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John Allen's 2 stall enginehouse

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John Allen's 2 stall enginehouse
Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 30, 2022 9:01 AM

In the late 1940s, John Allen designed and built a 2 stall enginehouse which he submitted to a contest and won the top prize in its category. I only learned recently that at the time, John was not well known and was considered a newcomer. The enginehouse was located in the town of Gorre on all three versions of his Gorre & Daphetid Railroad.

The design was fairly basic. There were two entry doors on the front of the enginehouse facing the turntable. One door was to a stub end stall while the other stall had a door on the backside allowing the track to go all the way through. That basic design has been copied numerous times by a number of manuafacturers in both plastic kits as well as a couple of releases of FSM craftsman kits, one of which I bought a few years ago on ebay.

I'm curious if this enginehouse was based on any specific prototype and how common a practice was it to have one through stall and one stub ended one.

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Posted by dknelson on Saturday, July 30, 2022 9:43 AM

I cannot speak to a prototype but I suspect it would not be too difficult to find photos of an old enginehouse that closely resembled the model, whether John Allen was aware of it or not.

I am relying on memory here - I'm not where my collection of MRs is --  but I believe the contest he won was Model Railroader's own model contest which required entries to be mailed to Milwaukee (and mailed back of course).  Not long after that MR ended its contest supposedly on the basis that the NMRA national convention contests were sufficient, but I also recollect being told that MR and the modelers both fatigued of receiving models damaged or even destroyed in the mail.  

What I distinctly recall was that the John Allen enginehouse raised eyebrows and perhaps blood pressure by being weathered and not just aged wood and faded paint, but the distinctive signs of the pigeon digestive process on the roof.  Weathering seems so obvious and necessary now -- the goal  being realism -- but back then you usually saw photos of layouts where everything looked equally pristine, like the day it left the factory (which of course replicated the most common source of prototype photos: the Car Builder's Cyclopedia and the Locomotive Builder's Cyclopedia).  This applied not just to paint but lettering schemes.  

The fact that a given train might have a locomotive that left the factory in 1920 pulling a freight car that left the factory in 1937 trailed by a caboose that left the factory in 1888 did not seem to register with modelers of the time that all should be made to look their age at the point in time being modeled.  But then even the notion that there was a point in time being modeled (versus very broad notions of "era" such as "old time" and "not old time") had not taken hold.

I think John Allen built that enginehouse before starting work on the first version of the G&D, or at the very least before sharing any photos of the layout, so yes he would have been an unfamiliar name.  That changed fast. 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 30, 2022 1:37 PM

John-NYBW
I'm curious if this enginehouse was based on any specific prototype and how common a practice was it to have one through stall and one stub ended one.

This is something I have wondered about often.

I have duplicated the "one stub one through" design on a couple of freelanced engine houses, and intend to do it again.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, July 30, 2022 1:41 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
John-NYBW
I'm curious if this enginehouse was based on any specific prototype and how common a practice was it to have one through stall and one stub ended one.

 

This is something I have wondered about often.

I have duplicated the "one stub one through" design on a couple of freelanced engine houses, and intend to do it again.

-Kevin

 

More importantly, what would the point of a run though stall?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 30, 2022 1:59 PM

richhotrain
what would the point of a run though stall?

John Allen usually showed it with spare wheels and trucks outside the enginehouse.

It was sometimes used as a place for Emma to play.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by drgwcs on Saturday, July 30, 2022 2:07 PM

richhotrain

 

 
SeeYou190

 

 
John-NYBW
I'm curious if this enginehouse was based on any specific prototype and how common a practice was it to have one through stall and one stub ended one.

 

This is something I have wondered about often.

I have duplicated the "one stub one through" design on a couple of freelanced engine houses, and intend to do it again.

-Kevin

 

 

 

More importantly, what would the point of a run though stall?

