How did you choose your prototype?

ccaranna May 23, 2008

  1. SP-Wolf

    SP-Wolf TrainBoard Supporter

    The home my parents rented int the late 60's through the late 70's was next to an SP branch line (ex-PE) that went down to Huntington Beach. So - the SP kind of chose me. Of course all I saw was bloody nose GP9's, SW's (Of all sorts) and -- C415's. I was enamored with that scheme - until I started reading up on my beloved SP. After seeing my first Daylight, Tiger stripe and Black Widow units -- well -- I was hooked. So, I model an era of SP that is well before my time period (Born in '63). Of course there were still a bunch of Black Widow F units and some GP9's - I did not see them in person. We immigrated here from Germany in '66. So, by the time I was old enough to pay attention, the Widows were long gone -- bummer.

  2. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

    So as as kid I would see the green and black BN locomotives pulling long freights around the Tacoma area. When I finally got myself into a position to start modeling trains I was in my mid 20's stationed in the Hampton Roads area. There I would see Norfolk Southern and CSX. I really liked the yellow, grey and blue CSX trains and I started collecting them. As I started researching the CSX I discovered the link to NS via the Conrail, so I started learning about NS. I actually really liked the long history of the NS including the N&W and even an older version of the Norfolk Southern. Then I discovered the J class and I was in love. This quickly became my all time favorite locomotive ever. I had a large collection of NS modern diesels, with a 611 and a Powhatan Arrow consist thrown in for steam excursions. I loved the look of a long passenger train, to me they just have a graceful look to them.

    Well now I mainly model Amtrak. Did I mention I like long passenger trains? Well I didn't get into Amtrak right away. I started off wanting a TGV type train and found the best options for TGVs were N scale. I now own 2 TGVs, the Orange first gen train and the current Carmillion Duplex. Since I dont model France I decided that my modeling will be the USA in an alternate reality where Amtrak is looking to add high speed rail to it's roster in more places than just the NEC and they are testing designs from over seas. I also have Amtrak running commuter services and long distance as well. My city is like Springfield in the Simpsons. No one really knows where it is so I can run anything I want on it!
  3. drgwspup

    drgwspup TrainBoard Member

    Well, I found my prototype when I moved to Denver to attend college. A bank had a new account day in the lobby of the dorm and I signed up not knowing where the bank was actually located since I knew very little about Denver. I was bummed to find the bank was downtown but there was a bus to ran there from campus.

    Getting off the bus I turned and saw the original Caboose Hobbies and went in. Like many of you early N Scalers, I had ATSF Warbonnet and PRR locomotives primarily. Researching the ATSF (looking at pictures in Model Railroader) I really liked the ATSF Zebra stripe era and went in looking for decals. None existed at that time in N scale but a salesperson asked whether I had considered the Denver and Rio Grande Western? Well honestly as a 18 year old east coast guy, who had never been farther west than Detroit, I had no idea about the DRGW. But a couplie books and magazine articles later I was hooked on their fast freight concept of running smaller but more frequent trains. Then when I learned about the Cal Zephyr, Yampa Valley Mail, and the Prospector (with TOFC cars in the later years), I was totally hooked. Passenger trains and freight!

    As far as which area of the Grande to model, that has evolved over the years. Like most Grande geeks, I was smitten with the tunnel district west of Denver and spent some time driving around the mountains to access the railroad. I was pretty committed to that until two things happened; I went through a divorce many years later which stopped my Moffat Road in its tracks at the hidden return loop benchwork stage. As i was putting my life back in order, Mike Danneman's gorgeous Moffat Road was taking shape and I decided it that it would be hard to even come close to what he accomplished.

    So I went looking for a new love. Dated the Craig Branch for a little. Was smitten with Phippsburg and the Edna mine area. Loved the twin bridges in Rock Creek Canyon, but could never find much info about the very remote Egeria Canyon. While I knew the Yampa Valley Mail, all the other traffic would be coal drags which seemed liek a drag and they simply wasn't enough traffic on that branch. Then opened up one of my Grande books that had a picture of Helper, Utah with the escarpment towering behind it. Perfect for N scale I thought. As I researched the Utah portion of the Grande they had the castle Gate rock formation, tunnels (Nolan and Kyune with cool track arrangements heading westbound) a couple large industries (Carbon power plant and the coal washer/tipple by Castle Gate). Throw in the proverbial railroad town of Castle Gate and center sidings ( which I always thought were cool on the UP) and viola! I had a new love.
  4. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

    I originally modeled a freelance club layout, then decided to model the Penn Central, shifted to the PRR, but decided both of those were too big. Started modeling the LV but it had mostly Alcos and in those days there weren't a lot of good running Alco engines. Shifted over to the RDG in 1970, smaller railroad, more engines available. Then modeled the MP for a while, but decided to go back to the RDG. Eventually modeled a fictional branch freelanced after a branch and an industrial area near where I grew up. Got tired of freelancing and decided to pick a more prototypical branch, settled on the Wilmington & Northern Branch. Backdated from 1970 to 1948-1952 Built a layout and had it operating.

    I had always like the EBT and was intrigued by the work of Irv Schulz. Got to operate on Rev. Gerry McGee's P&P layout set in 1906. Finally pushed me over the edge and decided to backdate again to 1900-1905. Built a layout, moved, rebuilt the layout in the same era. That's where I am now.
    nscalestation, SP-Wolf and Joe Lovett like this.
  5. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

    Been there, done that, several times.

    Advantages of following a prototype:
    1. You know where the railroad goes and what it does, what industries it serves.
    2. Its cheaper, you aren't tempted to buy one of everything, you tend to just buy what you need.
    3. If you like history, its fun to dig up information.
    4. You don't have to explain stuff. If people don't like what I've done, I tell them to find Sherman and Peabody, borrow the "Way Back Machine" and go explain it to the guys in 1900 that they are doing wrong.
    5. Normally the next step is to explain who Sherman and Peabody are.
    You certainly don't have to but it can be a lot of fun if you like a challenge if you do.

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