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Layout to run trains or operate a railroad?

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Posted by gregc on Friday, July 30, 2021 10:26 AM

Lastspikemike
But my experience of this hobby is inspired by real places and actual locomotives.

On the other hand, I'd love to have an OO set of British locomotives and cars to run. I'm also attracted by some roads that would never plausibly appear in my location of inspiration.

i'm meeting modelers who are very focused on specific trains to specific places.  two happen to be new haven fans.

they want to operate trains on their layouts with specific engine and specific cars.   

for example, on the new haven, a passenger train runs between boston, new haven and new york.  at new haven, the loco is switched between diesel and electric.   passenger cars are dropped off or added.   both locos and cars are specific to that train.

as for freight, they want specific types of cars from specific railroads

multiple staging loops represent various destinations: bay ridge/maybrook, springfield/hartford, boston/providence for a layout centered at new haven

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, July 30, 2021 10:33 AM

gregc

 

 
Lastspikemike
But my experience of this hobby is inspired by real places and actual locomotives.

On the other hand, I'd love to have an OO set of British locomotives and cars to run. I'm also attracted by some roads that would never plausibly appear in my location of inspiration.

 

i'm meeting modelers who are very focused on specific trains to specific places.  two happen to be new haven fans.

they want to operate trains on their layouts with specific engine and specific cars.   

for example, on the new haven, a passenger train runs between boston, new haven and new york.  at new haven, the loco is switched between diesel and electric.   passenger cars are dropped off or added.   both locos and cars are specific to that train.

as for freight, they want specific types of cars from specific railroads

multiple staging loops represent various destinations: bay ridge/maybrook, springfield/hartford, boston/providence

 

That is great if you have the means, the specific information, and are happy with that narrow of a focus.

I would suggest that people with that narrow of a focus are the exception in this hobby rather than the rule, even among very serious opps centered prototype modelers.

But again, if that is your goal, go for it. Sounds like it would very cool to see.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by danno54 on Friday, July 30, 2021 10:37 AM

That's my thought also. I'm a model builder from back in my Architecting days. Love the models and scenery as much as the trains. I  biuld my layout and run trains through it. Different trains that I keep in hidden staging. The train's end points are elsewhere. I love to look of unit type trains, be it containers, tank cars, car haulers, passenger etc.

I have double main line continuous running ability and model for a wide range of eras. Not a real stickler for correct period look.

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, July 30, 2021 10:40 AM

Another thought:

I'm finding as I get older I don't enjoy building the actual models. 

For one, the end result is not as good as what I can buy RTR these days.

And being a freelancer, I do not need specific cars or specific locos, so fussing with what detail goes where on what road number is not needed.

Also, fussing with small items and pieces is becoming more frustrating than enjoyable.  Maybe that's just personal thing, but for a guy who had perfect eyesight for 45 years ...up close and far away...having to set the right lighting, right magnification, right positioning, etc. Eyeglasses, visors, tweezers etc. gets in the way of enjoying the process.

A few details, yes. Weathering, yes.

I build layouts.  I think of it as a puzzle, where I take the RTR pieces of the puzzle and assemble the final picture.  I don't build the pieces of the puzzle anymore.

Edit: model building is limited to structures.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, July 30, 2021 2:48 PM

Re-reading October 2020 MRR, page 38 in the middle of an article about a civil war era layout reference is made to a 2001 NMRA bulletin in which John Hostler identifies three modeller personality types: Dispatcher, Engineer and Railfan.

Hmmm, so railfan matches the train running enthusiast, dispatcher matches the operations guy but where's Mr modelmaker in that trio?

Engineer connotes both operations and running trains to run them, but with a more connected role to play. Presumably the Engineer can't bear to set one train running and then go do something else. Even going off and running a different train doesn't seem to be consistent with the Engineer personality type, 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by gregc on Friday, July 30, 2021 3:08 PM

what's the difference between a Model Railroader and a Railroad Modeler?

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, July 30, 2021 3:22 PM

gregc
What's the difference between a Model Railroader and a Railroad Modeler?

This sounds a lot like that question "What makes a real model railroader?" that always leads to trouble.

