Ignorance of Model Railroad History

YoHo Jun 19, 2013

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  1. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    If you modeled as being a non-specific date, not long after the merger in 1970, you'd be somewhere in early BN. You could have SP&S equipment not yet re-numbered, re-stenciled items and the earliest re-paints or new BN power showing up.
  2. SP&S #750

    SP&S #750 TrainBoard Member

    yeah, the only problem is that I'd have to find a plausible way to match up the build and sell dates of new and old BN loco's.
  3. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    This discussion has developed into some interesting and inspiring lines of thought.

    RE: Mr mag. I too do not find it interesting anymore. I have some stacks of 50's through 70's issues I repeatedly return to for inspiration. Nowadays, there is a presumed style of model railroading that makes all their layouts look the same now. They do not feature weird subjects, such as in the past, like a feature on a european layout.

    RE: John Allen. JA was an oddball. His layout would not fit into todays standards as espoused by MR, because he just did what he felt like doing. It was more like he was seeking to create the impression of something in his head with model railroading. Although I was not always crazy about... grrr.. senior moment... The guy that did a lot of narrow gauge layouts in MR in the late 70's and 80's, but used somewhat non prototype designs... I hate my brain right now. Anyway, he was another oddball who was seeking a visual image of something rather than prototype to scale bolt by bolt perfection. I miss those imaginative oddballs, they are the ones who took the hobby to another level for me.

    Regarding the OP: They may not have known about Tony K. but now they do. None of us are born with knowledge. :) Also, Tony was best known for his first big layout. It was a particular style of modeling with an emphasis on operation. Tony himself would often say that his opinion column was merely that, an opinion column. His Ideas were not everyones idea of how to have fun with trains.
  4. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

    Remember John Page wrote that John Allen didn't like a certain support column in his basement so he took it out substantially weakening his living room floor, it was safe to walk only around the edges of the living room. Now that's model railroading sacrifice !!!

    Recently I bought a copy of the MR 75 year collection CD , I wasn't able to save all of my old copies so it was welcome to once again read these classic issues.

  5. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    Malcolm Furlow?

  6. cnw mike

    cnw mike TrainBoard Member


    Uh oh. Well, we made it five pages before someone threw that grenade, gotta be a record for topics like this! :teeth:

    MF definitely has fans and detractors. Someone from Texas should write a book about that era of model railroading.
  7. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

    This is what I'm doing on my Western Pacific layout. I can't remember a time when I didn't have a Burlington Chinese Red loco, a Tyco Q GP20 or Athearn GP35 when I was in HO, an Atlas GP30 in N. So when I finally decided to build a WP layout, I went with a layout circa 1970, so I can have my Cali Zephyr and post merger BN trains with Burlington, Great Northern, NP and SP&S equipment.
    Also, let me add a name that influenced me in N scale, Gordon Odegard.
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    We are all odd balls.... After all we play with trains. The little boy syndrome. My former spouse used to say, "I don't see what you see, most of the guys are mentally retarded". Low blow dear. Actually I'm surprised at the model railroaders that come from the medical profession, business management, artist, music (Ron Stewart) and of course the rest of us who dug graves for a living.

    Not to add to the myth's of John Allen. His layout wasn't as big as many thought it was. He was the master of illusion and his photography skills only added to the fun. And yes there was a support post in the middle of the room. Not to say that he may have removed it and was required to replace it later. There was a post there, during my last visit.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2013
  9. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    Would think that if anyone stuck with the hobby and did/could read, these names would pop up from time to time. And dependent on interest(s) would discover these people, probably best described as a process of osmosis.
  10. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    YES! Thanks, I was just doing this senior thing again. It's so frustrating. Am I even old enough to have a senior moment?

    So yeah, Furlow was another oddball. He was always doing things in a non-tradional manner. It was definitely not prototype at times and even silly. Yet he also had some really cool ideas. He was the first one to use an atlas turntable and build a gallows over it to help hide the lack of a pit. I always had a love hate feeling on him, but overall the guy was doing a lot of model railroading and adding to the general knowledge base for everyone.

