Does a "Bible" for Trains exist?

caxu Oct 5, 2017

  1. caxu

    caxu TrainBoard Member

    For those like me who are new to the hobby is there a "Bible" for Trains? There are so many different trains/companies/etc it can be bewildering. Does such a book/wiki exist?
  2. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member

    I don't know about a "bible" for trains; but you can find books on just about anything you would like to know. Looking for a 'bible' is a very broad search. I don't know of one, but that doesn't mean it's not out there. :)

    Maybe someone else can offer something to meet your quest.
  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    If you're looking for information on real railroads, I suggest a book such as Kalmbach's Historical Guide to North American Railroads, as seen here:

    The book is widely available. I have the first edition from 1985 and still use it.
  4. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

    And then there's TrainBoard.;)

    You can look around, using the search function, or ask. You have no idea how much I've learned about model railroading just by hanging out in here (and applying it to my layout-in-progress). The best model railroading "bible" is experience - and there's plenty of that around. People with experience know things that never land in a book or even a web site. That goes for just about everything else, too, outside of trains.
  5. Kenneth L. Anthony

    Kenneth L. Anthony TrainBoard Member

    My "Bible" for prototype railroads in my middle-1950s time period is an "Official Guide to the Railways" which lists every common carrier operating in North America, updated every month, and all the public passenger timetables. Lists ALL stations and mileage over routes. About 1500 pages thick, like a Bible.
    For freight rolling stock, the "Bible" is "Official Railway Equipment Register" which lists every railroad and privately owned revenue freight car in interchange service, with car number series for each owner, dimensions of cars for load size and capacity, AAR mechanical designation such as XM for boxcar, XA for automobile boxcar, etc. Again, updated IO think monthly.
    The "Bible" for modeling used to be NMRA Data Sheets, loose leaf compendium about 2 inches thick, with info on rolling stock construction, operation, wiring, track laying. Mine is from 1973 and I don't know how it has been updated. I have been out of NMRA for 30 years.
  6. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    Wow, a single Trains "Bible"...I can't even find the ultimate book on the Pacific Electric!
  7. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

    I actually think he was asking about models, not the prototypes, but perhaps he will make this clear?

  8. caxu

    caxu TrainBoard Member

    I simply would like to learn about trains and the timelines in which they existed.

    Certain European shops will allow you to filter locomotives by Epoch by I haven't found anything similar online for North American trains.

    I will check out those books; I was hoping there was a single website I could go to that had everything rather than going through individuals Wikis.
  9. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    The problem I have with the Epoch system is the fact that a lot of American trains overlap time periods. There are locomotives that existed in the 70’s that still run today, and on historic railroads, older than that. Where would you list those? I also feel it is too vague. For the time-specific modeler, a paint scheme or locomotive that is even a few months off can be catastrophic. I like a date, like 1985, versus “epoch iv.” It is more precise, and you don’t need to learn what dates match with what epoch number.

    If you model a certain year, try to find an Equipment Register for that year. I don’t know how current they are with those, or if they are still made. I don’t use them; my tool of choice is You can find a railroad, a car, and then pictures of that car organized by the year they were taken. I can get a general idea of when it was built, or if the pictures stop, when it was scrapped. I like photo archives because I can see how the car looked on the date that I want, so I can build the model right.
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  10. NARLIE

    NARLIE TrainBoard Member

    For me part of the fun is searching for the info. I would look at the Trains magazine. Investigate the North American manufacturers. You can find the loco models and then the time periods. With the internet you can search any subject. Pose a question and go from there. There are libraries just about trains. The subject is vast. Good Luck:)
  11. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    For example Genesis and Genesis Locomotives.
    Exodus, that's what everyone does at a club when I flatulate.
    Mathew, the dispatcher for the evening.
    Mark, the annoying switch-man who keeps yelling at Paul the hog-head to pay attention.
    Revelation, is what John has when he wakes up to the fact there is a better way to build a layout.
    Titus, an old school model me.

    Does that help?
    Hardcoaler likes this.

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