I think that is where this thread was heading from the beginning.

I'm going to go make some popcorn.

-Kevin

Happily modeling in HO scale. 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 ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, July 30, 2021 3:28 PM

gregc

what's the difference between a Model Railroader and a Railroad Modeler?

 

Well that is a good question, and dangerous question.

Not sure I want to go down that road. It becomes too easy to imply that one of the three (or four) identified paths is better than the others.

I have already made my position clear, I see value in all the paths and imbrace and practice them in my modeling to some degree or another, without getting too extreme with any of them.

Even that is not to suggest that extreme dedication to one path is a bad thing, just not my thing.

My favorite example of an extreme seriousness that does not suit my style, dispatchers sitting in little closets all alone who can't see the trains running. But that's me.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, July 30, 2021 5:15 PM

Anything you do with model trains makes you both. JMO.  

Its a question where both paths lead to the same place.

 

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, July 30, 2021 5:17 PM

Lastspikemike
in which John Hostler identifies three modeller personality types: Dispatcher, Engineer and Railfan.

It seems that model builder would be a 4th.  A personality type especially developed if you don't have a layout.

Keeping in mind your OP was about layouts.

- Douglas

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, July 30, 2021 5:21 PM

Doughless
And being a freelancer, I do not need specific cars or specific locos, so fussing with what detail goes where on what road number is not needed.

Well technically you still do because you are still modeling a railroad and specific cars were used for specific purposes.  Its just you don't care.  The specifics are still there, you just choose to ignore or not include them. Which is 100% your choice to make.  The reality is though, regardless of whether you are freeelancing or modeling a specific prototype, the prototype still exists so the specific needs still exist.

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

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, July 30, 2021 5:58 PM

dehusman

 

 
Doughless
And being a freelancer, I do not need specific cars or specific locos, so fussing with what detail goes where on what road number is not needed.

 

Well technically you still do because you are still modeling a railroad and specific cars were used for specific purposes.  Its just you don't care.  The specifics are still there, you just choose to ignore or not include them. Which is 100% your choice to make.  The reality is though, regardless of whether you are freeelancing or modeling a specific prototype, the prototype still exists so the specific needs still exist.

 

Sorry, I don't follow where you're going.

Its my understanding that all models developed by producers have a prototype.  I think the old MDC high cube boxcar did not have a pure prototype and was a foobie in its basic dimensions, and maybe so with some passenger cars, but those are 40 year old models.

I have only stuff made since 2000, and while there may be foobs in terms of paint scheme not matching the specific details on the model, the model itself existed in real life somewhere.

So, even if I blindly bought anything off the shelf within era,  I don't see where I'd be losing any fidelity outside of the normal paint scheme not matching specific details not matching specific geographic locations of where the real car or loco ran.  That stuff is basic feelancing liberty.

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, July 31, 2021 6:33 AM

tony koester wrote about this in the july 2021 MR.   that freelancers have the additional chore of determining destintations for their trains, the industries served by the RR and train schedule.   these things are determined by a specific RR when modeled.

Tony has written about Allen McCleland's freelanced V&O.   Allen even came up with a paint scheme for his locos and rolling stock.

again this is just one aspect of modeling that not all modelers choose to follow.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 31, 2021 9:21 AM

gregc

tony koester wrote about this in the july 2021 MR.   that freelancers have the additional chore of determining destintations for their trains, the industries served by the RR and train schedule.   these things are determined by a specific RR when modeled.

Tony has written about Allen McCleland's freelanced V&O.   Allen even came up with a paint scheme for his locos and rolling stock.

again this is just one aspect of modeling that not all modelers choose to follow.

 

Seems Tony is saying what I have been saying on here for a long time........

Some of us do both. I freelance with my ATLANTIC CENTRAL, but the ATLANTIC CENTRAL also has interchange with the C&O, B&O and WESTERN MARYLAND.

A small section of the layout represents a short section of the WESTERN MARYLAND.

Sure, those connections are fictional, and I make no attempt to squeeze the ATLANTIC CENTRAL "exactly" into real places or the existing track arrangements of those other roads.

