry from the other side of town simply because I have no other way of including it on the layout. The east side of town should have all of the industries and sidings coming off of the mainline. Instead, because my mainline has to enter the helix, they are on a separate siding and not in a prototypical arrangement.

What about a prototype modeler who models locomotives and rolling stock to a high degree of accuracy, but models towns by name only, without regard to prototypical layout and using commercially available structures? I still believe that if they feel they are a prototype modeler, they are, becvause as I said, the intent is what matters here.

So I agree that there is a difference between freelancing and compromise, at least to us. I think 'artistic license' still leans toward the freelance spectrum. To an outsider there is probably less of a difference.

Randy Hammill
http://newnbritainstation.com
Modeling the New Haven Railroad 1946-1954

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Burgess" <jack@...> wrote:

Randy stated:
"Each prototype modeler will have their own ideas of how much compromise
(freelancing) is acceptable to them, and in what areas (scenery, track
layout, rolling stock, rolling stock mix, operations, etc.)."

I don't equate "compromise" with "freelancing". I think we compromise when
we don't have the space needed to accurate model a prototype, whether a
building or length of a siding and need to reduce the size of it to allow it
to fit the space we have available. We also compromise when we don't have
all of the information needed to accurately model a particular prototype.
This is especially true of structures...we might have photos of 3 sides of a
building and need to make an educated guess about the other side (which is
not a concern if it can't be seen). On the other hand, to me, freelancing is
simply building something that is not based on a particular prototype. For
example, if someone were to ask me to build a gas station, I'd first ask for
photos of the prototype they want. But, I'm guessing that a freelancer would
simply get started based on their vision of what a gas station should look
like without relying on prototype information.

Have I compromised on my own layout? Of course! Without the space of huge
empty warehouse for my layout, the length of yards have been reduced,
sidings are shorter, towns closer together, and a few (not many though)
buildings have been reduced in size from the prototype. While the scenery in
some areas is modeled directly from photos from land contours to the
placement and types of trees and bushes, other areas are "representational"
and reflects the scenery typical to the particular area being modeled.

What I don't agree with is the position that we all freelance to a degree
since our locomotives have electric motors, our couplers have springs, our
trucks are held in place with screws, etc. Those are inherent compromises
due to the size of our models and the desire to have them operate. They do
not represent freelancing...

Jack Burgess
www.yosemitevalleyrr.com





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Jim Mischke
 

If we rivet counters hadn't complained loud and long for years about detail and accuracy, the manufacturers would still be stuck at a Varney level, if not cardboard sides and baker couplers.

Also, the research progress and source material findings are cumulative. We now have a vast resource base to draw on. Plenty of room for more, I would add.





--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, dennyanspach <danspach@...> wrote:
<snip>
It is my observation that the nominal 6% of the hobby that the RPM-ers inhabit influence the wider hobby way our of proportion to their numbers, and they are the single biggest reason why even mass market low-end models these days are seen to strive for prototypical accuracy to an extent not seen at all in the past.

Denny

Denny S. Anspach MD
Sacramento









Tim O'Connor
 

Jim

Partly. I think the larger reason is that the market shifted as a result of a FEW new
manufacturers that began producing very high quality, accurate, prototypical models
and were hugely successful at it. The market shift caused the old vendors to wake up
(not all at the same time) and they began to produce high quality models in earnest.

In other words, it was old fashioned competition that got them off the dime. No doubt
the train market would be in the deepest doldrums if they had stood still.

Tim O'

----- Original Message -----
From: "jim_mischke" <jmischke@att.net>

If we rivet counters hadn't complained loud and long for years about detail and accuracy,
the manufacturers would still be stuck at a Varney level...


