For Rio Grande freight cars, from what I understand Jim Eager provides significant assistance to manufacturers. For Rio Grande passenger cars, it's Bob Webber.From what I understand, manufacturers find they can generally sell anything they can slap "Rio Grande" on the side of, within reason of course.
That sounds right from all my years on the Rio Grande Yahoo Groups email list. Jim Eager has been a big player in providing information to manufacturers and writing articles in some of the major MR mags, plus his Color Guide has been a big resource for me in identifying models vs prototype. I don't have books for other RR"s and can't afford to build up a library to do the same research on all of the myriad of road names which bridged between Denver, Pueblo CO and SLC/Ogden etc.
I can't speak for Jim, but my own limited knowledge amounts to "more" of everything, autorack-wise. Jim studies traffic on the Rio Grande's mainlines so has a somewhat eclectic look at things that includes not just home road cars, but the various streams of bridge route traffic that flowed across the Rio Grande's lines. He's probably got an extensive list of examples, while I'm just one to note that slightly more the virtually nothing in autoracks is a good idea.
I haven't done a "scientific study" of traffic in terms of taking time periods and actually documenting it on paper, but I've been studying the RR on an amature level to look for patterns, so that I can acquire models representative of typical traffic during mainly the 70's and 80's. I do have most of the major books published for the D&RGW during that time frame:
-Rio Grande Diesels: Vols 1,2 & 3 by Joseph Strapc
-Rio Grande In Color: Vols 1, 2, 3, 5 by Grenard, Sandrin, etc
-Rio Grande Trackside with Jim Ozment by James Sandrin
-Rio Grande: Ruler of the Rockies by RC Farewell
-Rio Grande Secret Places: Vol 2 by RC Farewell
-Rio Grande: Scenic Line of the World - by Dale Sanders
-Zephyrs thru the Rockies - Edmonson and Goodheart
-Rio Grande West: A Contemporary Glimpse - Ron C Hill
-Twilight of the Rio Grande : by Wesley Fox
-Colorful Colorado: Railroads in the 1960's - Ron C Hill
-Rio Grande: The Final Years by Ron C Hill
-Rio Grande Odyessy DVD (early 60's thru late 1970's)
-Denver & Rio Grande Western VHS (1987)
-VHS tapes 1991 shot by Doug Tagsold
Mike, I know there are quite a few DVD's out, are there any you can recommend to me that cover 1970's and 1980's freight action I might want to add to my library?
Frankly, this is the sort of thing where a manufacturer probably already has a good idea of what will sell, certainly better than mine. With autoracks appearing in pool service, they get around more than typical rolling stock often does. I'm just here seconding Jim's motion.
Thats my guess. I don't have the kind of information or proper photo's that I could provide to a manufacturer that would aid them in the artwork etc to paint models etc. I am hoping those who do have the resources can work with the manufacturers and they will add some racks to their production schedules.
The information provided by Rick is great as I've wanted to find a resource to maximize the potential that the Accurail cars have - by matching up the existing models, where they do match, and add a few more of them to my roster. Or perhaps tweak existing models to make them match better if they are close.
Rick, I must have heard about the MFCL but for some reason it must have escaped my mind. I am presently a member of the Rio Grande and Espee Yahoo groups. Looks I should have signed up for MFCL a long time ago. Time to get crackin.