BUT, the flavor of the operations, the scenery, the place names, reflect the history and charactor of the Mid Atlantic.

Just like Tony and Allen did with their freelanced roads (remember, Tony was a big freelancer too before his current Nickle Plate layout).

So, while I may not be trying to copy exact places (something I likely would not do even if I did not freelance) my modeling of the C&O, B&O and WESTERN MARYLAND equipment and operations is as accurate as practical and reflects the history and operations of those railroads.

Here is my take on trying to model actual places  - it is a noble goal, some people pull it off pretty well, but none of us have enough space.

My modeling interests, and my operational goals, are too broad to restrict myself in that way.

And even if I had more time, money and space, I would not want to build a larger layout. WHY?

Because I don't want my layout to REQUIRE more people than just myself to build and maintain.

I know I can handle what I am about to build, any more would be to much.

I have been designing paint schemes and painting/lettering my own freelance equipment since age 14. Some examples (some photos not so good).

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my freelance approach, I model one small city and a few miles either side of it. Desinations are no problem, they are off stage - Baltimore, Philly, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Richmond, Wheeling, Harrisburg........... 

Just because you choose to model an actual prototype, does not lock you into having to try to model some exact place or streatch of trackage. 

Many choose to, but in the long history of this hobby many have taken a more causal approach even to modeling an actual railroad.

In my mind, the first goal is to capture the feel, the flavor, not necessarily every mile of trackage down to the last spike...........

I've known lots of modelers who did it both ways, all had great layouts......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Saturday, July 31, 2021 11:42 AM

Just love to get lost in the illusion of a little world I've created on my own.  More watching trains for me than operation, although I've spent a lot of time thinking about that too, and tried to plan to allow for some reasonably realistic operation.  

Since I've been out of the hobby for so long, and never really thought about operation as a kid, the thought of trying to plan a railroad for accurate operation is a bit daunting to me.  I got some books so that I can hopefully avoid common pitfalls, and after some analysis paralysis I just pulled the trigger on an amalgamation of my hundreds of different track sketches and started building.  

Hopefully the end result will be a good balance between "watching trains run" and somewhat accurate operation.

Andy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Milwaukee native modeling the Milwaukee Road in 1950's Milwaukee.

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, July 31, 2021 12:22 PM

gregc

tony koester wrote about this in the july 2021 MR.   that freelancers have the additional chore of determining destintations for their trains, the industries served by the RR and train schedule.   these things are determined by a specific RR when modeled.

Tony has written about Allen McCleland's freelanced V&O.   Allen even came up with a paint scheme for his locos and rolling stock.

again this is just one aspect of modeling that not all modelers choose to follow.

 

Koester and McClelland run "club style" large railroads with multiple long trains and lots of staging.  That is more involved than my approach to the hobby.

I run shortline or branch line operations.  The railroad itself, not just the layout, runs one train at a time.  A few different trains run during the day, and multiple different trains during the week, but always just one at a time. Maybe two if things are busy.

Making up correct trains is part of ops.  Dispatching different trains is part of ops. But the activity is less intense.  Acquiring equipment is part of running the railroad.  Reparing equipment as well.

I can take any short or branch line and mimic those operations.  The freelancing part comes in terms of paint scheme, loco type, freight car type (which is determined by the industries on the line).  Locations and names of towns can change.  Landscape and setting as well.  Add a river and a bridge, or take one away.

I can take a short line that services a grain elevator and switch it to a crushed peanut shell loader and still run covered hoppers.  A canned food distributor for a plywood plant and still run box cars.  Etc.

I don't have to create anything about operations from scratch.  Take what's already in the inspirational railroad and leverage it into more activity and lean it towards the typs of locos and cars I want to run.

Maybe some would describe that more as proto lancing than free lancing.  More word-smithing than I care about.

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 31, 2021 12:40 PM

gregc

tony koester wrote about this in the july 2021 MR.   that freelancers have the additional chore of determining destintations for their trains, the industries served by the RR and train schedule.   these things are determined by a specific RR when modeled.

