Futuristic modeling of railroads

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

  1. Biggerhammer

    Biggerhammer Member

    I've followed this post for a while-
    SciFi and model trains are a great match!

    Science fiction has frequently led to invention- Heinlein invented the waterbed this way (though he thought it would have to be drained daily) and fax machines were born on Star Trek. Of course there have probably been hundreds of ideas that never flew, but if modelers prototype (in the engineering sense, not the modeling sense) an idea that works in 1/87th, we may wind up inventing a totally new design.
  2. George

    George Member

    Hi Guys!

    Charlie, don't worry, and you can say anything you want. Now, here's another log for this fire. I'd like your feedback on this in light of your valid observation;

    "I stand by my statement that we model railroaders (that means you too George) are purveyors of fantasy."

    That may be true to an extent, but how do you feel about this new idea that we're also being hearalded as "Preservationists"?

    I agree with both, however the two concepts don't seem to go hand in hand at face value? [​IMG]? A professor would have a field day with this one, any out there?

  3. Biggerhammer

    Biggerhammer Member

    A few thoughts:

    On the 'Preservationist' vs 'Fantasist' dilemma: depending on modeler and layout, either could be true. I'm a newbie here but my current layout is a fantasy (1900s technology set in an idealized Iowa with a made-up railroad company). My next layout will be strictly preservation, though- 1948 Suncook Valley Express, based on research and walking the tracks (some of which still exist).

    I personally like to think of many of us as both. Many people seem to follow the unofficial motto of the SCA- 'the past the way it ought to have been'. From the powerful locomotives and long consists of the UP to the spunky little logging road that could, we model the physical results of determination, vision and hope as they drive people to connect cities, industries and nations.

    To give my answer, I think that nobody is 'just' a fantasist nor 'just' a preservationist. It's a continuum, with preservation on one end and fantasy on the other. Where one falls on that line depends on the person and the layout in question.

    Does that make sense, or am I way off-track? (I'm getting used to derailments anyway [​IMG] )
  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hey everybody!
    OK George, I'll take a stab at this preservation/fantasy dilema too.
    I'll just tell you what I'm doing with my HOn3 layout.
    My RR is based on two actual narrow gauge RR's that exsisted in eastern KY in trhe late 1800's & early 1900's. They were the Licking River RR, & the Mountain Central Ry. (preservation)
    My RR is called the Salt Lick & Devil's Mountain Ry. (fantasy)
    Salt Lick is a real place. (preservation)
    Devil's Mountain is a product of my imagination. (fantasy)
    The terminus of my RR is a real place called Campton. (preservation)
    My RR is set in the 1930's, while in reality, both the prototypes were abandoned by then. (fantasy)
    My RR interchanges with the C&O at Salt Lick. (preservation)
    My track plan is a simple point-to-point configuration of my own design. (fantasy)
    I'm scratchbuilding structures based on photos from the actual time & place. (preservation)
    So basically, while I'm doing research, & try to model something historical, I'm using some licence, & including a lot of my own whimsey too. I know there are some real "rivet counters" out there who might have a problem with this approach, but this is the way I like it, & it's my railroad!
  5. George

    George Member

    Now, this is more like it.

    About the only thing rooted in reality with my gear is the equipment. It spans some 70 years, so rotation gets to be a pain in the posterior. Hence, the idea I've already mentioned elsewhere of different time periods in different sectors of the layout. There's more reality based in this kind of fantasy than the extreme mentioned here.

    The buildings are rooted in fantasy, unless the prototype for the model is in Baltimore or Brantford, and I just don't know it. That's about it. There's nothing about my railroad that's going to hint of Andromeda or Starbase 7.

    Keep it real within reason, and keep the Super Chief out of Banff.

  6. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Hey George:

    You know that I started this topic, but am I doing it? No! Of course I am doing a fictional line of the Rock Island Railroad. So, I am just as guilty. I was just asking wondering if anyone thought of doing it before.

    I might considering doing it someday. Not just now. As for now. I am staying with The Rock.

