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Gorre and Daphetid stuff

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Posted by Trainman2005 on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 6:38 AM

Oh, certainly. Someone famous died and, it almost seems on purpose, his most famous creation died with him. Well, it was great while it lasted, right? We have so many more people inspired by him and basing their creations off of his, we can feel like he is still around. The fire was supposedly started by some heater that was never used, right? I almost feel like, somehow, John knew he was going to die, and set the heater on. Well, we can only speculate.

Thanks, tm05/MatthewB.

 

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Posted by MJ4562 on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 8:33 AM

No need to speculate, the fire was an accident that happened a week after his death. 

I became a fan of the G&D reading about it in RMC and MR years after it had been destroyed, although I had no idea at the time.  It was the way John photographed his layout that captured my imagination.  The typical layout room overviews and construction in progress photos made it look like just another layout.  But those staged photos were truly awesome. I wish more of his photos had survived. 

I think the G&D was so well remembered was in large part due to the massive press coverage the layout received during the years it was active.  That coverage was because John Allen was outgoing, a photographer and had lots of time to submit articles.  Those three traits are less common among the average model railroader, at least at that time.  

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Posted by Trainman2005 on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 8:48 AM

Fair enough. For the record, though, I believe the fire was started by a faulty heater that was never used until that week, although I could be wrong. Your points are very good. Thanks for the insight! It must have been awful, seeing these pictures of a beautiful layout only to learn in burned down and the owner is/was dead.

Thanks, Trainman05/MatthewB.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 9:09 AM

Also remember John photographed for Varney, a major player in the day so he got more exposure than any of the other greats.

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Posted by Great Divide on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 10:25 AM
MJ 4562 More of his photos did survive. Hundreds of shots that were not in LInns book were salvaged from Johns home. they have been shared with the world @ GDlines.org and so much more is there as well. The collections of many Friends of Johns created the site and still are adding more things even today. I have found two more of John's friends and the photographs they took during those years will also headed to the site sometime soon, to be freely viewed by everyone. Well worth a look. My page on facebook mentioned here in my signature are dedicated to John as well. He is directly responsible for my livelihood as a model builder. I retired and more or less came to the realisation that instead of my own design (many were drawn) I thought it would be more fun to rebuild his masterpiece and so far it is proving to be a lot of fun and a truly rewarding challenge to attempt. I am having a blast. John did more for this hobby than most anyone knows. He even set the standard for wheelbases on HOn3 trains so manufacturers had one size to work with and he argued for all kinds of other realistic and standardized features with all the great names of the hobby and owners of manufacturing companies that he knew fairly well back in the day. He was in a unique position... and used his place well and wisely. His articles on techniques and ideas spanned some thirty years or more before his tragic death. His layout was just a fun place for him to stage fantastic photographs and to enjoy realistic railroad operations with friends. His work helped make operations we all enjoy today in clubs etc. work as well as they do. His layout was left to sit until the group came back each time to take up train orders from right where they sat after the previous session was done. John was an interesting guy and his influence might just be beyond any other figure in model railroading. I know how he affected me after seeing one of the MR articles all those years ago. And I know dozens of excellent models alive today who directly name John as the event that changed their expectations of the hobby and proved how far your skills can go if you care to indulge your imagination. All in all an interesting guy and a fun and famous layout. For me... the 8 year old Kid in me wanted to run a train over those high bridges.... So the 8 year old kid still in me is going to build the thing so he can.
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Posted by Trainman2005 on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:24 PM

Aww, dude! Respect! Honestly, I can't wait to see what happens!

Sincerely, Trainman05/MatthewB.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:35 PM

The Westcott book notes that John Allen's health was in decline for a year or two before his death. John had contracted rheumatic fever as a child, which left him with a very weak heart. He tried several times to enlist in the military during WW2, but was turned down each time because he failed his physical. Unfortunately, people who went through rheumatic fever often lead shortened lives.

Stix
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, May 23, 2019 11:02 AM

MJ4562
t was the way John photographed his layout that captured my imagination.  The typical layout room overviews and construction in progress photos made it look like just another layout.  But those staged photos were truly awesome.

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Absolutely. The pictures of the GORRE AND DAPHETID that were taken by visitors and other modellers were awful, and the layout looked terrible in a lot of them.

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John had a certain magic realtionship with the camera, and that made his great layout look even grander.

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-Kevin

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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.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, May 24, 2019 6:26 PM

Kevin,The G&D showed up in some manufacturers cataloges,magazines on a routine bases.. I think that's why a lot of modelers in the 60s was turned off toward the G&D.

