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Author Topic: Correct Trains to Choose  (Read 2828 times)
brianb

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« on: May 14, 2011, 08:33:09 PM »

When I was first getting train cars from my hobby dealer, I thought I had a great set of cars picked out. However the sales guy started telling me, those two cars are from different era's; those cars are from different parts of the country and would not have run together, etc/

Is there a book that tells which train cars ran, and where they ran?  I want to make sure I don't put multiple era's of cars in by mistake.

Thanks for the help

Brian
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jward


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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2011, 08:55:50 PM »

general guidelines:

wood sided cars are appropriate with steam locomotives, as are 40 foot steel cars. most steel cars longer than 40' are diesel era exclusively. there is a grey area in the 1950s, known as the transition era, when steam, wood cars, early diesels and 50 foot boxcars all coexisted.

that said, buy the cars that you like, it's your railroad. there is nothing to stop you from running any of these cars and locomotives together. just make sure that you buy decent quality cars and you'll have few troubles with them.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
RAM

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2011, 09:59:23 PM »

general guidelines:

wood sided cars were built up to the 1930s with a few built during WW2 due to the storage of steel.  Steel cars from the late 20s.  Wood cars began to be retired after the end of WW2.   After 1950 they were few still in service.  They did have 5o foot auto. box cars.  Steel 50 foot auto box cars in the 30s.  Ice refrigerator cars lasted until around 1970.  Steam locomotive stayed on home rail, while diesels in the last 30 years run on many lines.  General service cars run just about anywhere.  Coal hoppers mostly stayed on home rails.
 
 
 
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Doneldon

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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2011, 12:14:36 AM »

brian-

Run what you want. Railcars ran on "foreign" railroads all over North America (yes, Canada and Mexico, too). Have you ever seen a train with rolling stock from only one railroad? No, of course not, other than some passenger trains, that is. But even long-distance passenger  trains commonly hauled cars from "foreign" railroads in order to provide easy transfers for passengers.

Much the same goes for types of cars. What the other posters said is pretty much true, but not completely. Railcars which didn't exist until a certain point in time certainly weren't seen before that time but lots and lots of older cars lasted long after most of their similarly engineered brethren were scrapped. Often the only things the railroads had to do to keep running a railcar in interstate commerce (on railroads other than their owner's) was install a different brake system or coupler. Railcars were/are expensive and it's much cheaper to upgrade or even rebuild existing cars than buy new ones. Or think of the two world wars. There was a huge and sudden demand for transportation and freight service, shortages of materials for building new equipment and no alternative transportation. (Planes and trucks weren't factors then.)  So what happened? The railroads used paper clips and chewing gum to keep older cars on the rails and the government made exceptions for railcars needed to move critical materials. And in wartime that means everything.

More than anything else, however, you are everything on your railroad, from the guy who sweeps up to the station agents, to the engineers and conductors to the General Manager and CEO. So you, and only you, get to decide what you want on your railroad.

Sometimes modelers get all hung up on what kind of equipment ran at this time or that time, or whether a given railroad had locomotive headlights in the middle of their engines' smokeboxes or on top, or whether a given city had a facility for icing refrigerator cars or, well, you get the picture. It's fine if a model railroader wants to make his/her pike as authentic (in modeling it's called prototypical) as possible, but just how far to go is each railroader's own decision. This supposed to be fun. If fun means counting rivets, fine. If fun means building what you want and running trains with anachronistic consists, that's fine, too. So don't be intimidated or feel you have to build someone else's idea of a model railroad. Your own idea is just fine. Perfect, even. As time goes by you'll learn about prototypical practices. Some you'll adopt; others you won't. Whatever. It's all OK as long as it's what you want. Now I'll get off of my soapbox.
                                                                                               -- D


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Nathan

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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2011, 08:28:30 AM »

Rule #1:  This is MY Railroad.

Rule #2:  If you see anything you do not like, see Rule #1.
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brianb

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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2011, 05:17:24 PM »

Great answers everyone.

I am a kind of a nut for being as historically correct on information that I can be. However when all else fails... have fun !
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judgethe

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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2011, 07:21:43 PM »

Rule #1:  This is MY Railroad.

Rule #2:  If you see anything you do not like, see Rule #1.

seriously i do agree with you there!

i attended my first swapmeet recently with a friend and he's like a mentor to me. i bought quite a number of items during that swapmeet and when i was about to get some athearn northern pacific passenger coaches, he immediately responded by saying you don't have a northern pacific locomotive which really caught me by surprise. he's very particular about train companies running during certain era on his layout and he don't simply go out and get anything which doesn't belong to his choice of period. in the end i just went ahead and bought all 7 passenger coaches because to me, i don't have the extra fund to be picky and i just grab what ever i like most and most importantly affordable to my current financial situation. well in the end of the day we are the one who enjoy most on our layout so yes, this is MY railroad Smiley
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Johnson Bar Jeff

