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Fleshing out a proto-freelance railroad?

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Fleshing out a proto-freelance railroad?
Posted by ncandstl576 on Saturday, January 12, 2019 4:34 PM

The concept of proto-freelancing is attractive to me, as it offers a happy medium between the freedoms of freelancing and the constraints of prototype modelling. The most common form of PF modelling is to create a fictitious company out of wholecloth, along with any predecessor companies, taking inspiration from prototype companies. Another form involves taking one or more prototypes and modelling living past their historical demise, or operating in areas they didn't historically operate in.

My two ideas at the moment are: 1) the Georgia, Florida & Alabama Railway between Richland, GA and Tallahassee in the 1950s; and 2) the NC&StL acquring the line from East St. Louis to Evansville in the 1950s

But, how can you take a concept for a PF line and flesh it out? How can we estimate the numbers of locos and rolling stock a line needs? How many trains would run on a line, and organize them into timetables? 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, January 12, 2019 6:20 PM

ncandstl576
How can we estimate the numbers of locos and rolling stock a line needs?

Depends on the President of the railroad's bank account.  Big Smile 

Same for running trains, how much time and help to do you have?  I watch Horseshoe Curve webcam on youtube, but I don't want nor am able to duplicate that level of activity. 

Incidentally Youtuber, James Wright said he has 1000 pieces of rolling stock.  How do you manage 1000 pieces of rolling stock?  I could go years without ever seeing or missing or even knowing what I had. 

What I am saying is that the prototype shouldn't control you.  You only have a fixed amount of time, space and money.  Fill it with what works for you.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by dehusman on Saturday, January 12, 2019 7:37 PM

ncandstl576
The most common form of PF modelling is to create a fictitious company out of wholecloth, along with any predecessor companies, taking inspiration from prototype companies.

I hate the term "proto-freelancing".  If you make up your railroad its freelancing, pure and simple.

ncandstl576
Another form involves taking one or more prototypes and modelling living past their historical demise, or operating in areas they didn't historically operate in.

In my mind proto-freelancing is only taking a prototype railroad and modeling it on an line on which they didn't operate, either invented by the modeler or a another railroad.

ncandstl576
But, how can you take a concept for a PF line and flesh it out? How can we estimate the numbers of locos and rolling stock a line needs? How many trains would run on a line, and organize them into timetables?

Don't over think it.  Its is absolutely no different than most other model railroads.  How many locos and how many cars are directly related to how big the layout is, how many staging tracks, how many industries and how many trains you want to run.  If its a 4x8 layout then you are probably only running 1 train at a time.  If its bigger then you can run more trains.  Nobody uses the prototype number of trains or the prototype schedules as is.  Every model railroad has to modify the schedules somewhat to make the model railroad work.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Saturday, January 12, 2019 7:50 PM

dehusman

 

 
ncandstl576
The most common form of PF modelling is to create a fictitious company out of wholecloth, along with any predecessor companies, taking inspiration from prototype companies.

 

I hate the term "proto-freelancing".  If you make up your railroad its freelancing, pure and simple.

 

 
ncandstl576
Another form involves taking one or more prototypes and modelling living past their historical demise, or operating in areas they didn't historically operate in.

 

In my mind proto-freelancing is only taking a prototype railroad and modeling it on an line on which they didn't operate, either invented by the modeler or a another railroad.

 

 
ncandstl576
But, how can you take a concept for a PF line and flesh it out? How can we estimate the numbers of locos and rolling stock a line needs? How many trains would run on a line, and organize them into timetables?

 

Don't over think it.  Its is absolutely no different than most other model railroads.  How many locos and how many cars are directly related to how big the layout is, how many staging tracks, how many industries and how many trains you want to run.  If its a 4x8 layout then you are probably only running 1 train at a time.  If its bigger then you can run more trains.  Nobody uses the prototype number of trains or the prototype schedules as is.  Every model railroad has to modify the schedules somewhat to make the model railroad work.