Another great modeler of that time was a SP modeler by the name of Paul Jenson or Janson.. A lot of his photos showed up in magazines and some  cataloges. A pity that we don't hear more about this gentleman because he was one of the top modelers back then.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by gregc on Saturday, May 25, 2019 8:55 AM

SeeYou190
John had a certain magic realtionship with the camera, and that made his great layout look even grander.

john was a professional photographer

i read that he was asked to photograph a billboard (or something).  He spent a day watching it to determine the best time of day to photograph it.

i also read that a modeler asked what john thought of his scratch built locomotive.   John returned the model with a photographs taken of it on his layout at a scaled persons perspective.   Flaws were glaring.  The modeler added many more detail parts and won an award for the model.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 25, 2019 9:18 AM

gregc
i also read that a modeler asked what john thought of his scratch built locomotive. John returned the model with a photographs taken of it on his layout at a scaled persons perspective. Flaws were glaring

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That is interesting. Usually I can make an average model look better in a photograph taken at scale eye view with properly placed props.

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I wonder if John staged the picture purposely to accentuate the faults.

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-Kevin

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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.

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, May 25, 2019 9:41 AM

it wasn't about making the model look better, it was about the the model being realistic.   I believe the modeler knew how realistic he wanted the model and John helped him see it.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Railphotog on Saturday, May 25, 2019 11:42 AM

As a teenage model railroader in the 1950-60's, I was into collecting model railroad passes from other modelers.  It was a big thing in those times.  I had my name posted in magazines who listed those wanting to exchange passes.  Got them from all over the world.  Years later when going though my collection, I realised I had one from John Allen. Guess I didn't know it at the time.  It was actually done on photo paper, looks like he just made small photo prints of his hand drawn pass.  Quite exciting!

I sold the actual pass on eBay many years ago to a collector of things G&D. I did make a high quality scan of the pass, and printed it for my collection, which numbers around 1000 passes.

My brush with celebrity!

Bob Boudreau

Bob Boudreau

CANADA

Visit my model railroad photography website: http://sites.google.com/site/railphotog/

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Posted by Great Divide on Sunday, August 11, 2019 4:13 PM

Bob really nice work.   I am recreating the G&D in all its mosterful glory.  When I get down to wanting some good profesional looking shots I will use your site to help me.     Your work is fantastic Sir.   Don't be sirprised if I don't bother you directly for advice...  Your work is exactly what I need for this project when it gets closer to finished.   BTW if you ever find anyone who has any items from the original GD and they are selling or cleaning house let me know.... they'd have a home here that I guess anyone would consider second best place for John Allen items to be.     Randy Decker

 

https://www.facebook.com/Great-Divide-Lines-423511918192732/?modal=admin_todo_tour

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, August 12, 2019 4:31 PM

Trainman2005
The fire was supposedly started by some heater that was never used, right? I almost feel like, somehow, John knew he was going to die, and set the heater on. Well, we can only speculate.

The original police / fire report was that the model railroad had faulty wiring that caused the fire. John's brother had a private investigation done that determined the faulty space heater was to blame. As I recall the story re the heater, some friends of John's were at his house after his death (helping go through his possessions etc.), and it's believed that one of them turned the heater on when they left in the evening without knowing it was defective.

Stix
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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 7:40 AM

 A good reason why you shouldn't leave jury-rigged stuff around. YOU may know not to use something, or how to get around the quirks, but if you're not there - then what?

 Of course, that little beyond the photos survived, only adds to the whole mystique of the G&D. Or maybe you CAN take it with you, and somewhere up there a smiling John Allen is running the G&D 4, with a whole host of his former operators like Andy Sperandeo.

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by nycmodel on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 1:06 PM

Randy, I admire your attempt to recreate John Allen's G & D. I always wished I had the space and time (not to mention skills) to do that. So far it looks good but boy do you have a long way to go. Do you plan to recreate the mountainous region all the way to Andrews? You will have your work cut out for you reproducing that rock work. Do you plan to build all the bridges including the never built bridge from Scalp Mountain? I would love to see onging status photos in this forum.

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Posted by dbduck on Friday, August 16, 2019 9:05 AM

check with your local libray... my library (big city) has one copy at one branch...but it can be transfered to what ever branch when requested..

also seems to be checked out a lot as well

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Posted by dbduck on Friday, August 16, 2019 9:06 AM

SeeYou190

The book "Model Railroading with John Allen" by Lin Wescott has all the information you seek, but it is copyrighted material.

.check with local library

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-Kevin

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Friday, August 16, 2019 1:38 PM

Even in Belgium,

 

John has had a influence on serious modelers.

You must know the book of Linn was translated in french by a friend of mine, Jacques Leplat.

The GD is my friend since more than 40 years, in fact I received the original Linn book from my dad.

During my obligatory military service, this book was my bedside book and the source for my first real plan of my Maclau River.

He inspired by many facts my Maclau River in N scale.

This include my "Port Allen" and a N scale version of the car ferry Anabel.

Now I move in Canada and have the chance to bring  my layout with me; new home and a huge layout room which allow me to largely extend the Maclau River.

Plan is on the way and I whish to include the famous "Sims loop"in the new design, not to gain elevation but because I have always  be a fan of this turn around track around a hill; this hill will be a nice feature to do in N scale with good proportions.

One thing we must admit, the work of John was amazing for his time knowing most of the things needed to be scratch and the cars and locomotives needed a lot of tuning to run right, an achievement he realised including the whole handlaid track work.

But even if I'm a inconsolable fan of his layout, I must admit many things were crude and not perfectly modeled on his layout when you look in details the pictures.