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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 11:02:08 AM »

i attended my first swapmeet recently with a friend and he's like a mentor to me. i bought quite a number of items during that swapmeet and when i was about to get some athearn northern pacific passenger coaches, he immediately responded by saying you don't have a northern pacific locomotive which really caught me by surprise. he's very particular about train companies running during certain era on his layout and he don't simply go out and get anything which doesn't belong to his choice of period. in the end i just went ahead and bought all 7 passenger coaches because to me, i don't have the extra fund to be picky and i just grab what ever i like most and most importantly affordable to my current financial situation. well in the end of the day we are the one who enjoy most on our layout so yes, this is MY railroad Smiley

If the coaches were a good price (personally I'm a pushover for a bargain  Roll Eyes ) and you don't have issues having space to store them, I would have bought them, too. Maybe at your next swap meet you'll be able to find a "matching" locomotive to pull them at a good price.
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ebtnut

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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 12:57:56 PM »

You've gotten generally good answers to your query.  I'll try to summarize some things and not repeat too much of what's aready been said.  Wood cars are of two basic types - wood bodies with wooden frames, and wood bodies with steel frames.  You can spot the former by the presence of truss rods under the car body that helped strengthen the car structure.  These were pretty much gone in interchange service by the early 1930's.  Steel frame, wood-bodied cars were built from about the end of WWI through the 1920's, and as noted, again during WWII.  I saw a few outside-braced wood body cars in service into the early 1970's, but for the most part these cars were either retired or rebuilt with steel bodies in the 1950's. 

Freight cars were sent all over the U.S.  Yes, they usually didn't stray too far from their home territory, but it really depended on what was being shipped.  And while coal hoppers mostly stayed on home rails, they too went other places, especially in the days when coal was still a prime home heating fuel.  Also, certain grades of coal were good for coking or other metalurgical needs, and they went off-line as well. 


Passenger cars went to all-metal bodies pretty early on the big roads.  In many cases this came about from safety regulations.  However, some wood-bodied, metal frame car cars survived to serve through the WWII era too.
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richg
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 02:55:34 PM »

When I was first getting train cars from my hobby dealer, I thought I had a great set of cars picked out. However the sales guy started telling me, those two cars are from different era's; those cars are from different parts of the country and would not have run together, etc/

Is there a book that tells which train cars ran, and where they ran?  I want to make sure I don't put multiple era's of cars in by mistake.

Thanks for the help

Brian


There are far too many different railroads and types of rolling stock for there to be "A" book on this issue. There are many books about rolling stock used in different roads and what may have been shipped in them
A question about what era/railroad you are modeling would be much more appropriate.
I do a lot of Google searches for this kind of info and find a lot of good sites and sometimes a book for what interest me.
As an example. I am modeling the New York Central locos and rolling stock in what is called the transition era by some so I did a lot of searching and came up with books that are about freight cars and cabooses. I have plenty of links about the locos. Google Books many times has good suggestions. A few times I bought the books off of ebay for a good price. The 'Net is a great way to competitively shop.
Ok, now the rub, different model manufactures stray from the paint color or how the model is produced which sometimes will affect you if you are a rivet counter.
I am modeling the NYC Pacemaker freight era and I have some Pacemaker freight cars from four different manufactures. They all vary in the color as compared to the prototype photos I have.
I was fortunate to find a beautiful brass unpainted caboose that is quite prototypical in doing Google searches. A friend painted it up according to the proto photos I have from one of the books. Only five where made from wood forty foot boxcars by the NYC.
With the Internet, there is no good reason why you cannot find the info you need. I use to do this years ago by going to a library but it is so much easier today with the Internet. I can keep a glass of beer or coffee nearby and even be wearing old beat up slouch clothes.

Rich
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richg
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2011, 03:07:58 PM »

Another issue, many manufactures make a basic rolling stock and loco but put different road names on them and they may not be an accurate representation. Bachmann does this to keep prices down as do some other manufacturers.
Again, how many rivets do you want to count?
Try to belong to more than one model railroad forum as that can stifle your modeling. I belong to about twenty forums which includes some that are only DCC. I probably have three hundred links for different model railroad sites under different categories.
One with a lot of people from different countries and the USA is Trains.com which sells model Railroad Railroader Magazine.
Below is a free on line magazine you can download to your PC. Sign up and they let you know via email when the next issue is available. You do not have to sign up if you do not want to. Some issues come with a video you can download to your PC.

http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/

Rich
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jbsmith


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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2011, 08:31:50 PM »

WHAT?    
Show me a Law on the books that says that you can't mix eras!
Looks like someone forgot to tell the Union Pacific that.
Have that salesman at your LHS watch this. This video alone will Rock His World.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhgHrDbN4EU
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richg
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2011, 08:54:58 PM »

WHAT?    
Show me a Law on the books that says that you can't mix eras!
Looks like someone forgot to tell the Union Pacific that.
Have that salesman at your LHS watch this. This video alone will Rock His World.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhgHrDbN4EU

No one said anything about a law. You are getting dramatic. We are just boys playning with toys. Not a big deal.
I run 1900 era trains on our club layout as we have no law or rules.
Oh, yeah, no DC operations. Only DCC. Ok. one rule or law.
Some run UP steam or diesel, some run Erie.
Sometimes I run a NYC Pacemaker freight with ABBA set.

Rich
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