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Author Topic: Famous Train Layouts  (Read 15971 times)
Woody Elmore

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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2010, 11:19:09 AM »

I think many readers are too young to have heard of Frank Ellison and his O gauge Delta Lines. While the scenery and rolling stock weren't as detailed as the John Allen pike, Mr. Ellison pioneered running trains on schedule and he introduced the block length that he called a "smile."

Mel Torme was featured in Mantua adds holding a pacific.

The late journalist/TV personality Tom Snyder was a huge Lionel collector. His dad was a salesman who sold  wholesale things like Christmas decorations. Tom once remarked that he used to play with the latest Lionel releases on the Fourth of July because that's when the holiday items would be ordered. On his last TV talk show he had an LGB train running around the set!

Herman Goering had a humongous Marklin layout in his Bavarian Chateau and another one (not so big) in his private railway car.  I wonder what became of the layouts.

The late Jackie Gleason used to have a character called Reggie Van Gleason who was supposed to be a rich drunk. He had a Lionel train that would pop out of the wall and there would be whiskey decanters on flat cars. Reggie would push a button, the train would appear and he'd make a drink, drink it, roll his eyes and say' "smooth!"

I saw an awful Chevy Chase /Dan akroyd /John Candy movie about a lawyer and friend who get stopped in a very weird town in Pennsylvania. Ackroyd played a magistrate and he invites Chevy Chase and others to dinner. During the dinner a Lionel train set pops up with flatcars containing condiments. It also had a Lionel guided missle car that shot pickles! Skip the movie, it was awful.

Did anybody reproduce the American Flyer train setup that appeared in a 'Leave It to Beaver" episode? How about the train set played with by Billy Gray in the classic fifties movie"the Day the Earth Stood Still."
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Guilford Guy


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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2010, 12:27:34 PM »

Gary Coleman and his DRGW layout was featured in Railroad Model Craftsman about 20 years ago.
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Alex

Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2010, 02:46:55 PM »

This fellow has an interesting opinion.  Wonder how the idea would go over with the art field's establishment?

http://users.skynet.be/pro-rail/ukca10ea0.htm

Like a lead balloon.  I like his term "the 10th Art."  But to the fine art boys, moulding something out of plaster and then carving in the details is an "Art" when they do it but "only a craft" when we do it.  When we slap on the plaster any old way, that is poor craftsmanship and we bash it out with a hammer then try again.  When "artists" slap on the plaster any old way, they call it "impressionist" and sell it for millions.

Ever tried to insure a model railroad?  I have.  My agent told me sure, no problem to insure it for the price of the materials that went into it.  I asked him if the local art galleries insured their paintings for the cost of the paints and canvass.  He acted surprised as he gave me a long winded explanation to the effect that they could insure them for full value because they were works of art.  Arrgh.

It makes me very sad that after John Allen's death and the fire that claimed his layout, the most his estate could collect was the price of some lumber, plaster, and bits of wire for the layout plus the cost of some scraps of brass and paper that he used for his hand built locomotives.  Basically, nothing for a work of art that took a lifetime.

Jim
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ryeguyisme

Heavy Mountain Steam


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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2010, 07:55:34 PM »

Two words say it all:

John Allen

Jim

INDEED
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ryeguyisme

Heavy Mountain Steam


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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2010, 07:56:17 PM »

Gary Coleman is a model railroader
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J3a-614

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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2010, 09:08:05 PM »

I think you're very right, Jim; that's why I had that line there. . .

If you read my comments about Wheeling photos a while back, you'll recall that I have a problem in that we rail enthusiasts "don't get no resepect."  To a very great deal of the public, we're "Choo Choo Charlies" who are somehow weird.  This is even in the scholarly field unless you are writing dry economic books about the industry.  This even came up to John White, who is the former director of the Transportation Hall at the Museum of American History and Technology of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

As recounted by White in his book, "The American Railroad Freight Car" (which I very highly recommend, along with his books on passenger cars and locomotives), he recounted an incident, I think it was at a fundraiser for the Smithsonian, in which some lady with money approached White, and asked him "Which art museum are you connected with?"  White replied that he was not with an art museum, but was with the Museum of History and Technology, and that he had just finished the manuscript for a book on railroad freight cars.  To this, this matron of the ARTS replied "Oh, they don't really make you do that, do they?"

Some years back I got pretty disgusted with what passed for entertainment in film and television (and I'm still not impressed with most of what is fed to us).  I also read that the entertainment industry was desperate for new writers, suggesting even they saw some of the problems they had.  So, I put together a proposal for a television series based on the adventures of railroaders on the job. which, for lack of a better term, would be something of an action-comedy, set on a mainline mountain railroad in West Virginia, its first season to be on the eve of WW II.  Spent two years of virtually all my spare time learning how to write scripts, researching the subject, including operations and personal incidents, collecting background material, and writing 12 scripts and having materials for another 30 or so.  Although set in the early 1940s, much inspiration came from material from the 19th century, including "The General Manager's Story" by Herbert Hamblen, and "No Royal Road," by Edward Custer (and more books that I highly recommend).  Some great stories came out of this and other material; I particularly liked how a division superintendant closed out an accident inquest by pulling out a cigar, lighting it, and saying between puffs to a young Ed Custer in "No Royal Road," "Young man, you have the makings of a first-class railroader.  You can lie with the best of them.  About two weeks (suspension) will fit your case."  Such material is better than about anything anybody can think up.

