Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Research - "Listing of Freight Cars by Class and Car Number 1906-1991"

This book took forever to arrive. I think it too took them 12 days to actually get into the mail to me. That is a problem with some of these third party book guys on Amazon. So this is the kind of book that only a researcher would enjoy. Which means I find it fascinating! Just a lot of numbers in columns and rows. This should be the last piece of the puzzle I need to finish off the research on the Santa Fe Boxcars trying to figure out which were the most common types and how many I should set my sites on. I'm thinking about 50 freight cars of various types for the layout right now, with maybe 15-25 active on the layout at any given point. Will see how that goes.

A page that only a researcher could love.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Research - Freight Car Fleet Development; ATSF - Part 2

I started with a spreadsheet and translated all the boxcar data from the Railway Registry PDF into something that I could manipulate and add more data too. There are almost 300 different boxcar series listed in the Registry so it was a bit of painstaking task to get it all in there and I'm sure there are a few mistakes. I actually caught some typos in the original manuscript just to through a bit of a twist into the research.

The first thing I did was take the Shock Control Era book and compare the numeric series with those on the spreadsheet and add a couple columns for the boxcar identification and the year it went into service. I am not concerned with the year it went out of service if it existed on the 1975 Railway Registry then its fair game for inclusion on the layout. This gave me the type for just over 1/3 of the list (122 series to be precise), which represents 60 different boxcar types that were built or rebuilt on or after 1954. The rest were built prior to that date and of course the reference book for that is out of print and going for $100+ when you can find it. Once the other reference book, "Santa Fe Railway Listing of Freight Cars by Class and Car Numbers, 1906-1991", arrives I should be able to find the  the rest of the boxcars classes on the list. Of those already identified I can eliminate anything longer than a 50' car (the layout is being designed around the brick canyon, which will limit freight cars to 50' or less) and any car exclusive to the automobile industry. I can further eliminate cars that are rare as they were unlikely to have appeared in the Patch section of the LA Warehouse District unless they happen to provide service to an industry in that area.

At this point in time there is still a significant number of 40' boxcars on the roster. These consist primarily of Bx-85s,  Bx-136s, Bx-126s and Bx-115s. Not surprisingly the 50' boxcars make up the majority of the roster at this point.The most numerous are Bx-72s, Bx-69s, Bx-66s, Bx81s, Bx-74s, Bx-145s, and Bx-70s. Now, admittedly, the data is not complete but it gives me start on what I can find commercially. Of course manufacturer's don't make this easy, rarely do you find the Santa Fe's class listed on the side of a boxcar. So that will take a little more digging up than I care to think about.

Santa Fe Bx-85, 40' boxcar

Santa Fe Bx-115, a 40' boxcar

Santa Fe Bx-126, a 40' boxcar

Santa Fe Bx-136, a 40' boxcar

Santa Fe Bx-69, a 50' boxcar
Santa Fe Bx-81, a 50' boxcar

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Research - Freight Car Fleet Development; ATSF and C&N

One of the things the model railroaders and miniature gamers share is a love of research. I have this need to get things as close to being right as possible, at least in some areas. Both hobbies require a certain amount of "compression" because of space and we have to adjust what is available to us to fit inside that window of what is right and what is practical. In miniature wargaming we adjust the size of forces to fit the action, because we can't deploy and entire battalion 1 for 1 on table top battlefields, we must compress the forces to fit the table but still be able to have the capabilities of a battalion. 

Model railroaders face the same compression needs. We don't have the space to model the entire railroad nor do I have the means or the will to model every freight car that the ATSF owned. So I must take the information and compress it so that the freight fleet I develop has the look and feel of the ATSF without modeling the entire fleet. The LA Warehouse district is set in the 1970s, I'm feeling that 1975 feels about right so that's the "feel" I want to hit. On the flip side I could model the C&N almost car for car. There were only about 25 Boxcars, 4 Gondolas, 4 Flats, 40 Ore Cars and 2 Cabooses, along with a selection of passenger cars. That could be accomplished although its far larger number than I would need for the small layout I have planned. I could even manage the entire stable of steam locomotives. I would need four 2-8-0s (almost impossible to acquire on the market these days), one 2-6-0 and one 2 Truck Class B Shay. I could never hope to acquire the number of diesels I would need for the ATSF in 1975. But I digress.