Charles Hostetler <cesicjh@...>
 

For those interested, I've posted some statistics regarding freight car usage patterns (e.g., average length of revenue trip, average number of trips per year) for the 1950s here:

http://cnwmodeling.blogspot.com/2012/03/some-national-statistics-freight-car.html

I would be interested in group members' responses to the suggestion that freight car usage patterns could be a part of prototype modeling, on the same basis as the appearance and detail of the car itself, the arrangement of the track it runs on, the buildings and scenery it runs through, and the appearance of the paperwork that is used to determine its movements. Of course the ability to model usage patterns prototypically would be subject to a number of challenges and limitations, but I am wondering if they might be worked out in a similar sort of way to that of the waybill challenges, which seem to have resulted in much more prototypical waybills in use on a number of layouts.

Regards,

Charles Hostetler
Goshen, IN


Jim Betz
 

Charles,

I find your statistics very interesting - but am at a total loss
as to how they might be used to do anything other than trying to
adjust the number of cars - by type - in the "fleet" of a layout.
However - if you do adjust the numbers of car types on your
layout I predict that you will quickly -create- a problem. Because
the number of cars of any one type, on any -one- layout ... should
be determined by the industries modeled and not based upon some
era-specific numbers. Otherwise you end up with too many (or not
enough) of some car types and not enough (or too many) of other
car types.

****

For years now I've operated on a layout that does not have any
permanent equipment. The club members bring everything out for
the run, set up, run, and take home. The advantage of this is
that we have "themes" for the specific runs and therefore have
had runs that have as much variation as from "the SP in the 30's"
to "the BNSF in the year 2000". Yes, most of the runs have themes
that place them in the transition era. But we can also do "2nd
Generation", etc. And we avoid the problems of most clubs that
have steam running at the same time as Gevos.
There are waybills at the club and during setup the member
associates a waybill to a car card and spots the car for the
from location on the waybill.
Relevant to your stats - the club members have a "guideline"
for the mix of cars per dozen ... as in x many box cars, y many
flats, z many gons/covered hoppers ... etc. No club member is
required to bring a "proper mix" ... but all of them try to follow
the guideline (and bring out "about 2 dozen cars each"). This
formula/guideline approach ends up working -very- well ... because
it is rare that we have an op where 'no one brings any tank cars'
or 'there are too many lumber flats'. And on those days we simply
"don't run that train/service" ... which simulates prototype days
when "there aren't any loaded flats ready to be picked up at the
lumber mill today".
The tricky part was getting the waybills right - and that was a
"evolutionary process" ... but the wisdom of the guy who did them
and his execution of same has "stood the test of time". He
started with fairly easy to develop numbers such as "this siding
at the mill is for outgoing product and it can hold -n- cars"
(repeat for each industry location).

Most of the numbers you have -might- help someone planning a
large layout ... but decisions such as which towns you will/
will not include, the industries at those towns/locations, the
sidings, etc. (i.e. all of the stuff that goes into the process
we lump into the term "selective compression") ... and all of
the decisions such as "this will primarily be an operating
layout (or not) ... all add up to making the selection of cars
you should have on your layout (and therefore in your trains)
fairly "fixed".

If you don't use something similar to the approach I outlined
above - I think you run the risk of (doom your self to?) a layout
that has an op schema forced upon it that the layout itself
doesn't "support".

All of the above is my long-winded way of saying "the mix of
cars and the trains that run them are essentially -determined-
by the physical layout itself ... which sidings, how long,
which industries, how many tracks in which yards and how long
they are ... etc., etc., etc.

All of the ops oriented layouts I visit (several each month)
use some or most or all of the above to 'develop' their ops
schema ... and go thru an adjustment period that usually takes
a lot of consecutive run/modify + run/modify + run/modify ...
and some of the layout owners say "they will never be done".

- Jim


Dave Nelson
 

I think Tim is correct here... and IMO the thought can be extended to
explain the move to the pre-order / very limited inventory business model
too. Inventory is, after all, cash in a much less useful form. If you can
transform it into sales, great, if not... what a dumb (and costly) move that
was.