Tony has written about Allen McCleland's freelanced V&O.   Allen even came up with a paint scheme for his locos and rolling stock.

again this is just one aspect of modeling that not all modelers choose to follow.

 

One more important thought about modeling a specific prototype and trying to model actual places.

IF I did, I would be interested in recreating iconic scenes, the like the B&O crossing the Patomac at Harpers Ferry, the Thomas Viaduct, the wye at Point of Rocks, or the PRR bridge over the Susquehanna, or maybe an iconic passenger station.

Oh, that's right, my new layout has some scenes amazingly similar to those mentioned above.........

What I would not be doing is trying to recreate BayView yard in Baltimore......

In my opinion, for good operation, model yards and terminals need to ignore actual geographic track arrangements from the prototype and be arranged for good operator access.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 31, 2021 12:52 PM

Douglas,

The shortline thing is a great concept if that is whatyou like.

I hope to make room for a totally separate waterfront ISL .

I think what most freelancers today do should really be called protolancing.

I belong to a freelance group on facebook (which I am just learning to use) and all these guys seem pretty serious about stuff being believeable.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 31, 2021 12:58 PM

With my railroad, I can and have done both. Sometimes I'll do full blown operations and other times I just parade my trains across the layout from one staging yard to the other. It all depends on my mood. Until I complete my branchline, which is taking much longer than I expected, I can't fully operate the layout as I planned so running trains has been what I have done more of in recent years. Even in my operating scheme, I have trains that simply pass through the modeled portion of my railroad without stopping to do any switching. 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, July 31, 2021 1:01 PM

Doughless

 

 
Lastspikemike
in which John Hostler identifies three modeller personality types: Dispatcher, Engineer and Railfan.

 

It seems that model builder would be a 4th.  A personality type especially developed if you don't have a layout.

Keeping in mind your OP was about layouts.

 

That's my thinking.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 31, 2021 1:14 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
gregc

tony koester wrote about this in the july 2021 MR.   that freelancers have the additional chore of determining destintations for their trains, the industries served by the RR and train schedule.   these things are determined by a specific RR when modeled.

Tony has written about Allen McCleland's freelanced V&O.   Allen even came up with a paint scheme for his locos and rolling stock.

again this is just one aspect of modeling that not all modelers choose to follow.

 

 

 

Seems Tony is saying what I have been saying on here for a long time........

Some of us do both. I freelance with my ATLANTIC CENTRAL, but the ATLANTIC CENTRAL also has interchange with the C&O, B&O and WESTERN MARYLAND.

A small section of the layout represents a short section of the WESTERN MARYLAND.

Sure, those connections are fictional, and I make no attempt to squeeze the ATLANTIC CENTRAL "exactly" into real places or the existing track arrangements of those other roads.

BUT, the flavor of the operations, the scenery, the place names, reflect the history and charactor of the Mid Atlantic.

Just like Tony and Allen did with their freelanced roads (remember, Tony was a big freelancer too before his current Nickle Plate layout).

So, while I may not be trying to copy exact places (something I likely would not do even if I did not freelance) my modeling of the C&O, B&O and WESTERN MARYLAND equipment and operations is as accurate as practical and reflects the history and operations of those railroads.

Here is my take on trying to model actual places  - it is a noble goal, some people pull it off pretty well, but none of us have enough space.

My modeling interests, and my operational goals, are too broad to restrict myself in that way.

And even if I had more time, money and space, I would not want to build a larger layout. WHY?

Because I don't want my layout to REQUIRE more people than just myself to build and maintain.

I know I can handle what I am about to build, any more would be to much.

Your thoughts pretty much echo my own. My New York, Binghamton, and Western is a fictional railroad based very loosely on a composite of the Lackawanna and NYOW. All the modeled portions of the layout represent fictional towns but my staging yards represent interchanges with real railroads in real places. On the east end, the staging yard represents interchange yards with a number of real railroads on the west bank of the Hudson across from New York City. On the west end, the staging yard represents Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica. The main trunk runs to Buffalo but it has major branches to the other three. It's main interchange partner on the west end is the Nickel Plate. Much of the freight is bridge traffic but there are enough set outs and pick ups on the modeled portion to keep it interesting. Some freights pass through while others terminate or originate in my main classification yard. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 31, 2021 1:45 PM

Lastspikemike

 

 
Doughless

 

 
Lastspikemike
in which John Hostler identifies three modeller personality types: Dispatcher, Engineer and Railfan.

