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Model Railroader Annual Story on a Prototype Shortline Railroad

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  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:00 AM

Steven Otte
 
Bayfield Transfer Railway

You know, MR is always looking for articles, so one way to see more "Railroads you can Model" about short lines with layouts in small spaces would be to write the articles.

 

 

^
This. Yes

 

I fear that may be easier said then done..Like their big brothers short lines are growing weary of railfans. I can remember when short lines was much friendlier then today and that hasn't been so long ago.

A experience  author would stand a far better  chance then Jim bob off the street asking fool questions.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
    December, 2008
  • From: In the heart of Georgia
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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 10:15 AM

I think the series should exist to bring forward some lesser known railroads or branchlines of larger railroads, either to model exactly or provide inspiration for a freelanced or protolanced layout.  So it would be difficult for an individual hobbyist like ourselves to know about the operations of those candidates unless it is/was part of a person's interest.  The point of the articles is to create interest and inspiration, so I would think it would be in Kalmbach's interest to devote time in researching these lesser known railroads and branch lines. 

More text devoted to the railroad, not as much about the modeling of it.  The size of the propective layout didn't really matter.  It's understood its a suggestion.   

Thomas Kilmoski provided a nice article in a recent MRP about his Georgia Northeastern shortline layout.  I wish he would have discussed the railroad more.

  • Member since
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  • From: Potomac Yard
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Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 5:02 PM

To be fair, "write it yourself" doesn't really work when it's something you want to be exposed to. I don't know a lick about some lumber hauler in Idaho that went under in 1978, but would be happy to read about it if someone else did. I can't write that article because it's an unknown unknown. 

  • Member since
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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 7:45 PM

To be certain, there are people who live near shortlines and industrials, as well as the more backwater tracks of Class I's, who know things, people, and equipment well enough to put together a nice article completely without the need for cooperation from the subject RR. With some exceptions, RRs operate in rather public places and there is lots of basic info online about them.

What's key to such an article are a good topic (something you know tends to work well), decent pics that are good enough to reproduce and represent the theme of your article well, and at least some sketches of track or other items of modeling interest like structure plans. The basic subject matter and story can then be polished with the help of the editors, but to get specific stories, you need people with specific interests to write them as well as assist in getting the supporting graphical materials together.

 

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
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  • From: In the heart of Georgia
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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 8:32 AM

mlehman

To be certain, there are people who live near shortlines and industrials, as well as the more backwater tracks of Class I's, who know things, people, and equipment well enough to put together a nice article completely without the need for cooperation from the subject RR. With some exceptions, RRs operate in rather public places and there is lots of basic info online about them.

What's key to such an article are a good topic (something you know tends to work well), decent pics that are good enough to reproduce and represent the theme of your article well, and at least some sketches of track or other items of modeling interest like structure plans. The basic subject matter and story can then be polished with the help of the editors, but to get specific stories, you need people with specific interests to write them as well as assist in getting the supporting graphical materials together.

 

I would say that there are more skills to having an article published than having knowledge of the subject railroad.  Writing and photography skills are things that are compensated in the marketplace, like maybe $30 an hour.

I would think it would be easier for a publisher to accumulate a nest of accepable articles by having one of their compensated employees perform research on a railroad, maybe leveraging their access to TRAINS or other databases, and a few professional field visits like BRAKIE suggested, than it would be to rely on uncompensated hobbyists to learn how to write and photograph in a professional manner.

I enjoy sharing my knowledge (how little I have) in a free open forum, but when somebody else would gain income or revenue off of that work and knowledge, I'd want to get compensated at a professional rate.

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 10:00 PM

Doughless
Writing and photography skills are things that are compensated in the marketplace, like maybe $30 an hour.

I'm pretty certain a lot of folks would love to see that kind of compensation for their writing. As an academic, I can tell you those numbers are pretty optimistic, so even when you're talking about people who have formal credentials to justify such pay, most do not receive anywhere close to that hourly rate.

Then there's the tradition in this hobby of people sharing what they know by writing it up. In particular, the NMRA will credit authors in its Achievement Program working toward the MMR for exactly this sort of sharing. For readers, it's fortunate that there are generally not expectations among writers that they should receive such relatively generous compensation. I know that MR does pay its authors, but most likely those who are paid also make less than $30/hour when all their time is accounted for.

And don't get me wrong, most working people could make good use of a general increase in their compensation, it's just that the "market" hasn't come through for us all yet.

I know a fellow who is a highly skilled rail photographer, published in Trains and many other places, and who is respected among his RR peers enough that when the special arrives in this territory with brass aboard, he's often rubbing shoulders with them aboard the PVs in management's train. So far, he hasn't quit his day job, although I'm sure if he could actually expect $30/hour he might seriously think about it.

While writing can be lucrative, it's usually in some field other than model railroading. Thank goodness that doesn't discourage most authors we enjoy reading here.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

  • Member since
    December, 2008
  • From: In the heart of Georgia
  • 2,178 posts
Posted by Doughless on Thursday, September 14, 2017 9:49 PM

mlehman

 

 
Doughless
Writing and photography skills are things that are compensated in the marketplace, like maybe $30 an hour.

 

I'm pretty certain a lot of folks would love to see that kind of compensation for their writing. As an academic, I can tell you those numbers are pretty optimistic, so even when you're talking about people who have formal credentials to justify such pay, most do not receive anywhere close to that hourly rate.

Then there's the tradition in this hobby of people sharing what they know by writing it up. In particular, the NMRA will credit authors in its Achievement Program working toward the MMR for exactly this sort of sharing. For readers, it's fortunate that there are generally not expectations among writers that they should receive such relatively generous compensation. I know that MR does pay its authors, but most likely those who are paid also make less than $30/hour when all their time is accounted for.

And don't get me wrong, most working people could make good use of a general increase in their compensation, it's just that the "market" hasn't come through for us all yet.

I know a fellow who is a highly skilled rail photographer, published in Trains and many other places, and who is respected among his RR peers enough that when the special arrives in this territory with brass aboard, he's often rubbing shoulders with them aboard the PVs in management's train. So far, he hasn't quit his day job, although I'm sure if he could actually expect $30/hour he might seriously think about it.

While writing can be lucrative, it's usually in some field other than model railroading. Thank goodness that doesn't discourage most authors we enjoy reading here.

 

I didn't mean to delve into the compensation of our hosts or people professionally in the hobby.  I was saying that it takes a lot of time to do the research and legwork to write a publishable article.  While I might do that for fun because I might get want to base a layout on it, when all of that time spent gets channeled into a product that others might profit from, I somehow start to compare time spent with compensation. I think the research performed, quality writing, and quality photography are skills that require just compensation. I don't know what that number is and just grabbed one

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Posted by ACY Tom on Friday, September 15, 2017 1:19 PM

Many of these fearures also appeared in MR's sister publication Model Trains in the 1950's and early 1960's. I remember coverage of the Middle Fork, the Preston, the Bevier & Southern, and others. A Kalmbach book with reprints of these articles, possibly with supplemental material, would be most welcome.

Tom 

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, September 15, 2017 2:54 PM

ACY Tom
A Kalmbach book with reprints of these articles, possibly with supplemental material, would be most welcome.

Tom,That would work quite well with updates since GWI has bought several of those short lines and COLT operates the former Wabash/N&W Columbia branch that was featured in MR back in the 60s.

Kalmbach did a great short line guide back in the 90s but,its hopelessly outdated now.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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