Family tree of americam railroads

6 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Family tree of americam railroads
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 18, 2004 2:10 AM
As a relative new comer to model railways and its interrelated researching the prototypes ,I am fascinated by the sheer number of American Railroad companies that existed in the late 1800's and have now been mergered into a five ( I think) railroads. It struck me thta this would be a fascinating topic for historical research and an inverted family tree ( ie many gradually reducing to a few ) would be a valuable resource for modellers to consult. I expect something along these lines has been done but I thought id throw in my 10 cents worth anyway. As an australian (we only have 7 states and our railways were nationalized fairly early in our settlements.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 18, 2004 9:01 PM
It may be well to start with the earliest "Official Guide of the Railway and Steamship Lines of North America" [sic] or the equipment registers sometimes available from some of the dealers in the enthusiast magazines. I'm not sure if the Simmons-Boardman [sic] publishing people have ever put out anything of the sort of thing that you are looking for either.As I'm new to the internet I have not really learned to do the research to find sources where one could actually page through a book of the aforementioned type, but maybe some kind soul will give us a hand and list something of a response for us to use. I'd certainly be interested, too.
Take care,
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,278 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 19, 2004 12:12 AM

Thanks for you response, hopefully someone can supply us with more infomation,
Its a smallworld though,( please bear with me , im coming to a point) this is the first time I have used a forum and out of curiosity i looked at your profile, it is intersting that you play the french horn, as my occupation is the graphic designer for the WA Youth Orcherstra/ Wind band.

Anyway i spent some time earlier today writing some other thoughts about model railways, and it seems yopu might relate to them given the performing aspect of your life.

Model railroads as performance art

I see model railways as a type of theatre,
Where the Locomotives, and the rolling stock are the actors
And the story line is concerned with distilling the essence of railroad perorations and creating an impression of these activities for viewers
(Even if the view is also the operator)

There are at least 5 significant ways that an operating model railroad is similar to a theatrical production.

1. Content compression
When telling a story only the significant aspects are included this type of content compression is also achieved on model railroads by bringing together the most exciting operating activities i.e. areas where trains are shunted, diverted, loaded etc. whilst leaving out the hundreds of miles of uninterrupted straight track between destinations.

2. Visual compression
In theatre the props and backdrops are carefully designed to portray the essence of a location this #8216;essence of a place#8217; concept is also utilized is model railroads and also all the most dramatic scenery, ie bridges, tunnels, hills, etc can be compressed from a 100 miles radius in to a room size layout.

3.) Small Scale
Although this does not neccessellay relate to full size theatre the correlations between trains and puppetry are distinctive.
A.) The smaller scale allows a lot more scenery and activity to occur within in a much smaller place than could be achieved at real size.

B.)The puppets/trains are moved and controlled remotely without the human hand being seen performing the movements

4.) Faster than life tempo
The combined result of the above three factors; content compression visual compression and small size enables the theatre of locomotives in action and the completion of their complex operations to progress at a much faster tempo (whilst still being accurate speeds for their scale) than full size trains in real time.

5.) Convincing, non real experiences
Both can also create convincing non-real experiences, either by accurately going back in time, or creating scenarios that never actually existed.

I know these are some of the aspects of model railroading that appeal to me and I believe they are probably important to many other model railroaders

I would not go so far as to say that these aspects make model railroading superior to train spotting full size prototypes, rather it is an activity that would not exist if it we not for the prototypes, but in some ways model railroading is a more accessible and comprehensible way of viewing trains in action, as well as an absorbing multi discipline activity to engage in.
  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: Sierra Mountains, 70 miles from Sacremento, Ca
  • 53 posts
Posted by john lea on Friday, March 19, 2004 11:33 AM
I,m not to sure what you want to know as far as a family tree of american railroads is concerned, but you can get a book of the "Big Four" and the the rails west to Calif. From there you can trace the evelotion of various Large roads plus all of the smaller roads that emerged for the various different needs of the minors, farmers, gold miners and various industries that were poping up from east to the west. I've read a few, don' remember the titles, but they are out there.
John, 4449 west coast S.J. Div.
John, 4449 West Coast, S.J. Div.
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: WV
  • 1,238 posts
Posted by coalminer3 on Friday, March 19, 2004 11:55 AM
Hello Richdo:

Allow me a couple of comments.

"I see model rr's as theatre."

So did Frank Ellison. If you have not read any of his material, you should. He did tons of magazine articles in the 50's and a little earlier. His Delta Lines O-scale layout was based on some of the ideas mentioned in your post. IMHO, Ellison was succeeded (in some ways) by John Allen, and later by Allen McClelland with the Virginian and Ohio.

Now regarding the real thing.

For railroad family trees, let me recommend Richard Simons and Francis H. Parker's book, Railroads of Indiana. It has excellent corporate lineage charts that are intelligently laid out. Also, take a look at James E. Vance, jr's book, The North American Railroad - It's Origin, Evolution, and Geography. There are also two books by Richard Saunders, Merging Lines, and Main Lines. These books do a real good job in covering a lot of the history (sordid and otherwise) of American railroads from 1900 through 2002. Also don't forget George Drury's Historical Guide to North American Railroads.

This will give you a lot of the information you need.

P.S. Don't try to untange the lineage of the New York Central or the New Haven at first; those are to be treated with great respect and carefully approached (LOL).

work safe

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • 655 posts
Posted by Mikeygaw on Wednesday, April 7, 2004 10:24 PM
i also believe that in Trains mag in late 1998-1999 they had a family tree of the companies (including Conrail).
Conrail Forever!
  • Member since
    August 2002
  • From: Memory Lane, on the sunny side of the street.
  • 737 posts
Posted by ironhorseman on Friday, April 9, 2004 9:39 PM
The book that I found helpful on sorting out the family tree is The Encyclopedia of Trains & Locomotives by C. J. Riley. MetroBooks (Barnes & Noble). 2000. Library of Congress Catalog reference not included. In Appendix III it has about 66 railroads listed and these are just the Major N.A. mergers. Trains Magazine did do the merger family trees in a 3-month period one year which is probably a little bit more comprehensive. If you type in "merger family tree" in the search engine above you might find something.

yad sdrawkcab s'ti


Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!


Get the Classic Trains twice-monthly newsletter