 

It seems that model builder would be a 4th.  A personality type especially developed if you don't have a layout.

Keeping in mind your OP was about layouts.

 

 

 

Thats my thinking.

 

Agreed, and I have nearly equal interest in all four. My weak area being "locomotive engineer".

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 31, 2021 2:51 PM

gregc
tony koester wrote about this in the july 2021 MR. 

That was a terrible article.

Tony made the usual points he has about freelancing, and ignored those of us that really are freelancing, and having a ball doing it.

The Milwaukee Road Warrior
Since I've been out of the hobby for so long, and never really thought about operation as a kid, the thought of trying to plan a railroad for accurate operation is a bit daunting to me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with simply enjoying running your electric trains for the fun of it.

-Kevin

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Posted by gregc on Saturday, July 31, 2021 3:10 PM

SeeYou190
ignored those of us that really are freelancing, and having a ball doing it.

i'm curious how you would describe Allen McCleland's freelanced V&O  (corrected)?

i doubt any article/book could fully cover the scope of model railroading

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, July 31, 2021 3:29 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Douglas,

The shortline thing is a great concept if that is whatyou like.

I hope to make room for a totally separate waterfront ISL .

I think what most freelancers today do should really be called protolancing.

I belong to a freelance group on facebook (which I am just learning to use) and all these guys seem pretty serious about stuff being believeable.

Sheldon

 

Well, I may use an existing short/branch line or an abandoned Class I section as the basis, but it evolves so much that it's pretty far away from the actual prototype to call it true proto lance, IMO.  It ends up being more plausibile freelance than being based on an actual railroad.

There is a modeler who base's his home Class 1 railroad on an existing Class 1 railroad, (I think it is/was the UTAH BELT) and updates the layout based upon how that chosen prototype changes.  He even deletes and adds locomotives as that existing railroad updates its roster.  The locations and paint scheme is totally made up, but the ops and much of the equipment mirror the chosen prototype.  Thats intense protolancing, and I'm nowhere near that level of involvement.

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 31, 2021 3:32 PM

gregc

 

 
SeeYou190
ignored those of us that really are freelancing, and having a ball doing it.

 

i'm curious how you would describe Allen McCleland's freelanced V&O?

i doubt any article/book could fully cover the scope of model railroading

 

That V&O link goes nowhere?

 

    

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, July 31, 2021 6:31 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
That V&O link goes nowhere?

It takes me right to the Wikipedia article.  Huh?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginian_and_Ohio

 

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 31, 2021 6:36 PM

gmpullman

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
That V&O link goes nowhere?

 

It takes me right to the Wikipedia article.  Huh?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginian_and_Ohio

 

Good Luck, Ed

 

I get this

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginian_and_Ohiohttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginian_and_Ohio

 

Edit - Greg fixed it - click on the one in the quote.....

    

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Posted by KitbashOn30 on Saturday, July 31, 2021 7:38 PM

Lastspikemike
Which should we model? 

"Elementary, my dear Watson," We should model what works for us. Big Smile

I've got "the best of both worlds" with my little 28x80 inch switching layout at home that's supposed to, eventually, be part of a U shaped shelf layout & with our small but hey it exists! club and club layout of a modular 20ft square in HO in this little county seat farm burg.

So, I can build models and switch cars at home & operate or just sit and railfan at club. Life is good. My health is not good and is really slowing down my modeling, but even so, life is good. Big Smile

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 31, 2021 8:18 PM

gregc
SeeYou190
ignored those of us that really are freelancing, and having a ball doing it.

 

i'm curious how you would describe Allen McCleland's freelanced V&O  (corrected)? 

My comments had nothing to do with any model railroad that anyone has built. I was commenting on Tony Koester's article in Model Railroader a few months ago.

I do not describe other people's layouts.

-Kevin

Happily modeling in HO scale. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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