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Fleshing out a proto-freelance railroad?

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  • Member since
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Posted by NittanyLion on Monday, January 28, 2019 2:46 PM

I wouldn't. The topographic, economic, political, and practical reasons why a modern highway is where it is versus where rail lines are tended to be very different. Take Pennsylvania for example. The Turnpike and I-80 are the main east west highways across the state (US 22 and 30 the secondary). The rail lines cut very different paths across the state, with 30 being the closest to the old PRR and 22 not too far off the B&O. But even those aren't the same towns.

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Posted by angelob6660 on Monday, January 28, 2019 4:28 PM

ncandstl576

In cases where a route is completely fictitious, is it a good idea to use modern day highway and interstate routes to help with plotting the course of your railroad?

I never did researching highways or interstate into my railroads. I always saw old videos and pictures of railroads and try to copy that aspect. 

Later on I design my own railway based on actual tracks and buildings alrighty placed.

Modeling the G.N.O. Railway, The Diamond Route.

Amtrak America, 1971-Present.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 28, 2019 5:22 PM

NittanyLion
I wouldn't. The topographic, economic, political, and practical reasons why a modern highway is where it is versus where rail lines are tended to be very different.

 Well put.  I agree.

Most likely, the railroad was there first, it's civil engineers deciding the best route to get from city to city.

Look at old railroad maps, before a lot of roads were built.  The railroad was the road from town to town.

Mike.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, January 28, 2019 7:23 PM

mbinsewi

 

 
NittanyLion
I wouldn't. The topographic, economic, political, and practical reasons why a modern highway is where it is versus where rail lines are tended to be very different.

 

 Well put.  I agree.

Most likely, the railroad was there first, it's civil engineers deciding the best route to get from city to city.

Look at old railroad maps, before a lot of roads were built.  The railroad was the road from town to town.

Mike.

 

In Iowa at least, many of the original cross country road routes followed the major cross state rail routes.  From North to South: US18 the MILW, US20 the IC, US30 the CNW, US6 the RI, US34 the CBQ.  So those rail routes are already taken.  As highways and vehicles have improved, many of those routes are way off their original ROW.  Like interstates, they have been straightened out.  I's not as important for highways to actually go through a town anymore. 

Many times the railroad was the original road between those small towns because those towns were established with the coming of the railroad.  Many named after someone connected with the original railroad that built the line.

Jeff 

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, January 28, 2019 7:56 PM

jeffhergert
In Iowa at least, many of the original cross country road routes followed the major cross state rail routes.

True in much of the west, as well. The railroads often chose routes because of the favorable geography -- and the highways followed suit. Not to mention that many of the towns had grown up along the rail routes and were then joined by the highways later.

If a highway is there now, likely a railroad could have been earlier -- if there was economic justification.

Byron

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Posted by dehusman on Monday, January 28, 2019 9:59 PM

ncandstl576
In cases where a route is completely fictitious, is it a good idea to use modern day highway and interstate routes to help with plotting the course of your railroad?

Follow rivers.  Highways have too steep of grades.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by dehusman on Monday, January 28, 2019 10:01 PM

NittanyLion
Take Pennsylvania for example. The Turnpike and I-80 are the main east west highways across the state (US 22 and 30 the secondary). The rail lines cut very different paths across the state, with 30 being the closest to the old PRR and 22 not too far off the B&O. But even those aren't the same towns

Ironically the PA turnpike uses some of the old grade of the South Penn RR.  Two of the tunnels were originally bored for the railroad.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, February 05, 2019 9:04 PM

ncandstl576
In cases where a route is completely fictitious, is it a good idea to use modern day highway and interstate routes to help with plotting the course of your railroad?

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Reading back through your posts, I found it hard to determine if you are planning to use real towns/locations or not.

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Please clarify if you could.

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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 ncandstl576 on Tuesday, February 05, 2019 10:14 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
ncandstl576
In cases where a route is completely fictitious, is it a good idea to use modern day highway and interstate routes to help with plotting the course of your railroad?

 

.

Reading back through your posts, I found it hard to determine if you are planning to use real towns/locations or not.

.

Please clarify if you could.

.

-Kevin

.

 

In this case, I meant real towns. 

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Posted by mancosbob on Thursday, February 07, 2019 3:22 AM

Howdy, my railroad is the Arizona Southern, and it grew out of the info in a book about about Railroads of Arizona, Vol. 1: The Southern Roads by David F. Myrick.