 

I'm afraid I can't help overthinking it - I actually enjoy bookkeeping and paperwork. I don't mean the number of models the modeler purchases, but how many the railroad owns within its universe. It's all part of trying to craft a story for your railroad - now I just need to figure out how to do that.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, January 12, 2019 11:12 PM

Dave makes some good points.

There's nothing wrong with creating some background info and deciding what you're actually going to model, but the deeper you're drawn into the theoretical aspect of things, the better the chances that the actual layout building will be either delayed or simply not happen. 

Decide how much of the prototype you want to represent and how much of your freelanced road you want to include, and match that to what it will cost, in both money and time, and the space required, too.  Then just "do it".

I've seen or listened to too many "modellers" paralysed by over-planning - great, well-detailed plans, but never executed...it's almost as if they're two separate hobbies.

My layout is freelanced, but interchanges directly with four real railroads (represented only by staging yards and some examples of their equipment), and interchanges, through them, with many other North American real railroads.  I try to model mostly plausible stuff, but don't model real places, even though the place names may be real.  That allows me to do the freelancing part with the modelled portion of the layout and the equipment of my freelanced roads, but also gives connections to the "real" world through representations of real railroads' equipment. 
I don't care how many locomotives my direct interchange partners have:  I'll represent the ones I wish to model, if any, and likewise for their rolling stock.

Wayne

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Sunday, January 13, 2019 3:07 AM

doctorwayne

Dave makes some good points.

There's nothing wrong with creating some background info and deciding what you're actually going to model, but the deeper you're drawn into the theoretical aspect of things, the better the chances that the actual layout building will be either delayed or simply not happen. 

Decide how much of the prototype you want to represent and how much of your freelanced road you want to include, and match that to what it will cost, in both money and time, and the space required, too.  Then just "do it".

I've seen or listened to too many "modellers" paralysed by over-planning - great, well-detailed plans, but never executed...it's almost as if they're two separate hobbies.

My layout is freelanced, but interchanges directly with four real railroads (represented only by staging yards and some examples of their equipment), and interchanges, through them, with many other North American real railroads.  I try to model mostly plausible stuff, but don't model real places, even though the place names may be real.  That allows me to do the freelancing part with the modelled portion of the layout and the equipment of my freelanced roads, but also gives connections to the "real" world through representations of real railroads' equipment. 
I don't care how many locomotives my direct interchange partners have:  I'll represent the ones I wish to model, if any, and likewise for their rolling stock.

Wayne

 

Thank you, I agree wholeheartedly with what you, Dave, and BigDaddy have said so far. I certainly didn't want to appear ungrateful, I only wanted to clarify where I'm coming from. 

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, January 13, 2019 7:14 AM

ncandstl576
My two ideas at the moment are: 1) the Georgia, Florida & Alabama Railway between Richland, GA and Tallahassee in the 1950s; and 2) the NC&StL acquring the line from East St. Louis to Evansville in the 1950s But, how can you take a concept for a PF line and flesh it out? How can we estimate the numbers of locos and rolling stock a line needs? How many trains would run on a line, and organize them into timetables?

ncandstl576
I don't mean the number of models the modeler purchases, but how many the railroad owns within its universe. It's all part of trying to craft a story for your railroad - now I just need to figure out how to do that.

A railroad doesn't separate cars by "routes", it buys them for a service or the entire system.  Same to a certain extent with engines.

If you are modeling an existing line then it would be what the actual railroad that operated that line ran.  If you are modeling the line from ESTL to Evansville, then what did the real railroad operate on that line, how many trains with how many cars with how many engines?  Then translate that into the types of engines the NC&STL owned. 

Since the customer base would more or less be the same regardless of who owned the line.  It would be the same mix of cars.  Unless there was some unique industry that required a special type of car, adding just one subdivision isn't going to materially increase the number of cars a railroad is going to own.  It certainly isn't going to change the composition of the national fleet and since cars other than the home road will be 50-75% of the fleet on the layout there is no change there. 

