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Modelling the U.S.scene – musings and questions
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Ken



Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 443
Location: East London

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last Porter 0-4-0T

http://www.catskillarchive.com/rrextra/porter.Html

and some useful reading matter
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Prof Klyzlr



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
Posts: 27
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:49 am    Post subject: Old Skool short US cars Reply with quote

Dear Crew,

If we are talking "old skool" US outline cars in the sub 40' range, you need to be tuned into some basic "engineering history".

Early US cars were often
- wood framed,
- truss-rodded,
- cast iron wheel equipped units,
- with either hand-operated or vacuum brakes.

Woodframes were scary, and were replaced with steel, or in some cases "composite" construction.
(Vis the "Composite gons" built during WW1 wartime steel rations, with steel mainframes, and wood sides/end).

Once trains got longer, couplers were mandated to be Knuckle, and brakes were mandated to be "continuous" or "Westinghouse" style airbrakes.

The better brakes started puttin loads on the cast iron wheels,
where they would heat up, and "fail",
(This is the technical term for falling apart at high speed, metalurically speaking).

The older archbar "friction bearing" trucks were overtaken by Andrews and other variants of "cast trucks", but the bearings were the weakpoint,
(occasionally getting soo hot as to set fire to the wood-bodied cars,
or to actualy melt thru the axle end, dropping the truck into the sleepers,
and causing all manner of havok).

SO, there are many reasons why "Old Skool" cars were updated, modified, and generally "goten rid off" between WW1 and WW2.

Now, while this was the "official version", MoW, "Home Road", and other "captive service" missons are often where these "older design" cars would gain a reprieve!!!

n terms of modelling, the first thing that comes to mind is the HO/On30 work by Harld Minkwitz
http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/main%5Fpage/
HO version

http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/
On30 version

Hope this Helps!!!
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Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr
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twilight



Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Posts: 91
Location: Heading back 'oop North' somewhere

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for those pointers Prof.
The later inter-WW years would look a good period for variety in freight stock and locos.

>Sigh< So much too learn and absorb !! Sad

But all immensely interesting and stimulating Laughing
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Prof Klyzlr



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
Posts: 27
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:15 pm    Post subject: When were Knuckle couplers and Airbrakes mandated? Reply with quote

Dear Crew,

While I as reading MRP2008 last night, I caught a mention that the AAR mandated for knuckles couplers and airbrakes back as early as 1890s,
(although I have no idea how long the "grace period" was to covert all cars in interchange traffic,
and "home road" cars would have been able to "hide their lack of conformance" for much longer... Wink ).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coupling_(railway)#Automatic_couplers
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john flann



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 226
Location: Smithfield, Utah, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prof, this all seems very confusing and how important is it?

Unless scratchbuilding everything one is stuck with what manufacturers offer. So one picks that and with it comes the era. Maybe adding things as one wishes.

Is this approach too simple?

John Flann.
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Prof Klyzlr



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
Posts: 27
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:03 am    Post subject: Details = Tools for modelling Reply with quote

Dear John,

Answers within your text...


John F: Prof, this all seems very confusing

Prof K: Agreed, it can get your head in a spin if you let it... Wink

John F: and how important is it?

Prof K: In direct relation to the original thread question, I'd suggest it's very relevant.

Prof K: In relation to any given modeller's approach to what rollingstock their use on their layout, it may or may not be important.
(depends on the modeller, and the layouts "mission").

Prof K: In relation to achieving "plausibility", esp on a freelanced layout,
(where the only "rules" are those that the modeler themseles apply),

taking your "cues" from known events in the "Real World",
gives you layout a reference point,
an anchor point in place and time,
that even non-modellers can relate to,
and thus relate to your layout.

Prof K: Many modellers will comment on a given layout as being "realistic" or not,
irrespective of whether the layout claims to be "ultra prototypical" thru to "Ultra Freelanced",
or somewhere inbetween,

but what "yardstick" do we use?

Prof K: I'd submit we use the "12"/1' scale" Real World as the yardstick, even if the layout claims to be "totally freelance".
(We're humans, the "Real World" IS the only yardstick we know,
we have no other point of comparison).

John F: Unless scratchbuilding everything, one is stuck with what manufacturers offer.

Prof K: "Stuck" is a very limiting term,
kitbashing, or even simple modification,
can "anchor" a model to a given time period,
thus making "more specific" statements about the Where, Why, and When of your layout.

John F: So one picks that and with it comes the era.

Prof K: One pays their $$$ and makes their choices, Agreed completely.

Prof K: However, simply saying that "what came in the box is the way it has to stay", is maybe "giving up too easily"??? Wink

John F: Maybe adding things as one wishes.