The real RR went the way of the Dodo many moons ago, but in my universe it survived and became standard gauged later in its life. Rather than bore everybody with a rehashing of the AZSO timeline and history, I'll just a leave a link to the blog for those who care about such things. 

https://mancosbobsarizonasouthernrr.blogspot.com/

Suffice it to say I tend to overthink things too. Starting with rosters for engines and cars alike, there is a named passenger train, map, and even an employee newsletter floating around depending on the year I'm doing at the moment. This project began late in 1987, but had been on my mind since the late 1970's when I discovered the book referenced above.

Peace,

John Huey

 

 

 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, February 07, 2019 6:16 AM

ncandstl576
I meant real towns. 

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If you are going to use real towns on a freelanced railroad, there are three situations I can think of.

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1) This town was never served by a real railroad, but your railroad saw an opportunity and extended rail service there.

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2) This town was served by a real railroad and your railroad now interchanges with that railroad, and maybe serves a few customers.

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3) This town was served by a real railroad, but in your world of nonsense that railroad does not exist in this town, so your railroad replaces it.

.

I can easily see where any of these three situations can be made to saound plausible.

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-Kevin

.

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

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Posted by ncandstl576 on Thursday, February 07, 2019 8:16 AM

mancosbob

Howdy, my railroad is the Arizona Southern, and it grew out of the info in a book about about Railroads of Arizona, Vol. 1: The Southern Roads by David F. Myrick.

The real RR went the way of the Dodo many moons ago, but in my universe it survived and became standard gauged later in its life. Rather than bore everybody with a rehashing of the AZSO timeline and history, I'll just a leave a link to the blog for those who care about such things. 

https://mancosbobsarizonasouthernrr.blogspot.com/

Suffice it to say I tend to overthink things too. Starting with rosters for engines and cars alike, there is a named passenger train, map, and even an employee newsletter floating around depending on the year I'm doing at the moment. This project began late in 1987, but had been on my mind since the late 1970's when I discovered the book referenced above.

Peace,

John Huey

 

 

 

 

Thanks mancosbob! I found your blog very interesting, the thought you've put into the Arizona Southern is clearly evident. 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, February 07, 2019 8:53 AM

ncandstl576
Thanks mancosbob! I found your blog very interesting,

I agree, very interesting.

And to add to Kevin's scenarios, something that does actually happen, your town was served by a real railroad, they left, sold off trackage that your town and a few others were on, such as a branchline,  to your railroad.

BUT, just a word of warning, as what also has happened in the real world, if your railroad becomes successful and nicely profitable, be warned, you may have to fight off a take-over or a buy-out by the big national operators of such lines, such as Progessive Rail, or WATCO.  Just warning you.Laugh

Mike.

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, February 07, 2019 9:52 AM

Routing depends on what you are trying to do and how much you care about the real world.  Creating your own completely ficticious line and then asking "how would this work prototypically?" usually doesn't end well if the people answering are knowledgeable and honest.  

A person created an imaginary line between the BNSF in new Mexico and the UP in Texas, then asked what run through bridge traffic trains between the BNSF and UP would operate over the line?  The answer is none.  The UP and BNSF lines are roughly parallel and connect at LA and in Texas.  There would be zero financial incentive to either road to involve a shortline as bridge carrier in the middle Whoever originated the traffic would carry it all the way to the other end and maximize their profit.  It would be very easy to dis-incentivise schedules, rates and service to encourage shippers to eliminate the middle man.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, February 08, 2019 6:36 AM

mbinsewi
something that does actually happen, your town was served by a real railroad, they left, sold off trackage that your town and a few others were on, such as a branchline,  to your railroad.

.

Great example, and it actually happened in Lee County, Florida where I live. The Seminole Gulf Railroad took over the old Seaboard System trackage.

.

-Kevin

.

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

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Posted by perrylamb on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 1:34 PM

My railroad, the Utah, Colorado & Western draws heavily from the prototype UP and BNSF railroads (until it purchases NS for cash!).  Therefore, I looked at the the fleets of equipment both of those railroads own or interact with when determing the locomotove types and numbers for my layout.  As has been pointed out, we can't fully model a prototype (well, mostly), but we can take excerpts from it.  Go find the prototype you are freelancing from and look at their rosters.