    His narrow gauge project layout was very interesting on many levels; even if you weren't building a narrow gauge layout.

    ok, so back to the original topic, sorry for the derailment on my part and others. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2013
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Yikes. I'd swear you are a few years behind me. Now I am afraid of those moments when my recall ability let's me down!
  12. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    Sometimes folks stay in your mind not because of the wonderful stuff they do.
    With Furlow, I recall someone telling me all the wonderful shots of his LS railroad adorning the pages of Clambake were......all dioramas. I think he was pushed into actually connecting some of them up in later years.
    I was told it was all design concept and photo ops.
    That said, I once was told by a guy who ran on the railroad....Frank Ellison of Delta Lines fame....when a steamer had a problem, oh, with valve gear, he just took it all off that side and ran it that way.
    Photos sometimes had to be staged to show the "good" side.
    Reminds me of a LS articulated sometimes suffering from "moving drivers".
    Seems the tapered axle and wheel design in some cases of PRC/QC allows them to move under load.
    To allow the operator to continue operating...since all drivers have individual gearboxes...we pull the siderods only off of the offending side and send them back out on the line.
    I learned something from Ellison!
  13. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

    The siderods of that LS articulated have oval holes in them to bypass some of the binding from out of quarter drivers. The president of the company affirmed: "The siderods are for decoration only"...

    Ovaling out the siderod holes even more is a fix from a leading MTH expert.

  14. JB Stoker

    JB Stoker TrainBoard Member

    And here I thought I was a trailblazer...


    This loco has a "Right Side" and a "Wrong Side" and it isn't even a Shay!
  15. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

    My only qualms with Tony Koester is that his articles tended to get a bit repetitive. It was most often always about a new expansion of his layout and it was generally just his own plans and layout being showcased. John Allen seemed to keep the ability to tell a story, instead of just showing off his modelling techniques, and he seemed to be able to actually evoke a time and a place beyond his layout.

    I did very much appreciate it when Tony did become editor of Model Railroad Planning because it was definitely expanding the hobby and showcasing the work and ideas of other modellers. Actually, one of my favorite articles from Model Railroader was one Tony did in an anniversary issue that illustrated simply techniques to improve the visual appearance of a layout by modelling the passage of time and other non-railroad details that together make a believable atmosphere surrounding the railroad details.
  16. zephead

    zephead TrainBoard Member

    I have replied on this topic on other threads, so here it goes again. I love trains, we would not be here if not that. THAT should be rule #1. As far as knowing our past well thts easy, whats the old saying "those who forget the past........." so you should embrace your past and elders But here is the problem, from what I noticed on this site are two groups: 1)MODEL RAILROADERS and 2) people who just love to "play with there trains" Group one looks at a layout and says"in 1954 the third floor window was broken in that terminal and yours is not" Group two looks at the same layout and says "koooooool layout"
    Everything does NOT have to be proto type, or your an idiot if you run RTR products. Take my example, I love passenger trains, I own from the Super Chief on west coast to The Broadway limited on the east coast, and everything in between. Also have Acela,superliners, and amfleet. When I asked to model that i'm told pick a ptoto type. What proto type has a station with Morning Daylight, Broadway limited,and Acela. What I pick a proto type and NOT run my Amtrk? Very frustrating
  17. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    If I recall....Tony did a "build this railroad" on a Massachusetts street industrial line in #1 gauge. I remember the view of the street...there was a Mach 1 Mustang that looked like it had a 4X4 chassis under it. There are so many "good" cars, why choose that?
    Then the couplers. Showed a USA coupler (operating top pin knuckle) said it was Aristocraft (bottom lever) and that they were going to change to Kadees for their more prototypical appearance.
    How much more prototypical than a top pin knuckle can you get?
    Must have done his own proofreading.
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Hmmm. Interesting. Prompted by the comment above, I was just looking at several of his articles and this does seem to be a fitting observation.
  19. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    This thread is making me feel OLD! When I was a kid, I would go to the store on main street(the LHS was 25 miles away) and buy whichever magazine had an E.L. Moore article,and for a while in the mid-late 60's it was almost always one or the other. I also remember marveling over John Allen's GD line, and later felt that RMC became a more interesting magazine when Tony Koester became editor. I also enjoyed Bill Baron's track plans. In fact, I have to admit that my layout now taking shape appears somewhat dated precisely because of those memories, but that's O.K.- I enjoy the nostalgia as much as any other part of the hobby.

    All is not lost today, however. Some people seem to be intent on bad mouthing Pelle Soeborg, but there's no denying his ability to blend RTR with kits and some very good scenery to produce some stunning scenes. I suspect that in the future he will be remembered by the new generation of modelers as one of their influences. While perhaps not a Linn Westcott, at least not yet, young journalists like Dana Kawala and Cody Grivno will be influencing the future of the hobby.

    In the meantime, I think I'll pick up the July MR and see what Tony has to say about drainage ditches.....
  20. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    Remember Ray. L. Rhodes?
    It was Bill Rau.....I always read his column...never missed it.
    Some of the stuff I could do without, but some of it was good....but that's what the magazine is for. Can't please everybody.
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