 

Rich

 

I have often wondered how many actually had that feature. Much of it would have been track arrangement and feasibility. The Colorado and Southern roundhouse at Como had a run through track like that in the wooden portion. There it was an issue of track arrangement. I have seen a few roundhouse that had a run through to access a backshop behind. I could see some advantages to an engine house of John's design if it paralleled the main. Engines could be run in from either direction without backing. An engine could also be run through and serviced and pull out in the same direction. Ultimately if you think about it most all diesel shops although of a later Era were built in this type of configuration. It just makes sense. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 30, 2022 3:48 PM

richhotrain

 

 
SeeYou190

 

 
John-NYBW
I'm curious if this enginehouse was based on any specific prototype and how common a practice was it to have one through stall and one stub ended one.

 

This is something I have wondered about often.

I have duplicated the "one stub one through" design on a couple of freelanced engine houses, and intend to do it again.

-Kevin

 

 

 

More importantly, what would the point of a run though stall?

 

Rich

 

In the case of my branchline, once the loco is turned and moved into the enginehouse for maintenance, it can escape out the rear and back onto the mainline without having to go back over the turntable. It would also place it beyond the lead to the small yard so it can begin to assemble it's train with one less move. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 30, 2022 3:52 PM

drgwcs

 

 
richhotrain

 

 
SeeYou190

 

 
John-NYBW
I'm curious if this enginehouse was based on any specific prototype and how common a practice was it to have one through stall and one stub ended one.

 

This is something I have wondered about often.

I have duplicated the "one stub one through" design on a couple of freelanced engine houses, and intend to do it again.

-Kevin

 

 

 

More importantly, what would the point of a run though stall?

 

Rich

 

 

 

I have often wondered how many actually had that feature. Much of it would have been track arrangement and feasibility. The Colorado and Southern roundhouse at Como had a run through track like that in the wooden portion. There it was an issue of track arrangement. I have seen a few roundhouse that had a run through to access a backshop behind. I could see some advantages to an engine house of John's design if it paralleled the main. Engines could be run in from either direction without backing. An engine could also be run through and serviced and pull out in the same direction. Ultimately if you think about it most all diesel shops although of a later Era were built in this type of configuration. It just makes sense. 

 

This pretty much describes how the terminus of my branchline will be laid out when I get around to it, hopefully this winter after I put my golf clubs away. What little time I've spent on the layout this summer has been doing maintenance tasks to improve operations.  

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Posted by wrench567 on Saturday, July 30, 2022 6:10 PM

  The old shop in Worcester Massachusetts of the P&W was a concrete block building with one through track and one stub. Google Earth has the new facility but you can still see the old shop with no solar panels. The last time I was there was probably 30 years ago. It was just the old shop with an office on the side of the run through track.

     Pete.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, July 30, 2022 10:18 PM

richhotrain
More importantly, what would the point of a run though stall? Rich

A dead engine (or other equipment) could be pushed into the enginehouse without both navigating a turntable.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, August 1, 2022 2:03 PM

Having an enginehouse stall with both ends able to be opened also allowed you to put in engines longer than the enginehouse. If you needed to work on the cylinders of a large engine, you could back it into the enginehouse and allow the back of the tender to stick out the other side while you worked on the front of the engine inside the enginehouse.

John-NYBW
n the late 1940s, John Allen designed and built a 2 stall enginehouse which he submitted to a contest and won the top prize in its category. I only learned recently that at the time, John was not well known and was considered a newcomer.

By all accounts I've seen, John Allen didn't get interested in model railroading until the World War 2 years, starting with a diorama he took very realistic photos of - perhaps just as an experiment in photography, since that was his profession. So yes, in the late 1940s he would have been a relative 'newcomer' to the hobby. 

Stix
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Posted by John-NYBW on Thursday, August 4, 2022 2:44 PM

Looking at a recent Menard's ad reminded me that they have come out with their own version of the John Allen enginehouse. There can be no question it is based on John's original design. 

Menard's is hard to figure. Some of their structures are of high enough quality for a serious modeler to consider but they also produce a lot of stuff that is just toylike. I would buy more of their structures if they would just leave off the perimeters and just provide the structure. Their grass and other landscaping looks very artificial. Their version of the enginehouse is quite well done although if I were to buy it, I would remove the perimeter and weather it quite a bit. Since I have the FSM version, there's no need to do that. 

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