Futuristic modeling of railroads

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by kf4jqd, Apr 5, 2001.

  1. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Hello All:

    I thought I posted this topic eatlier but I don't see it here. Here what it is about.

    I see everyone modelling their favorit part of railroad history. May it be steam or other. I am just as guity. So how about a futuristic railroad? Y ou really have to use your imgaination!

    How about your high speed passenger train taking passengers to the airport to catch the next space plane to a space staion or to the moon?! What about trains going in and out of mega cities?

    What about a train on the moon? Carring scientist to their telescopes on the side not facing Earth.

    Just another idea. I haven't heard of it being done before. I use to as a kid use my Lionel trainset to carry my Star Wars figures around! [​IMG]


    Have you ever scene "Total Recall"? They had a train on Mars!
  2. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    The ultimate "freelance" railroad! Model the future. There are plenty of sci-fi movie models, a bit of kit bashing and a lot of imagination and there could be an awesome set up. Those new bullet trains from Europe, a few starwars kitbashed models, maybe a lost in space background...

    What industries? Space travel (obviously), Farming, (What does a farm look like in 2102?)

    This is an intriguing thought.
  3. George

    George Member

    Hello Andy!

    I can do without the science fantasy. When they came out with the futuristic train set that ran up along the wall I lost interest in that concept.

    About 15 years ago at a club's open house, we saw a Superliner consist that had been decorated in Pennsylvania livery. It had a tuscan red stripe below the windows with yellow lettering and keystones by the doors. Crowning it was an F-40 in tuscan and pinstripes with a keystone on the nose. Now that was something to look at.

    I heard also heard about someone taking a string of Amfleet cars, painting the window board gray and putting New York Central cigar band decals by the doors. Older diesels were used in black paint. This got a lot of people's juices going in the age of the sterile "Railgon" and "Railbox" phase of contemporary railroading.

    Now, that kind of futuristic modelling I can relate to!

    If the larger fallen flags had survived mergers as the dominant corporations, we would have seen more modern equipment in older liveries over time. Yet in this case, the true challenge to creativity is in updating a corporate logo to keep in step with modernizing the image of the railroad to the public, as the prototype would have done. Then again we are now seeing traditional emblems, such as the return of Union Pacific wings in the new century. Do not forget as well the renaissance of the Warbonnet scheme at the twilight of the Santa Fe as we knew it.

    I would like to see these modellers come out of the closet. Who has done updated graphics and paint schemes? How many of you have taken your passenger service back from VIA and Amtrak? It's nothing to be ashamed of.

  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I think a sci-fi theme is a great idea!
    While I don't see myself getting into it, (not at the moment anyway) It might be a great project for someone with a bent for that kind of thing.
    A few years back, didn't Marklin or somebody produce a model of a monorail? Something like that might have real oossibilities along those lines.
    Hey, & that Martian layout sure would save you on trees! [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by Charlie (edited 04-05-2001).]
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Mag Lev in HO scale. No rails to lay... hmmmm Like that idea!

  6. Shay2

    Shay2 Member

    Jeeze, I'm having enough problems modeling the 1890's!
    Ok, a freelance 2701 vintage, Back-to-the-Future layout I could get into. (do we still use electricity or krypton laced plutonium?)
    I'm thinking this could be an interesting concept. I mean, whose gonna disagree about any part of the finished product except maybe your very distant grand kids....


    Rush Run River Logging Co.
  7. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hey, that monorail would be the ultimate in narrow gauge wouldn't it? [​IMG]
  8. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I like the response to this one! [​IMG] If you ever been to Disney's Epcot Center In Florida. They show frieght trains to be modular. These cars would set on flat cars and be locked in to place. Once the train gets to its stations. These moduls are unloaded onto semi trails. You may say we do that today, but these are areo dynamic and are unloaded and loaded by robots!

    As population increase and so does population. I believe the railroads will have more important role to play again. Just like in the 1800's, here in the USA.

  9. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    This is a major modeling undertaking. There is simply no way to take existing stock and say "poof!" you are now a century later. Modular freight cars, advanced propulsion, holographic signaling... WOW! I would say I'll stick with the modern era but I can't find any road cars in "N" scale [​IMG]! Updating current logos and lines is an intriguing concept. It is much harder to predict 20 or 50 years ahead than it is to go 100.
  10. George

    George Member

    I still don't go for this concept, however I found something you could definately use just this past weekend.