Prof K: Adding, or subtracting, either way we are talking very simply kitbashing, modifications, even a small patch of paint can make a difference.

Prof K: Take a car from a long-gone "fallen flag" RR,
simply paint a "boxcar red" or black patch over the "old" reporting mark and logo,
and you've just created a "private owner" car, from an obviously "newer" era...

Prof K: take a Athearn 40' boxcar,
remove the roofwalk,
fill in the resulting holes,
replace the trucks with roller-bearing units,
weather it heavily,
and you have a "modernised" old-time boxcar that obviously went thru the 1070's era AAR "get brakemen off the roof of boxcars" modifications era...

Prof K: Another Example, a NW bay window caboose.

All windows open?
- must be a new one (When did NW start running bay windows cabeese?)

1/2 the windows plated over with "steel plate"/styrene?
- must be a unit "later on in life",
after the AAR mandated that all glass on locos and cabeese be bulletproof
(closing "broken" windows by welding sheet steel over the opening was cheaper than replacing the bulletproof glass)

1/2 windows "plated over" + large white "NW" logo painted over in "Cabose Red"?
- must be post NW/NS merger
(NS eliminated many signs of the NW logo when they "recieved" the merged rollingstock)

Prof K: 3rd and last example
Bachmann's On30 Climax is a 25t Class B. By replacing the bunker and cab, and extending the endbeams, I can turn a "stock model" into a very-close version of Longworths Climax 1375, a "modern" 25t Class B steel cab that operated in the North Coast of NSW, Australia.

However, if I mount a Diamond stack as opposd to a straight stack on it,
I can nail it down to +/- 2 years of either
- arriving on the boat from the US
OR
- it's first "major service"

See how even minor details can immediately put us in a very definite sense of "place" and "time"?


John F: Is this approach too simple?

Prof K: John, as long as YOU are enjoying your trains,
far be it from Me or anyone else to take umberage with How you enjoy them.

Prof K: That said, to insist that "what came in the box" is the only way that item can be used, is IMHO to shut yourself off from soooo many options. Following that line of thinking, by working with "known points in RR history", you can zero in on very specific times/places/RR/equipment ownership without too much effort

Like the signature says...
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Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr
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john flann



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 226
Location: Smithfield, Utah, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prof,

You should not put words in my mouth. Nor be so condescending.

My record in railway modelling, contributing articles to the model press, and exhibiting award winning layouts over the last 40 years speaks for itself. I do not need a lecture from you, helpful suggestions, yes.

I am just making the point that a simple approach is very often the best one. Blinding with science, no.

John Flann.
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Jordan



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 1385

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to see the Prof say all that again without moving his lips & while drinking a glass of water though... Laughing Laughing Laughing

Sorry, just my sense of humour... Rolling Eyes Embarassed Wink
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twilight



Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Posts: 91
Location: Heading back 'oop North' somewhere

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all,
Yes, that could be something to see. Rolling Eyes

I think that the difficulty and danger with forums/fora/fori (??) is that
(a) of course we can’t see/hear anyone at the other end and thereby see/hear how they’re saying what they’re saying. I should think that ‘smileys’/emoticons were an (ocasionally annoying Exclamation ) attempt to overcome that!

(b) with that in mind it is all (modern world) now so immediate but impersonal – we can sit and bash our inanimate keyboards in response which doesn’t aid communication with rapport.

It is different therefore to having face-to-face or telephone conversations which give us a physical link or even writing letters through magazine columns with much time for thought in between. I believe it is very easy to mis-understand / mis-interpret things that are written purely because of how we read them at a particular time - guilty as charged m’lud - and if I misinterpret anyone’s comments I willingly stand to be corrected.

I do believe I understand the point John is making about simplicity of approach (wood and trees analogy seems apt) but can see that that in no way implies lack of attention to the detail that turns a simple model into something a bit more special. My much-thumbed and treasured copies of John’s ‘Melbury’ series of articles bear witness to this. I suspect nothing runs ‘straight-out-of-the-box’ except for testing maybe.

Yes, many of us (me especially) are reliant on what the manufacturers provide mostly Ready-To-Run – and for me the cheaper the better! I don’t mind trying to hack a bit of plastic kit occasionally or add some detail if I can (within my personal limits) but if the basic item isn’t there it’s more of a problem. Of course it’s My B__ Train Set so I can run what I like but I will try to stay at least on the margins of, if not totally in the confines of, prototypicality. Which is where I came in originally. Having been attracted to the USA prototype, being more interested in older railways (more so than the last 30 years or so) and always being pushed for space I therefore seek to understand. I wouldn’t want to put, say, a 36ft reefer or 60ft flat or something with roofwalks etc into an unbelievable scenario any more than using a 3F Jinty/Jocko running into Wadebridge or Padstow regularly (though some funny things happened in WWII). So I must look at what is on offer commercially and whether it is adaptable and by asking and researching try to find a scenario which is comfortable for me.