Plus the mix of cars on a subdivison doesn't really have anything to do with the mix of cars the railroad owns.  It has to do with the routes and the customers on those routes.  The classic example is the MP/UP in Ft Worth, Texas.  At Tower 55 an E-W MP/UP line crosses a N-S MP/UP line.  Same railroad but if you just looked at the mix of cars on each line, you couldn't tell they were the same railroad.  Two completely different mixes of cars.  You could model the "UP" but depending on which line you picked, you would need two completely different rosters for a model railroad.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 13, 2019 8:33 AM

ncandstl576
But, how can you take a concept for a PF line and flesh it out?

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I have been fleshing out the STRATTON AND GILLETTE since 1983.

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It went through so many changes in its "Proto-Freelance" periods. It interchanged with the Seaboard System, Santa Fe, New York Central, Northern Pacific, and others at various times of development. I had huge histories I had written. It has been an N scale double track mainline in 1968, and a small HO ISL in 1954.

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I finally realized that the real world has no place on my fantasy world, and I dropped the "Proto", and now I just freelance.

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I am so much happier now.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by NHTX on Sunday, January 13, 2019 11:18 PM

    NC&StL576, creating the backstory for your railroad can easily become a hobby unto itself but to answer your questions, how many locomotives did your combined prototypes roster in the era you are modeling?  Let the prototype be the guide for your THEORETICAL fleet.  As stated, your layout size, area modeled and real finances will dictate your model roster.

     The number of trains would probably reflect the prototype's level of service on the route that interests you.  An employee's timetable may list through and local freights in addition to passenger service.  Even when freelancing, most of us have a prototype that we wish to emulate to some degree, which in most cases is sound guidance.

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Monday, January 14, 2019 6:55 AM

NHTX

    NC&StL576, creating the backstory for your railroad can easily become a hobby unto itself but to answer your questions, how many locomotives did your combined prototypes roster in the era you are modeling?  Let the prototype be the guide for your THEORETICAL fleet.  As stated, your layout size, area modeled and real finances will dictate your model roster.

     The number of trains would probably reflect the prototype's level of service on the route that interests you.  An employee's timetable may list through and local freights in addition to passenger service.  Even when freelancing, most of us have a prototype that we wish to emulate to some degree, which in most cases is sound guidance.

 

For the NC&StL idea, I only have Prince's book on L&N steam at the moment, and while he mentions some of the classes that worked on the division, he doesn't mention how many engines worked there. 

For the GF&A, they had 24 engines at the time of the SAL takeover.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 14, 2019 7:23 AM

My thoughts on proto freelance, I think the proto part has only to do with making your models fit the time period.

Rolling stock detailed to what rolling stock of the time period was.  Locomotives the same, along with street vehicles.  Buildings can be timeless, as look at all the old buildings in towns and cities of all sizes around the country. Industries that may have been part of the time period, and how important rail service might have been.

I think that as is far as the proto part goes.

I always called my little freelanced short line a proto freelanced because of detailing rolling stock and locomotives from the 90's to mid 2000's.

But it is strictly freelance.  My little shortline never excisted, but trains from other roads did, so I try to make them prototypical (there's that word again) to the time period.

I get the part about the "backstory" of a freelanced road, but we've seen before in here how it can get overwhelming and stop the progess of actually building the railroad.

Mike.

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Posted by dehusman on Monday, January 14, 2019 12:20 PM

ncandstl576
For the GF&A, they had 24 engines at the time of the SAL takeover.

Pretty much any railroad would have more engines than would be on the layout.  So if you are freelancing a class 1 railroad it really doesn't matter how many engines the parent company has, you can make it up. 

What counts is how many engines you need on your layout and that depends on how much you are modeling.  I model a shortline that became a branch line of a class 1.  Even though the shortline had about 35 engines when it was independent and the class 1 had hundreds of engines, I only need about 5 switch engines and about 6-8 road engines to operate the layout. In reality, the RDG had in my era had up to 4-5 switch engines a shift in both Wilmington and Coatesville.  Cool, but that really has no bearing on may layout since I don't have the space to accomodate 4 or 5 switch engines operating per shift at either Wilmington or Coatesville.

