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Did they run here or there?

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  • Member since
    October 2020
  • 70 posts
Did they run here or there?
Posted by NorthBrit on Sunday, October 18, 2020 6:30 AM

When I see questions asking "Did this type of locomotive run  on such and such railroad?"   or "Did such and such do this or that?"  I smile.

Off course one wants to get things right and I applaud such efforts to find out.

It reminds me of it happening to me.

A little while back I bought a 'job lot' from a friend who gave up modeling railroads.   Amongst the items was a Class 50 locomotive (UK Railways.)

As I knew Class 50s ran London to Cornwall mainly,  I asked around "Did Class 50s ever arrive in Leeds?"   (The area I model.)   Every answer I received was a negative.   When I ran the locomotive on the layout it was as Rule 1,  it's my layout.

Some time later I purchased a book about Railways around Leeds.   On one page was a Class 50 departing Leeds Central on a journey 'back home'.   Yes!!!

Just recently a colleague who lives in Ireland and is building a (superb) model of Hawick Station (Scotland),  Goods Yard etc.   asked,  "What specific engines ran through  the station?"      I gave him a short list of numbers of engines 'that may have been seen' ,  but really I doubted it as the locomotives were from an out of the way shed.

"Oh yes," came a reply.  He already knew about them.  He had a photograph of one arriving at Hawick (from Edinburgh).     Wonders never cease. Smile   

If you are wondering about such questions.  Keep searching. Smile  

Happy modeling.


To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 9,545 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, October 18, 2020 10:14 AM

Rule 1,  it's my layout.

That is completely true.

Some people try to replicate one specific area very accurately, other want to run a collection of their favorites, all is fine.

I freelance my layout, but I have been very self-restrictive about the era, actually narrowing down to a specific day and time.

However, the area is completely non-specific. It might be Nebraska, North Carolina, or Washington. I have never stated, nor will I.

We all make out own rules to live by, but it is always your own layout.


Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 10,616 posts
Posted by dknelson on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:56 AM

When asked I tell people (and only other model railroaders ask) that I model my memories of the Chicago & North Western as it ran through my home town in 1967 to 1970.  If my memory says one thing, but absolute cast-in-iron proof says another, my memory still prevails.  Some prototype modelers I know have a hard time grasping this distinction between modeling a given year and modeling my memory of that year.

Usually my memory is pretty good and fairly accurate.  But there is a decent chance that something I saw in, say, 1963 or '64 might just be moved up a few years in my memory.  Or that something I saw on the Milwaukee Road might get transposed to the Chicago & North Western in my memory.  

That is not to say that a given photograph might not trigger an "oh yeah, how could I forget that" moment.  I am willing to have my memory improved.  And of course I "remember" not only the reality but also the photographs that my friend and I took in 1968, which take on their own reality. Those photographs have created memories that otherwise might not exist.  A given  gas station that I remembered as a Shell station was a Mobil station in my 1968 photo.  I was stubbornly clinging to the Shell station idea until I found a 1962 photo that showed that, yes, it had been a Shell stations.  That made me feel better about allowing a genuine photo to over rule my memory, because now I at least understood where that memory came from and when.

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,146 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:56 PM

I try to stay accurate, but sometimes the best I can do is get hand-grenade close. 


Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 6,966 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:17 PM

In 1959 we moved from Winnipeg to Vancouver and came out on the Canadian. I thought it would be cool to replicate that train and started the digging. There are many CP related sites online and I started posting questions as to what locos and what rolling stock made up the train on that date.

My sister gave me the date we rolled into Vancouver and that gave us the train we boarded in Winnipeg two days earlier. So far I have found what locos were not at the head end but do not know which ones were, the same with much of the rest of the consist. There are people on some of these historical sights that consider it a real challenge to hunt down that kind of info.

In December 1966 we took the train from Prince George B.C. to North Vancouver. I remember it being way below freezing and the tires on the car being square on the trip to the station. I was expecting a long train like the Canadian waiting for me but getting out of the car I found the entire train was 2 RDCs for the 14-hour trip.

The RR was the Pacific Great Eastern (PGE) and when Rapido came out with their PGE RDCs I was going to replicate that train we took. There was a kicker to my memory though as I remember two RDCs in Prince George but four when I got off.Hmm

I asked my sister who was 15 at the time as I was only nine and thought she could clear the air as she has a great memory and had a Kodak Instamatic, so she may have pics. She also thought there were two RDCs when we boarded and four when we got off. 

Long story short the good folks at the PGE historical FB site told me on that date they would have added two more RDCs at a place called Lillooet on the Southbound train. So I wasn't crazy and while remembering what an interesting 14 hours it was through a blizzard, I don't remember them adding the two additional RDCs.


It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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