I would not be surprised to discover that Kadee does much smaller production
runs of their cars than they did at first and do so because they can...
whereas going offshore probably greatly reduces certain degrees of
freedom... perhaps offering a chance at more profit but also taking on more
risk. I would guess that Accurail is similar. I don't know what either
actually does... but having spent many years working in and around
manufacturing I know there is always this conflict between amortizing setup
costs with big runs vs. carrying too much finished inventory (my own opinion
is holding much in the way of finished inventory is either bad, bad, or
bad). Anyway, what's best to do this year may well be what was worst two
years ago and if you're going to survive you have to be very flexible in
your decisions.

Dave Nelson

-----Original Message-----

Partly. I think the larger reason is that the market shifted as a result of
a FEW new manufacturers that began producing very high quality, accurate,
prototypical models and were hugely successful at it. The market shift
caused the old vendors to wake up (not all at the same time) and they began
to produce high quality models in earnest.

In other words, it was old fashioned competition that got them off the dime.
No doubt the train market would be in the deepest doldrums if they had stood
still.

Tim O'


Charles Hostetler <cesicjh@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Jim Betz <jimbetz@...> wrote:
I find your statistics very interesting - but am at a total loss
as to how they might be used to do anything other than trying to
adjust the number of cars - by type - in the "fleet" of a layout.
and...
Because
the number of cars of any one type, on any -one- layout ... should
be determined by the industries modeled and not based upon some
era-specific numbers.

Jim,

Thanks for your comments. I've no doubt that a modeler would be well served to consider the local environment while designing the composition of a freight car "fleet". In my view, the national statistics would not be of much help for this and there are much better analytical tools available to the prototype modeler "balancing a freight car roster".

The question I was attempting to ask was about the behavior of the cars on the layout, or alternatively about whether its possible to model more prototypically the information on the waybill directing that behavior.

We spend a lot of time trying to document and create prototypically based models, the track arrangement they run on, and the scenes they run through. There's a group of modelers trying to develop more prototypically-appearing waybills. I'm wondering about the INFORMATION on those waybills and whether it can be more than just "eye candy"; specifically:

1) whether there isn't a more satisfying approach to developing that information than, for example, selecting an ATSF car for a shipment because it came from the southwest or, for example, picking out some shipper from the OPSIG database because I happened to be intrigued by the city or the name or because the database is convenient and easy to use;

and

2) whether this sort of thing might be considered part of the world of prototype modeling.

As I mentioned in the blog, the national statistics are just a starting point for a rough framework and certainly not the whole story.

Regards,

Charles Hostetler


Charles Hostetler <cesicjh@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Charles Hostetler" <cesicjh@...> wrote:
As I mentioned in the blog, the national statistics are just a starting point for a rough framework and certainly not the whole story.
It occurred to me that this post may contain a better exposition:

http://cnwmodeling.blogspot.com/2012/03/freight-traffic-ca-1957-johnson-county.html

although on a much more local scale. When approaching a new problem, I tend to alternate between the top down and the bottom up approaches...

Vacillating,

Charles Hostetler


Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>
 

Jim--

I have to comment a little on this part of your post with a couple of examples.

I am modelling a rail line between Lindsay and Belleville, Ontario, in October, 1956. 80% or more of freight traffic on this line was overhead traffic of loaded boxcars of grain from elevators on Georgian Bay eastward (off the modelled part of my layout) and empty boxcars for grain loading westward. I should add that I'm modelling the line as a 1956 iteration of a predecessor road taken into the GTR in 1884. My modelling premise is that the takeover by the GTR did not happen, and the Midland Railway is still an independent road in 1956. For which I endure some good-natured ribbing from other prototype modellers.

So I need a lot of boxcars. Including US roads' cars that were appropriated when the grain was running. But local traffic between Lindsay and Belleville consisted of coal for home heating (and Quaker Oats' boilers at Peterboro) and heating oil/gasoline. Some MDT reefers brought potatoes from Prince Edward Island. A few gons for a quarry online.

So is car population on a layout determined by online business? Sort of. A branch line would have car population determined by local business on that line, but a through route's car population and overall makeup by cars received from connecting lines AND online business.