What is more important is what type and the mix of engines.  Are you using 2-8-0's or 2-8-2's?  Do passenger trains have 4-6-0's or 4-6-2's or 4-8-2's?  Does your railroad use GP's or F units, Alco's or EMD's or Baldwins?  For example on my layout, the switch engines will all be 0-4-0 and 0-6-0 types, with maybe an 0-8-0.  The road power will 4-4-0, 4-6-0 and 2-8-0 engines.  The RDG had many other types of engiens, but they rarely, if ever, operated on the branch.  So it doesn't matter that the RDG had 4-2-2, 2-4-2, 4-4-4 and other odd duck engines, they wouldn't have operated on the division I'm modeling.

 

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, January 14, 2019 6:42 PM

mbinsewi
My little shortline never excisted, but trains from other roads did, so I try to make them prototypical

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I found the solution to that!

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Wink

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, January 14, 2019 8:10 PM

I describe my layout as freelanced prototypical. The freelance part is easy, and I stretch that fairly often; otherwise, why freelance? The prototypical part is a little more difficult to explain, and I often stretch that as well. And it's entirely possible prototypical doesn't mean what I think it means, or at least I don't think it means what some others understand it to mean.

When I say prototypical, what I mean is realistic, plausible, recognizable. I like things to look and act like they do in the 1:1 world. I like buildings to look like buildings and structures to look like structures. The trains already look like trains, and I rely on Atlas and Athearn and Kato and Intermountain and BLI et al to see to that. I make no attempt to mimic real-life trains or historical railroads in miniature. My layout is not set in stone to some specific date or some specific era or some specific locale, and I do not operate by well-known timetables, schedules, or rules. The layout is generally modern era, but I have no compunction against stretching that timeframe as well. So, no, maybe prototypical is not the right word, and I might follow Kevin and drop it entirely.

As an example of realistic and plausible . . . my layout has a deep-water port, and docked at the longshore berths are a very large container ship (Albatros), laden with thousands of containers (presumably from Asia) and an automobile carrier (Ming-na Maru) loaded with autos (also presumably from from Asia). Their presence along the dockside together with onshore facilities means that I can have a 40-car double stack unit train and a 15-car string of autoracks travel hither and yon all over the layout without ever having to explain how they got there (trains, docks, ships) or where they're going (trains, ships) or where they've been. Plausible, probable, self-evident. Wherever they are located on the layout and no matter which direction they travel, loaded well cars are headed to Talleyrand Intermodal, and empties are headed back to North Shore Yard. Same story with coal porters: loads travel from Mystic Mining and Materials to Plant Yeager (coal-fired electric generating plant), and empties travel vice-versa the other way around. Same for the steel mill; same for the chemical plant and the paper mill; same for the grain and sugar processing facilities. Loads in, empties out. Raw materials in, finished products out. Simple.

I have a fondness for passenger trains, and several make the round trip from the big downtown passenger station to the far-flung small town depot and back. My passenger trains do, admittedly, stretch the time frame a little. I have a set of heavyweight cars pulled by a Pennsy M1B; a streamlined Broadway Limited painted a terrific shade of Tuscan Red and pulled by an A-A brace of E8/9s; a silver CB&Q California Zephyr; an Amtrak consist of Phase III and IV Superliners; and a Japan Railways N700A Shinkansen Nozomi; the last being the only one I apologize for or even explain. And like the passenger trains, the previously-mentioned freight trains carry livery from all over: UP, BNSF, BN, SF, CSX, ACL, SCL, NS, CB&Q, CNW, PRR . . . you name it.

There is a pretty detailed layout narrative on my blog (and published elsewhere) that tells a moderately cohesive story how such a disparate array of stuff can come together as a whole. I'm not sure how things are turning out, and I'm not entirely sure they ever will, but in the meantime I try not to get too bogged down with details.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


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