Having established that through simplicity of approach I do see that what the Prof says about alterations and detail will set a model into a very particular slot of area/time scale etc and depending on the individual this can be done to a greater of lesser degree as ones interest / competence etc dictate or allow. It was my understanding that that was what John meant by “Maybe adding things as one wishes.” Here’s the dilemma - details can certainly confuse (where’s the smiley for holding your head in your hands?) and yet it can “make” and “place” a model precisely as the Prof indicates – and there’s always some new or surprising fact to learn that can be incorporated. Me, I can hardly see rivets never mind count ’em and my fingers aren’t too nimble now but I have to accept that.

I do actually think that we’re all going down the same road here and it is all a matter of individual degrees of “artistic expression” whether in modelling or talking/writing about modelling. I am extremely grateful to all who have contributed to this thread. I hope we can make allowances and none of us are going to fall out over this because I personally have learnt a lot and been pushed to find out even more and long may that continue. I am a firm believer in the “everyone has something to teach us if I can listen” school of thought.

My regards to all, and keep educating me…please! Laughing

Julian
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shortliner2001



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 836

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julian - just came across this - which might be useful to you, and answer some questions
http://www.housatonicrr.com/
Jack
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twilight



Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Posts: 91
Location: Heading back 'oop North' somewhere

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But that wouldn't fit on my widowsill Jack Rolling Eyes Razz Laughing

Seriously, as with the http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/ site given earlier by the Prof there looks to be some interesting stuff on there re earlier- timescale US modelling - lots to go at.
Some good projects here - the 1876 boxcar for one.

Am also intrigued on scrolling down the mainpage. there is an article entitled "Just say NO to the Timesaver...."

http://www.housatonicrr.com/timesaver.htm

but I guess that might be in the context of the normally large(r) (??) US style layout.
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shortliner2001



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 836

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, for window sills, see http://www.carendt.us/scrapbook/page71a/index.html
There is a rather nice "Box Street" hiding in there too!
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Ken



Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 443
Location: East London

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julian here's an interetsing prototype

http://www.ginosrailpage.com/GRRR/index.html
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twilight



Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Posts: 91
Location: Heading back 'oop North' somewhere

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks Jack. I'd forgotten it was "mid-month Bonus Edition" time again. That there Box Street gets everywhere Exclamation Laughing

Ken, many thanks for that great link to the Grasse River RR. I am very taken with that as a small prototype - good period, interesting equipment and logging but with a genuine passenger service. Will have to look further at that. The Adirondacks seem to provide a good scenic setting for rail (Racquette Lake & Marion River carry etc also). Cheers.

Julian
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iandrewmartin



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Ballarat, Victoria Australia

PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 4:46 am    Post subject: Modern Era - and short cars in the USA Reply with quote

This is a very quick overview of the short cars saga in the US. Generally speaking there were almost no 40 foot cars in AAR interchange service by the mid 1970s.
By the Mid 1980s there were only the 40' Hi-Cube (Whitegoods Pool) cars still in AAR interchange service. And by this stage even those cars were on the out for whitegoods service and moving into other commodities such as furniture, engine castings, aluminium (aluminum) ingots, and blanks, and other low weight, high volume commodities, paper being another load.

You can find more about these unique and I think lovely cars here: http://www.huntervalleylines.com/AShortHistoryOfTheSPSSW40FootHicubeBoxcarsAndNotesOnModellingThem.aspx
Update - this URL does not work as the site has been 'changed' by the hosting company due to updates on their end.

With the demise of roof walks, and so on during the late 1960s, I think '69 was the end of the reign for these with a final date of 74-75 the end was nigh for all of the older Pullman Standard, and other builders PS-1 style boxcars.

You will still find short cars though apart from boxcars available in the 70s - through the 1990's such as 2 Bay hoppers, for cement loading, flour and pelletised commodities as these were first bought into play during the very late 50's and then began to extend there range in the 60's through their dominance in this business sector today.

It is worth keeping in mind though that if a shortline had customers who shipped online, and not offline (say between plants on the same shortline) that almost any car from wooden underframe through composite through PS-1 era boxcars could be used. And most likely was.

The big issue is whether they shipped out to interchange. If so then the rules apply by date. And look I know that this is a late entry into the whole conversation, but if it helps others then I hope it is worth the time to read.[/url]
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Andrew Martin
HO & O scale modeller
https://huntervalleylines.wordpress.com/
Ballarat, Victoria Australia


Last edited by iandrewmartin on Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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