Another example--the Canada Southern (Caso). A part of the New York Central passing through Southern Ontario. Almost all of its traffic was passing through Canada (including the US Mail on passenger and express trains) to and from US points. So trains on the Caso had a different car ownership makeup than Canadian roads, even though the Canada Southern was a Canadian chartered railway.

And even though the Caso was part of the NYC, the car population for this line was different than that of, say, the NYC through route south of Lake Erie. NYC's NY-4 carried ATSF reefers and NYC stock cars, and was arguably the hottest fright train on the Caso. Neither traffic originated on the Caso, it was just passing through Canada. The Caso, combined with routing from Elkhart to Detroit and Niagara Falls to Rochester, was a far faster routing for freight than south of Lake Erie. I've been told upwards of eight hours' faster between Chicago and New York.

So car types and ownership modelled on a layout should be determined by many factors. There is not a simple formula that one can use to determine what car types and ownership one needs on a layout. A good knowledge of both overhead and local traffic handled on the line one is modelling can help, though.

By the way, the Canada Southern deserved far better than the fate that it received. This video has photos of the Canada Southern from Penn Central days to almost total abandonment, and I offer it to those on this list with an interest in this line--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAWcWCh3Too

(disclosure--the only STMFC content is at 5:06.)

Steve Lucas.



<jimbetz@...> wrote:
.

However - if you do adjust the numbers of car types on your
layout I predict that you will quickly -create- a problem. Because
the number of cars of any one type, on any -one- layout ... should
be determined by the industries modeled and not based upon some
era-specific numbers. Otherwise you end up with too many (or not
enough) of some car types and not enough (or too many) of other
car types.


Jim Betz
 

Charles,

On the ops layouts that I go to most of the decisions about which
car gets which waybill are done based upon the actual service the
car is in. For instance,

For box cars - "any empty, any load" is pretty much the rule.
For cement hoppers - captive service - with a few "erratics"
(cement service is relatively short haul).
For reefers - consider the originating rails, the target, and the
'agreements' for that service. For instance the
reefer blocks in a train on the GN will rarely have
any PFE cars and will tend to be just those cars
that are part of the WFE and its 'associated' orgs.
For coal hoppers - very similar to reefers, but with some noted
exceptions (go to the pics!).
For flat cars - a larger percentage of home road cars, simply
because many of the flat car loads are shorter
hauls ... but still lots of variations based
upon the load (source and destination) and very
much so if it is a 'special' load such as a Cat
dozer.
For tank cars - two basic services on most RRs. Long haul 'captive'
service (all cars from just a few suppliers). And
'company' service such as a GN diesel car hauling
diesel to a GN engine terminal (some off line cars
but not many and definitely the exception). Etc.
Etc., etc., etc.

The basic approach is to consider the load (from and to) and to
put enough variety in your waybills that you see "believable" trains
on the layout. Much of that involves getting creative (doing the
research) for the off layout (staging) destinations. A lot of guys
never read 'the details' of the waybills - they will focus on the
routing info and never read the rest.

One of the layouts I operate on uses the rotating 4 phase method for
waybills so an individual car moves to place 1 this run, place 2 the
next, etc. Guys who bid the same jobs tend to see the same cars over
and over ... but since the layout ops about once a month it can be
quite some time before you see the same car going to the same location.
And some of the waybills (but definitely not all) in some of the cars
are 'shuffled' between each other ... just for variety? Most of this
changing of the waybills is to balance the number of cars for a
particular service (destination).