While the C&N freight car fleet is easy, even easier when you consider that it didn't actually do interchange business the ATSF freight fleet is a bit more difficult. Again the goal is to make it feel "right" which means not doing the "rare" cars but sticking to the more common cars that would be seen everyday. So I have acquired a couple of research items to try and make this happen. The first was a CD from Tap Lines that I acquired off of Amazon. It contains 11 PDF files of "The Official Railway Equipment Register".  It included both 1972 and 1975 so I thought that would be a could purchase. This register shows a complete inventory of the freight cars of, almost, every railroad in the United States. My thoughts are that I can work out the proportion of the different box and refrigerator cars that would appear in 1975 on the layout. While I haven't worked out the industries I want to include I'm thinking that it would be mostly box and refrigerator cars so I'm going working on those numbers first.

The second are some books from the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society, Inc.. During the first thoughts about the LA Warehouse District I acquired their "Mechanical Refrigerator Cars and Insulated Refrigerator Cars of the Sana Fe Railway 1949-1988", reference book. It has the kind of detail that I can really get into. The next two are recent acquisitions; "Santa Fe Box Cars The Shock Control Era 1954-1995" and "Santa Fe Railway Listing of Freight Cars by Class and Car Numbers, 1906-1991". I'm still waiting for the second book (which is out of print) to arrive. Which brings up a point, if you are going to produce a series of reference volumes why do you let them go out of print? I was able to find the Listing of Freight Cars on Amazon but there is another volume that I want that has been out of print for a long time; "Santa Fe Boxcars; 1869-1953" published in 2001 and out of print for long enough that it has become a collector's item.

So between the various reference works I should be able to figure out what ATSF box and refrigerator freight car types would appear and in what numbers and I can work out the percentages and narrow down my purchasing requirements to get the ATSF "feel" that I'm looking for.

I like the spiral binding, the book lays nice and flat.

Lots of information on the different type, including the series numbers but not the quantities. That's where the Official Registry comes into play.

Friday, February 9, 2018

More Storage

Storage is always an issue for me. Between the multitude of projects, tools, paints, pigments and what not I just never seem to have enough room. We were at American Furniture Warehouse when I spotted a set of drawers made of wood instead of plastic on casters. At $30 it was cheaper than most of the plastic options out there so I decided to give it a try.

Of course it sat in the basement for months before I finally got around to actually putting it together. Construction was not complex but it was a bit more difficult than I anticipated. While there were spots where you would start the wood screws there lacked any pilot holes on the corresponding piece of wood so I was constantly struggling to make sure everything was straight. While the carcass itself was pretty simple the drawers gave me the most difficulty especially getting the back piece of the drawer in nice and straight. 

In the end I am happy with the result and I have a sturdy piece of furniture to store some stuff in. Mostly this will be holding tools, extra paints pigments and maybe some of the smaller in progress projects. The drawers are tall enough to handle all of the drop bottle paints without a problem, but my Liquitex inks are to tall.

Here are some pictures of the finished product:
Trying to free up space in these three locations into the smaller rolling storage drawers.

Plastic storage bins hold unpainted miniatures, paints, inks, bases and basing materials. I'm hoping to free up one or two of these for more miniatures.

The mess at the desk. The little paint rack on the right needs to go as does the huge paint rack in the center. The center rack is just to deep to be truly usable. Maybe just a stand up rack against the back would be the best bet.

Six drawers on casters.

All my pigments and pigment tools in one spot

My enamels fit quite nicely 

Spare paint in dropper bottles, typically extras (how does that happen?) and colors that are used in frequently

For the moment my HO Freight cars in the bottom drawer. Still looking for the rest of the parts for these.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Days of Wonder - Ticket to Ride; France & The Wild West Pt 2

The second half of the new Ticket to Ride Expansion is the Wild West which can be found on the reverse side of the board. This includes a new set of white cars to add a sixth player to the game, new destination tickets and 18 city markers (3 for each player).

Those city markers are the key to the Wild West version which features a map of the US from about the eastern edge of Colorado to the west coast. These city markers are key to this version of the game and it should make for some very interesting strategies. At the beginning of the game each player will select a starter city. The first route you claim must be from your starting city and every subsequent route must connect to your home city or to a city you have built to. Only one player's marker can reside in each city and once placed they cannot be moved. Now comes the real twist. If you build into a city controlled by another player then they score the points for claiming the route not you. Even more intriguing is if for some reason a player claims a route between two cities that are controlled by other players (or even the same player) then both players score the points (or a single player would score double). This board also introduces Ferry like those in Ticket to Ride Europe.

This is possibly one of the most interesting twists I have seen in the Ticket to Ride games and will really affect the strategy you use in both claiming routes to complete your tickets and where to locate your city markers. I'm definitely looking forward to getting a few games of this one in.