  7. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I hope you're not feeling guilty about starting this topic. This one's been a lot of fun! It's great when you can get a little friendly bickering going on. [​IMG]
    Speaking of which, George, you've given me another great idea:
    How about an elevated monorail hauling ore from a dilithium mine, across the rocky surface of a desert planet in the Andromeda system, to a processing & loading facility at Starbase 7? [​IMG]
  8. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    Ohhh I guess I'll jump in too.
    How about a little closer in the galaxy. Say... A passenger and freight system that is underground and above; clinging to cliff walls in great chasms. On say...Mars. Kinda like the layout used in the movie Total Recall. [​IMG] It would look a bit like the Rockies, just a lot more red. Plus, it doesn't have to be Monorail or Mag-lev. Just a little more streamlined,and ground hugging. [​IMG]

    Tripping up the line;
    Ken 'Sir Prize'
  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Maybe you could bash one of those I.C.E., or Bullet trains into container service!
  10. LC

    LC Member

    Well, we have covered a lot of ground here as to what means what to whom.
    Interesting ideas from all who have commented on this post and subject.
    So now a couple of things come to mind.
    I would like to first of all turn your attention to "Great Model Railroads 2001", and to page 46 of that issue. Read it and then see where you feel Bob Rivard's article of his model railroad falls. Look at the amount of work and research he has done to re-create the (Andy you'll love this one) "Rocky Soo".
    I have been through this area many times, and have friends who work railroading there. This guy has re-created, almost to every blade of grass, a 20mile area in the Twin Cities.
    Folks, this goes way beyond "fanticy' or "science fiction". It's history! And it's darn accurate to the real thing as it existed some time ago. A lot of the highways and over passes are still in use today.
    I showed this artical to several who railroad that area and they could not believe what this man has done.
    Call it what you like, to me it's history!
    There has also been talk of "future" power units, different types fuels etc.
    We should remember that in the 50s & 60s the Union Pacific did indeed have Gas Turbine power units. The first started off somewhere in the 4500 H.P. range and ended up putting out 8500 H.P.! They even surmize that the actual power of some of these was in the 10,000 H.P. range.
    They of course had draw backs, outlawed in L.A. because they were making too much noise of which if you were ever close to one, (I was many times), they would take your ear drums and put them into the next zip code.
    They were finally fazed out due to their huge appitites for fuel.
    The point is some of this stuff the folks who grew up on "si-fi" mention have already been tried.
    Common sense will tell you that with the amount of fuel large (and small) railroads use each year they would be the first to grab on to something new and wonderful.
    They have actually gone along way with the newer power units such as the SD70MAC type . U.P is ordering 1000 of them, must be something there they like!
    So now for a moment, lets take all the trains off the landscape of the U.S. and transport all the goods only by truck, then add up the fuel consumption and cost of transportation. Many business would have to fold up, they could never afford the cost of having goods delivered by trucks and only trucks.
    Railroads are still the most economical means of transportaton we have today. And history is just that, history.
    This does not mean that someone who does a area of the country to his own ideas and values is wrong, but there is a huge difference between the two, at least in my mind. And if you will, both can be very correct, it's just that those who research and try to re-create something real have to put a lot more into it.
  11. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I knew it! [​IMG] I knew I would get peoples imaginations going!

    I think if I would do this project. It would be a scene from the movie, "Demoltion Man. With a clean city and no crime. I would use monorails, people movers, and highspeed trains.


    Now, where is my old Darth Vader? [​IMG]
  12. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I was looking through my 2001 Wathers catalog. I see tons of kit bashing! [​IMG]


    Still haven't ol' Darth Vader! [​IMG]
  13. George

    George Member

    Why don't you start with the Nuke plant from Bachmann in "N"?

  14. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    There ya' go. A Post-Apocalyptic landscape. Crumbled cities, scorched earth, and truck-front buggies. That way you can have a few new diesels(survived being tucked off in some 'bunker') for the RICH and old steamers for normal use. The whole Mad Max style thing, or could be kinder; like the Demo. Man with Sly and Snipes all 'utopia' [​IMG].Or still yet All dark and gritty, just like in the 1800's ( [​IMG] nothing meant by it).
    Long has been the thought of a forced Retro-New Age, by many writing genre's, but lumped in sci-fi for it was 'future' time.
    By the way wouldn't that work into what was said earlier. A logging industry still thriving although the real ended much earlier. If you had built it at the time it ended that would be a 'future/fantasy' layout.
    OHHHH... All ties together depending what side the valley your on and how high up. [​IMG]

    "Be good to yourself and each other."
    J. Springer [​IMG] [​IMG]

    On the rail side;
    Ken 'Sir Prize'
  15. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member


    We could have a nuclear waste land. The setting after World War III. Just think. You could combine the old with the new!


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