One of my pet peeves related to freight ops is how so many ops are
set up so that when you go to a town/location you are expected to
pull every car in that area - and drop cars to all of them. Only
large industries create work of this type - and we rarely model such
facilities. A more prototypical ops schema would be to run two (or
more?) jobs to the same area and have the individual jobs only work
a few of the cars in that town/area.
Yes, I know that this tends to increase the 'feeling' of the trains
we run being too small - what was a 10-car turn is now a 5 (less?)
car train, etc. At least one way to dal with that is to put more
cars in the train ... that get hauled out to the town ... and back.
There's a certain logic to doing it this way ... we have 'compressed'
our towns (number of industries), industry siding lengths (number of
cars), etc. just to make it all "fit". But what if we put some of
that "bigness" (size) back into the trains by just hauling more
cars (those out and back cars that are intentionally unprototypical).
At least one result of this is that the "switching puzzle" becomes
more likely/important ... because you have to figure out what to do
with all those other cars while you work the industries.
Similarly, if you work the same town - with two trains - each one
has a more prototypical job to do ... but the town does "double
duty" in terms of the op. And if the guy running the second train
to Robertsville is not the same guy who ran the first train that
worked the same industry ... well, he doesn't really know does he?

* And the op ends up feeling more prototypical for both guys *

Very few ops 're-use' a car during the op itself. All of the
work that is done by the car clerks and freight agents is part
of the 'set up/reset' between sessions. A few layouts do have
jobs of this type but most of the ops I go to are focused on "just
moving the trains and cars to where they should go". Whether this
is a good thing or not depends on your preferences/view of what
you want to do when you go to an op. Clerk positions are often
a 'hard sell' during the crew assignment phase of the op ("who
wants to be the clerk today" is often met with dead silence).

===> Sorry - I just realized that the majority of what I wrote
above is -FAR- a field to the stated purpose of
this list. But I've already composed it and so
I will send it any way.

This post should not be used as the basis for a long running
thread on how to do ops - even ops for the steam/transition era
is not really within scope of this list!
- Jim

P.S. Going and standing in front of the door of the moderate cell.
- Jim


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Jim Betz wrote (in small part):
One of my pet peeves related to freight ops is how so many ops are set up so that when you go to a town/location you are expected to pull every car in that area -and drop cars to all of them. Only large industries create work of this type - and we rarely model such facilities.
Certainly it's true that it would be rare to spot a car at EVERY industry every time, but demurrage rules do tend to mean that shippers got their cars loaded or unloaded in 24 to 48 hours, so PULLING every car is not so unlikely (but not every industry should have a car sitting on its siding every day). Freight cars have work to do, in the model as well as the prototype, and it's natural that many layouts tend to schedule switching for every industry every day, but I agree with Jim that it isn't very realistic in general.

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


Tim O'Connor
 

I've observed that freight cars tend to remain at one location for days at a time,
even when there is a daily local freight. This was true when I was growing up in
NJ too, on the PRR branchlines in the area where I lived. I wonder if the shippers
only had to "release" empty cars to the railroad to avoid demurrage -- but once
released, perhaps the railroad is not required to pick them up immediately, and
does so in its own sweet time.

Another thing rarely modeled is overflow, where a car cannot be spotted where it
is going, and is either left behind at a spare location or is returned to the yard for
the next time. I've seen cars spotted on sidings where they clearly cannot be
unloaded, and almost reaching a fouling point with the main line track. This can
make for some extra switching for the next day's local freight. On a model layout
you could leave a local industry in an almost perpetual state of overflow, like
leaving three cars at a one car industry, and swapping out one car every day...
That way you can run your short freight ( < 10 cars ) to the town, but still have to
shuffle a bunch of extra cars when you get there.

Tim O'Connor

----- Original Message -----
From: "Anthony Thompson" <thompson@signaturepress.com>

Jim Betz wrote (in small part):
One of my pet peeves related to freight ops is how so many ops are
set up so that when you go to a town/location you are expected to
pull every car in that area -and drop cars to all of them. Only
large industries create work of this type - and we rarely model such
facilities.
Certainly it's true that it would be rare to spot a car at EVERY
industry every time, but demurrage rules do tend to mean that shippers
got their cars loaded or unloaded in 24 to 48 hours, so PULLING every
car is not so unlikely (but not every industry should have a car
sitting on its siding every day). Freight cars have work to do, in the
model as well as the prototype, and it's natural that many layouts
tend to schedule switching for every industry every day, but I agree
with Jim that it isn't very realistic in general.