    The Discovery Channel Store has a 1/72nd scale Apollo Lunar Module complete with figures for about US$13.

    I think the only things you could use for this folly are the old Disneyland monorail (remember that one?) and the Super Train set that ran up the wall which was marketed some 15 odd years ago. Gee, it was such a hit you can't buy it anymore!

    I think this idea though interesting for a train show is just a waste of time and money. Stick to freelancing something believeable that you can keep for a long time.

    Remember, funds are finite!

  11. George

    George Member

    Post Script;

    YES. I did buy the ding-dong thing, and NO, it's not going anywhere near the layout.

  12. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    I like that one charlie, a Narrow Guage monorail [​IMG]

    NARA Member #8
    The Appalachian & Atlantic Railroad
  13. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    I have to disagree with George. Modeling is about interpretation, and vision. Why limit yourself to interpreting the past? There are questions about the future that need to be asked. We are the fans of the rails, we are the ones who go to the yard just for the thrill. In ten years, what will the locos look like? Not much different than now, but what about 50 years? Will you just sit in your basement bemoaning the loss of the sd90? Or will you embrace the latest technology. You want something believable? Make it believable.
  14. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I couldn't help noticing that someone used the word "fantasy" in responce to the idea in the original post. This got me to thinking, so I looked it up.
    Mr. Webster defines fantasy as: "a product of imagination...an image...an illusory image".
    Lets face it folks - isn't this what's at the core of model railroading? Aren't we all using our imaginations to create some image that we find pleasure in? It seems to me that time & place are irrelavant. What's important is that we strive to acheive that image that we see in our mind's eye.
  15. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I must have started something here! I strongly disagree with George. Sorry George. [​IMG] I think railroads will play an even more omportant role in humans future. At least in the next 100 years. There has been specails on the Discovery Channel and TLC about our planets problem and how railroads will help it.

    I will give credit to the Europeans. I love their trains. I specailly love Germany's new high speed trains. Even Japan's. I saw someone saying that mag-lev trains don't need tracks. WRONG! They use super conductors to levitate the train off the tracks! Now if the engineers are having a hard time doing it. I think us modelers would too!

    It's about time that we here in the USA has a high speed train ACEA. However, this technology came from the Germans. We Americans use to build the finest trains in the world. Now we don't.

    I know all of us are concern about our planets health. Mother Earth is sick. The problem is with us humans. We need to clean our act up if we our planet to live on. Trains is one of our solutions for transportation. Our airports here in the US are a mess. Delays after delays. What about our cars? That is another mess.

    I was on the CB radio. I heard about the truck drivers hauling frieght. They are only out for themselves on the road. They fall alseep behind the wheel. Or worst yet, use drugs. I think trains could bring the end to long haul trucks if the American car drivers demand tougher laws.

    As for us car drivers? I would as many Americans would never give up their freedom of driving. But lets make it more exciting for a family planning a vacation to use a train. However, here in the US alot of our railroad infrasture is gone. You reallize that here in Wisconsin that alot of the tracks has been removed? They are now snow mobil trails! [​IMG]

    We can use our excisting models. We can use our imaginations too. Now, after all of that. Wouldn't you like your great-great grandchild be into model trains? We all can't live in the past.

  16. LC

    LC Member

    I think that there are three things here, the present, some model that, the past, which most of us model, and since we are talking about it, the future.
    I suppose one could model the future, it might be accepted by some. The problem is that the average age of a model railroader has to be somewhere between 35-60, and I think that the 35 is most likely too low.
    In the club I am in,(47 members strong), the guys and gals over 50 make up about 75% of the membership.
    So it's no small wonder that a railroad set a bunch of years in the future is not going to get a whole lot of support, or for a better word, "understanding".
    Some people like to model the logging set back in 1875-1920. Others want to use other time periods,and other types of railroading,myself 1948-1961.
    I use this duration because it's what I grew up with, and I am very heavy into passenger service. I have freight for one reason, to have something to have to get out of the way and put in the "hole" to let a 21 car U.P. City of Los Angles pulled by an ABBBA set of Alco PA1s (all powered)pass by at a scale speed of 75 mph. (there is a reason the new layout has to be 44ft long).
    But this is MY time zone, when I rode these trains, and for lots of miles too.
    It's a period of time when rail service, at least passenger service, was at it's best. It's the ending years of the best steam power there was, and the years when the most beautiful E units, F units and PAs were built.
    I have to wonder what the best selling time period and type of power units are? Anyone have any ideas on this?
    Or perhaps we should be looking at the ALL TIME best sellers, Gauge doesn't matter. The rest of the rolling stock will fall into place with the power units.
    It all still boils down to our own ideas of what is right.
    Happy modeling
  17. George