I've then gone back in time and pulled the histories of the real railroads that were pieced together to form the UC&W before the purchase of NS.  I've put all of that into a PowerPoint presentation that also serves as a marketing tool for the railroad, featuring its deparments, facilities and operations.  Pretty cool if you ask me.  :)

Perry B. Lamb, President Utah Colorado & Western Railroad
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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 2:13 PM

perrylamb
I've then gone back in time and pulled the histories of the real railroads that were pieced together to form the UC&W before the purchase of NS. I've put all of that into a PowerPoint presentation that also serves as a marketing tool for the railroad, featuring its deparments, facilities and operations. Pretty cool if you ask me. :)

WOW, or should I say OMG Surprise  Now that is over the top.

I just never had a clue that modelers would get so involve with the "history" of their freelance railroad, that never excisted.

I guess your having fun!

Mike.

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Posted by DMC600 on Thursday, February 14, 2019 3:51 PM
Hello!! I'm new to this forum, but this post peaked my interest. My Railroad is the Des Moines Central Ry. and is set up as if a new company bought the old Des Moines & Central Iowa Ry. I run on the old DM&CI tracks and will use a modified Orange and Cream Paint scheme on my fleet of 70 tonners. Most of my industries are names after real customers on the old DCI, but I have added a few to make the Local to Granger busier than it would have been. My motive power needs came from the amount of cars I needed to bring up the helix. Where the old DCI had 3 70 tonners to do all their work, I have 5 on the pike. I found I needed 2 MUed on the Granger Local to handle the tonnage up the hill. One for the Extra Job which does work at Firestone, and then works the industries in the Highland Park area (downtown) and one engine for the new Harris Turn job which serves the customers between the yard and Firestone, but not Firestone. I also have added 2 yard jobs. The DCI had 3 jobs total, and I have elected to add more jobs to keep the time spent on each job down to roughly an hour or hour and a half. Modelers license also allows me to move some old downtown industries up to the area where my yard is. We have a great sales team that has kept customers that would no longer have used rail service, to relocate and to stay with the new railroad. I have a total of 45 customers and two Team tracks on my pike. It is a busy little railroad. For over 30 years, I have studied the DM&CI and had planned to model it, but I also got the notion that I wanted to be able to change things that weren't on the real DM&CI. Jobs, customers relocating, and new customers that help keep the road out of the red. I took me a while to figure out my operating plan that I have now. It was trial and error, adding the new jobs, and figuring out my motive power needs. I feel I have finally got it how I like it to run, and it would allow for 3 or 4 people to operate on the layout if that were to ever happen. I run it one job at a time by myself, but when my brother was living close by we ran the railroad allot, and I would make changes and finally got it where I like how the railroad works. I want to keep the flavor of the DM&CI, but have my own railroad as well. Hope this helps!!!
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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, February 14, 2019 8:12 PM

Welcome to the forums!

That seems like a great story, but it lost me, or should I say I got lost, as it all runs together, like one giant paragraph, which made start to try and speed read it, that's where I got lost.

But anyway, it's all good.  Nice to know the beginnings of your railroad.

Mike.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, February 14, 2019 8:27 PM

I think the OP is putting too much thought into this.  If you have to have a prototypical reason for the railroad to go into an actual town where there wasn't a railroad, you'll fail to find a good reason. 

All of the railroads avoided those towns because it didn't make economic sense in the first place.  If you mimick their reasoning to the nth degree, you'll conclude the same thing.

My advice:

Pick a town(s) you like that have/had a railroad.  Switch out that railroad for your freelanced road.  Pretend your railroad got there first before the other one.

If you want more traffic through your town than what the prototype had, pretend the next town down the line and off the layout has some big traffic generation factory that was never there.  Its off layout, so you don't have to think about it very much.  Just run the extra trains.

But in choosing a route from scratch, try to follow rivers as they were natural pathways and tend to have fewer grades.  Also, bridges are expensive so railroads tended to wind through valleys to avoiding having to cross rivers, or went a bit out of their way to cross a narrower part of the river.  Short bridges cost less than long ones. 

- Douglas

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Posted by DMC600 on Thursday, February 14, 2019 9:36 PM
Thanks Mike!! I didn't plan out my story well, and sorry you got lost. I was hoping I had the chance to read and edit it before posting, but that didn't happen. For me, the whole idea of this hobby is to enjoy it, and that's what I am doing. I waited 30+ years to build a layout, and now that I am retired, I can finally build it without worrying about being uprooted and having to move for the job. My layout is not really what I had in mind, but it's close. I now have the freedom with what I'm modeling to basically have my own railroad the way I want it. I worked on the real railroad for 37 years and now I am running my railroad the way I want it run. I'm happy. Thanks for your input!!

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