Tony Thompson


Frank Gendernalik
 

Re the CASO video, good one, thank you!


From: Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@yahoo.ca>
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:36 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: What is Prototype Modeling?


 
Jim--

I have to comment a little on this part of your post with a couple of examples.

I am modelling a rail line between Lindsay and Belleville, Ontario, in October, 1956. 80% or more of freight traffic on this line was overhead traffic of loaded boxcars of grain from elevators on Georgian Bay eastward (off the modelled part of my layout) and empty boxcars for grain loading westward. I should add that I'm modelling the line as a 1956 iteration of a predecessor road taken into the GTR in 1884. My modelling premise is that the takeover by the GTR did not happen, and the Midland Railway is still an independent road in 1956. For which I endure some good-natured ribbing from other prototype modellers.

So I need a lot of boxcars. Including US roads' cars that were appropriated when the grain was running. But local traffic between Lindsay and Belleville consisted of coal for home heating (and Quaker Oats' boilers at Peterboro) and heating oil/gasoline. Some MDT reefers brought potatoes from Prince Edward Island. A few gons for a quarry online.

So is car population on a layout determined by online business? Sort of. A branch line would have car population determined by local business on that line, but a through route's car population and overall makeup by cars received from connecting lines AND online business.

Another example--the Canada Southern (Caso). A part of the New York Central passing through Southern Ontario. Almost all of its traffic was passing through Canada (including the US Mail on passenger and express trains) to and from US points. So trains on the Caso had a different car ownership makeup than Canadian roads, even though the Canada Southern was a Canadian chartered railway.

And even though the Caso was part of the NYC, the car population for this line was different than that of, say, the NYC through route south of Lake Erie. NYC's NY-4 carried ATSF reefers and NYC stock cars, and was arguably the hottest fright train on the Caso. Neither traffic originated on the Caso, it was just passing through Canada. The Caso, combined with routing from Elkhart to Detroit and Niagara Falls to Rochester, was a far faster routing for freight than south of Lake Erie. I've been told upwards of eight hours' faster between Chicago and New York.

So car types and ownership modelled on a layout should be determined by many factors. There is not a simple formula that one can use to determine what car types and ownership one needs on a layout. A good knowledge of both overhead and local traffic handled on the line one is modelling can help, though.

By the way, the Canada Southern deserved far better than the fate that it received. This video has photos of the Canada Southern from Penn Central days to almost total abandonment, and I offer it to those on this list with an interest in this line--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAWcWCh3Too

(disclosure--the only STMFC content is at 5:06.)

Steve Lucas.

<jimbetz@...> wrote:
.
However - if you do adjust the numbers of car types on your
layout I predict that you will quickly -create- a problem. Because
the number of cars of any one type, on any -one- layout ... should
be determined by the industries modeled and not based upon some
era-specific numbers. Otherwise you end up with too many (or not
enough) of some car types and not enough (or too many) of other
car types.


Mikebrock
 

Jim Betz writes:

"I just realized that the majority of what I wrote
above is -FAR- a field to the stated purpose of
this list. But I've already composed it and so
I will send it any way.

This post should not be used as the basis for a long running
thread on how to do ops - even ops for the steam/transition era
is not really within scope of this list!"

Actually, discussion about the operation of frt cars IS within the scope of the group. Note from the rules:

"The objectives include the sharing of
information about North American, standard gauge railroad freight cars in
the period 1900-1960 inclusive
including their operation,
distribution and the various techniques of building
models of them. Discussions about the cargos of freight cars are permitted
but only as they are directly associated with a freight car."

Jim continues with:

"P.S. Going and standing in front of the door of the moderate cell."

No need. OTOH, if you are homeless and looking for a place to sleep...well...OK. But don't expect any food.

Mike Brock
STMFC Moderate Jail Keeper