One thing which was amazing is the whole effect of the layout and his consistency in the construction and scenery, but when looking at precise spots, the modeling is well under today standard and this is not the fact because of no disposal of materials to build or scratch models.

Anyway one of my bigger regrets is to not have the chance to see this layout in person.

A few months ago I see on this forum,  for the first time some pictures of the burned basement and even if explained in the press I have never think about the layout was destroyed to such a point; this was somewhere a real chock to see these pictures.

I have had the same feeling when seeing the "snatchell" bag of burned locomotives.

This is a big lost for the model railroad world, but hopefuly the influence and the results of the influence of John work are still strong and very present for all young and older train modelers for sure.

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, August 16, 2019 2:35 PM

Right from the Varney catalogue ads, featuring Varney products on The Gorre & Daphetid layout, John Allen was a big influence on my model railroading.

My layout bears no resemblance to what he built, but viewing pictures of his layout helped to build, in my imagination, ideas of what could be possible.

There were, of course, a lot of other influences, too, but his in particular stands out.

Wayne

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, August 19, 2019 6:48 PM

Great Divide: I looked at your Facebook page, and I love what you are doing.

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Please keep us updated. I really wish you would have moved to Florida when you retired so I could be a part of your project.

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-Kevin

.

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.

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Posted by Great Divide on Monday, August 19, 2019 8:33 PM

nycmodel

Randy, I admire your attempt to recreate John Allen's G & D. I always wished I had the space and time (not to mention skills) to do that. So far it looks good but boy do you have a long way to go. Do you plan to recreate the mountainous region all the way to Andrews? You will have your work cut out for you reproducing that rock work. Do you plan to build all the bridges including the never built bridge from Scalp Mountain? I would love to see onging status photos in this forum.

 

Yes Sir the whole room will come back to life here.  I have the facebook page and I recently joined the modelrailroadforums.com site and the G&D group on the IO groups.  I will have photo's there.  I just can't keep up with so many locations.  This year should have a great deal of the city scape established. The 1 year mark is January 1st...  so the Second year will be hard and heavy working across the back wall all the bridges and scenery to scalp mountain... and I plan to get the Devils Post Pile in with the tall wood trestle.    I figure a hard push for four years and I will have most of it up and running and the scenery done.  This man was a model making fool.... I have a lifetime of scale model building as a carreer and I am up to my neck keeping up with John.  He was good at everything...!    What a pleasure and an honor it is to build this.  I owe the man a good part of my livelihood and my enjoyment of a carreer in museum work.  So "from the ashes" will rise the Great Divide.  I hope it can hold a candle to Johns work and capture some of that magic Johns layout seem to have on everyone who saw it.    We'll see.   I am trying. 

 

Randy Decker  

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Posted by Great Divide on Monday, August 19, 2019 8:40 PM

SeeYou190

Great Divide: I looked at your Facebook page, and I love what you are doing.

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Please keep us updated. I really wish you would have moved to Florida when you retired so I could be a part of your project.

.

-Kevin

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Yes sir, every time I pay my tax bill after working all my life, so I can now support those who did not, I wish I could leave NYS as well.   It is the layout and some family that keeps me here. 

 

Thanks for the thumbs up Kevin.        

 

Randy 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 6:44 AM

Great Divide
Thanks for the thumbs up Kevin.   

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It looks like the building the layout is in was built to replicate the shape of the room John had available for the Gorre & Daphetid.

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How accurate is it to the size of the room John Allen had? Did you make it a little larger to accomodate smaller grades and wider aisles, or it it true to the original?

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-Kevin

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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.

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Posted by MJ4562 on Sunday, August 25, 2019 5:21 PM

Very nice work Randy. I've been enjoying your Facebook page and the layout looks great.  Since John never did finish his G&D, the missing "high bridge",  I guess you will finish the project for him.  Seems like a fitting tribute to a man that did so much for this hobby.

-Mark

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Sunday, August 25, 2019 5:43 PM

Just to illustrate how much the GD has had influence on me, I scratchbuild the famous Anabel ferry.

This was my first ship project for my port, made a long time ago; this ferry is in N scale.

Unfortunately, I didnt found any other pictures; the ship and my layout are in a container and on the way to come in Canada around the end of september.

 This is a copy of the car ferry Anabel of the GD lines; I scratch this ship more than 35 years ago around 1983 - 85 from pictures of the book of Linn Westcott about the GD and some others find in MR and RMC published 40 years ago for sure.

This ferry started out of a LEGO ship hull where I glued micro plywood sides and scratch all the rest including the board by board wood deck which cost me a piece of 1.5cm of my thumb, cut away with a big cutter when cutting the wood parts of the deck.

When I will be able to take it again I whish to put and add some details on this ship which I havn't done 30 years ago.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 25, 2019 8:37 PM

Beautiful work on the N scale car ferry.

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One of the two towns on my next layout will be named "Port Anabel" as inspired by John Allen.

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 My car ferry will be named "Mary Alice".

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-Kevin

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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.

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