Lest you worry about copyrights, most of my research material was so old as to be in the public domain ("The General Manager's Story" was published in 1898.)

I couldn't sell the thing to save my soul.

So much for this country being a land of opportunity.

I think we have a culture that got brainwashed somehow, or dumbed down, or something.  The Brits don't seem to have this problem, and I don't think we always did, if the presence of the books I've mentioned and the fiction stories that used to appear in Railroad magazine and in general publications such as the Saturday Evening Post are any indication.  I imagine you may have faced something like it, with your comments about the art establishment and the insurance people.  How did you deal with it?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 10:24:45 PM by J3a-614 » Logged
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2010, 01:07:04 AM »

How did I deal with it?  I went down the basement and played trains.  Working as an "Inventor on demand," my life was stressful enough.  Working on my model railroad was my stress reliever.  But eventually I got together with a group of like minded guys and set up a very public model railroad in our local museum.  We had three ideas in mind when we approached the museum with our plans - To share our private pleasures in model railroading with the public so that they could enjoy them too.  To make museums in general and our local museum in particular a more attractive destination for parents and particularly children.  And to become a local center of focus for model railroaders from newcomers to experts.  With the help of the museum, we have been able to meet our objectives for the last 20 years.  We have not and do not expect the art world to ever acknowledge our work as art but I believe there are thousands of museum visitors from our city, our country and from around the world that are convinced it is.  More importantly, we have put smiles on the faces of multitudes and brought tears of nostalgia to the eyes of many more.  We have helped hundreds to become active model railroaders and helped get model railroading out of the closet and into the main stream.  In some cases, we have had profound effects on peoples lives, most often with older people who have been cast adrift by retirement but also with young people who make their way back to Saskatoon and let us know about their careers in railroading and railroad related fields.

With all of that, who cares whether our work is or isn't art and whether it is insured for just the materials or for full value.  We know what it is and we  know what it is worth in terms of people, joy, and happiness.

Jim
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turnbub

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« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2010, 02:17:22 PM »

Being a former Canadian, relatively new to this country, I never cease to be amazed at what people in this country have done.
No wonder enthusiasts have spent so much time and effort re-creating a bit of the past.......... it is amazing how the railways
ever got punched thru the mountains......... and over hundreds of miles of (what was then) uninhabited wilderness.
Being in California now, I hope to do a bit of Cahon Pass (Interstate 15), and the pass thru Tehachapie.
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Santa Fe buff

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« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2010, 04:47:35 PM »

I love the Franklin and South Manchester.

Cheers,
Joshua
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- Joshua Bauer
ebtnut

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« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2010, 04:47:56 PM »

OK, a short list from memory of some influential layouts (including some already mentioned):

Frank Ellison's Delta Lines - O scale
John Allen's Gorre and Daphetid - HO scale
Allen McClelland's Virginian and Ohio - HO scale
Bruce Chubb's Sunset Lines - HO scale
Tony Koester's Alleghey Midland - HO scale
John Armstrong's Canandaigua Southern - O scale
George Sellio's Franklin and South Manchester - HO scale
Bob Hegge's Crooked Mountain Lines - O scale traction
Minton Cronkhite's Museum and Santa Fe - O scale display @ Chicago's       Museum of Science and Industry
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Jhanecker2

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« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2010, 06:49:37 PM »

I remember reading that Frank Sinatra was a big Lionel "O" scale collector and had a layout in his garage .  Don't know what became of it after his death . John II
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Doneldon

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« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2010, 12:43:14 AM »

ebt-

The O-scale (loosely speaking) layout at the Rosenwald Museum in Chicago was removed about seven years ago and replaced with a very impressive HO one which actually models the Big New Santa Fe from Chicago to Seattle.  The old Lionel ATSF layout had solid rail track, unlike the tubular track we always associate with Lionel, but so many miles had been run on it that the railheads were gone.  The trains were running on the webs of the rails.

          --D
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Kevin Strong


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« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2010, 01:42:18 AM »

It's not "famous" yet, but it give it time...

The Greeley (Colorado) Freight Station Museum's HO scale Oregon, California, & Eastern Railroad:

http://www.cbs4denver.com/video/?id=70733@kcnc.dayport.com

5500 square feet, a 22 scale mile mainline (70 scale miles of track total), and scenery that's just eye-popping. I think it was in the December 2008 MR. 

Later,

K
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2010, 09:21:33 PM »

I am surprised nobody has mentioned Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg.  Widely acknowledged as the world's largest, it has some 7-1/2 miles of track on 3800 square feet of railroad.  Doesn't sound like much until you realize that is 650 scale miles of track and occupies a 21,000 square foot building.  And the final plan calls for it to be 50% larger again.

http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/

Jim
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Jhanecker2

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« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2010, 09:29:26 AM »

I remember seeing the earlier version of wunderland on the net ,it is very impressive . It is one of the things that money can buy .   If I ever manage to get to Hamburg , I definitely will stop in to get a gander .   John II.
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