    George Member

    This is getting more interesting than I ever would have given the initial entry credit for.

    Let me clarify something. Yes the future is very important, and it does have a place in modelling. It's actually the core of research and development in the design sector, right?

    Yakkowarner, I whole heartedly agree with you, and Charlie, there's a whole world (out of this world?) of difference between your interpretation of my use of the term "fantasy" to my acutal use of the compound "science fantasy" in that entry. The business about the moon got me started on that one. I'm confident that any means of transporting anything on the moon will be done underground, making this venture as exciting as modelling a subway system without an elevated line. The equipment is another matter entirely and deserves looking into.

    To model the future is a challenge as we don't know how soon track will be replaced, if ever. Maglev tech will probably be deployed in another fifty years and then only on short haul commuter runs, possibly limited intercity service. A maglev takes a lot of juice to run. I bet they're real glad they don't have a massive maglev network in California these days!

    Rails will be in place for a long time to come for freight as with a world wide energy crunch looming, it's undoubtedly the most efficient way to move freight in bulk.

    My point is this. Modelling the future in a logically plausible manner is great. If it poses questions and gets grey matter churning, fantastic! We need ideas, and answers for the challenges of the future. Young developing minds looking on may be kindled into the industry, as we learned about our world as it existed through trains and model railroading. But, to go into something Azimovian for a total layout theme is a waste of your resources. As a goof on a module at a show, fine, it's funny. An entire layout? Unless it something feasable, No.

    What would make this concept of modelling the future interesting would be to look just to the next generaton of equipment. what will fit the needs of the industry as a next step to current trends?

    Isn't it amazing that the Roadrailers never took off? Want to get the juices going? How about perfecting the Roadrailer concept somehow, and taking it one step further and making a double stack Roadrailer? Don't forget to patent the idea!
  18. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    LC mentions the age of modelers. I come in a bit under that average at 32. I grew up on science fiction and thrive on "the next big thing." I have given this a lot of thought recently...
    Diesel engines, while powerful are inefficient and polluting. If they could be made to run on natural gas... Hmmm. What about Gas Turbines? A comparably sized gas turbine will produce about 40% more horsepower than a diesel. Co-generation is in place in many power generation plants and I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work in a locomotive. Natural gas can also be compressed for storage.

    Sketches to follow soon.
  19. LC

    LC Member

    George I agree with you 100% as to something on the moon being underground.
    So perhaps those who model two levels have something after all!
    Simply use the top lever for the ground level and scenery, and use the lower level as the underground, or subway type rail service.
    Intresting concept!
    I also agree that if we don't look to the future, there will be no future, or advancement. All we need to do is look at the difference in what's here today in the modeling world compaired to 30 years ago.
    You can't imagin how I felt when I got re-started in H.O. after many years of absence, the new stuff simply confused me for awhile. DCC? Who in the world 30 years ago could have even dreamed of such a thing.
  20. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Easy does it George!
    I wasn't trying to INTERPRET ANYTHING you were saying.
    It was just that seeing the word "fantasy" (regardless of its context) made me think of the word as it relates to this hobby.
    And I stand by my statement that we model railroaders (that means you too George) are purveyors of fantasy. It doesn't matter whether you're modeling a 1890's logging roads, Union Pacific passenger trains, subways, el-trains, mag-levs, roadrailers, in or out of this world, or whatever. You are taking something that exsists in your imagination, your memories, or your knowledge, based on research, & through the creative use of plywood, foam, plaster, & whatever materials we have at our disposal, you transform it into a physical reality.
    I wasn't disagreeing with anyone. I was just adding that little point to the conversation.

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