Guidelines for Freelance?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by 2-8-2, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    That topic doesn't make much sense, does it?

    I'm having trouble coming up with anything on the internet regarding how to go about constructing a freelance model railroad. Are there any "rules of thumb" to go by or should I just let my imagination run wild?
  2. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Go wild. There are no guidelines in freelancing.
    Most freelancers(Like me) base thier freelanced lines on railroads, that have been swallowed up by a larger railroad, or went bankrupt. Or also in my case, a line that ran through thier towns, but had been abandoned(The real Central New England, was taken over by the New Haven, then the line was abandoned and most of the miles were torn up).My CNE fictionally runs today, after the Penn Central take over of the NH,the rails are still laid down, running through the Northwest Corner of Connecticut.
    Other freelancers like to make their lines as a "Sub-Division" of a major railroad. Still others just make up the name of a railroad, towns it goes through and to.
    The good thing about freelancing is, you get to run the equipment you want, where you want it to go, whatever era you like.
    Of course....These are just a couple of suggestions.
  3. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    .. or make a ficticious railroad, Mine (link in my signature) is solely based on our member's names - It's become a logging railroad in Northern PA - it never really existed. :D :D
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Go for it

    Freelancing can be trickier than strictly prototype modelling. If you design your own loco, you have to be aware of what the parts are, how they work and where they fit together. If you do something unusual, like putting the cylinders under the cab, you better have a good explanation and have the piping to match.
    (Not what you intended?) Freelancing a location, but borrowing rolling stock designs/yard designs from other railroads -- go ahead. You can model branch lines that never were, main lines that were planned but never built, model a division point where there was a flagstop, run a connecting line where it should have gone.
    (My fantasy is that the gas engine was never very successful, and nobody abandoned the rails for roads.)
    Model a connecting line that bought old NKP steamers when the Plate dieselised.
  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    my freelance RR is based on a bridge RR that lost one of its connections due to a natural disaster leaving a struggling RR running on the brink of shutting down. used locos and outdated equipment .
  6. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    My railroad-to-be is influenced by the old Danbury-Pittsfield Berkshire branch of the New Haven; but, other than having some NH locomotives and other equipment is completely fictitious. It will be set in the mid to late fifties; but I have no hard and fast rules. In fact, I am subtitling it the Time Warp Line, as I may occasionally have something more modern. Freelancing, to my mind, can be whatever you make it.
  7. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The Sagaponack Montauk, was my first railroad, where I used the names of places on Eastern Long Island. After I was married, I added "Cindys Harbor", Cindy being my wife's name, and the place being a variation of Cundys Harbor, Maine.
    When I got into HOn3, Sag Harbor Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, "The shipyard" became the parent company of the SM&CH. The narrow gauge industrial line, and its shipyard became the central entity, around which all else functioned. The SM&CH became a 'modern', hauler of less than carload loads, as a subcontractor for the north eastern roads, using steam locomotives, and steam era rolling stock. A "working Museum".
    The corporate structure of the shipyard made possible the acquisition of the Shinnecock Hills Lumber Company, and the 30" gauge Wiscasset Bucksport & Schoodic Point.
    There really isn't much of that "lance" that's "free" :D :D :D
  8. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Well this is all good news! :thumb:

    The original plan was to model part of the NKP that ran though Ohio. Locomotives and especially rolling stock are kind of hard to come by with the NKP road name. I know that if I didn't model the prototype "just right" I wouldn't be happy with my railroad.

    So...I've decided to create a freelance road. I like the "what if" scenario. I live very close to Lima, OH. Once home to the historic Lima Locomotive Works. There's a part of me that feels I should use that on my layout, or at least something similar.
  9. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Rules Ror Freelance Railroading.......

    1: If it Sounds Good, Looks Good and you can spin a good story around it, than Go For It :thumb:
    2: It's Your Railroad, Your Hobby and Your break from the old 9-5, so Have Fun ;) :) :D :thumb:
    3: There Are No Rules For Freelance Railroading :D

    Keep us posted on your progress :)

  10. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    The Catch Phrase Of the year seems to be " Plausible Reality"
    When it comes to creating a ficticious road.

    My reccomendations then come from gathering information regarding techniques people have used,articles read,books on the subject etc and they all point to this:

    After determining the type of RR (hvy mainline, bridge traffic, shortline industrial)

    And the Geographic Location (Western Mountains,Coastal , Eastern Mountains, Midwest praries, Northern Forests etc)

    And the Era (Modern, Transition, Turn of the century roaring 20's, depression 30's wartime 40's etc)

    Look then to the Railroads of the Area , Era and type that were Real.
    Use these examples as guidelines to help develop a theme for your railroad.
    Take a look at a map of the area and what commodities were being hauled, waterways, traffic patterns etc and use this to Create your new Railroad.

    In this way you can place your model RR into a realistic setting and give it a plausibility that fits!! By doing this you will improve your realism overall because what you have created could have been. Only those with much knowledge of railroading may even realize your road wasnt a real railroad because you base its traffic,comodities and look around a real RR of the area in and around that time in history.
    The research is half the fun!! :thumb:

    This link to the LDSIG will be very helpful as you get started designing your own layout. I reccomend reading the entire thing Twice!!
  11. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    How can you have guide lines on a rail line with none?

    It is a simlpe idea, just lay track and make sidings.
  12. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Four suggestions - #1 take a closed branch line and reopen it, #2 look in Kalmbachs "American Shortline Guide" and upgrade one of them (with a new name), #3 same book and takeover (buyout?) one of the ones that has now closed, #4 build an industrial park (Progressive Rail as a prototype) and build a customer base and a connecting line to interchange with nearest main line
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  13. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Thanks for that link Tileguy!

    I've only read a little bit of it so far, and it's very informative.
  14. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ok..You live around Lima..As you know R.J.Corman operates part of the old Lake Erie &Western.-exNKP,exN&W,.exNS...Why not model a freelance short line by using the old LE&W? My Columbus & Hocking Valley is named after the old C&HV as a modern short line from Columbus to Parkersburg WVa with two sub divisions one to Jackson and one to Newark.
    In theory my CDB Industries outbid Rail America and became the operator of the C&O'S Athens subdivision..I used modeler's license and bought to other short lines in order to reach Parkersburgh,Jackson and Newark.
    You see how believable my C&HV Ry is?
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    You can probably freelance using any general commercial locos as long as you steer clear of the ones that are really identified with one road--Pennsy types, streamliners, Cab aheads and big UP articulateds. Some of these could be justified with a bit of storytelling. (Your road went cheap and bought an add-on to someone else's order.) If you're modelling a road around Lima, everything they built could be tested on it or shipped out on it -- with or without lettering.
  16. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    David,R.J.Corman and Wheeling & Lake Erie has TUNNEL motors!! :eek: So,by observing the prototype and with research on the NET one can have a believable freelance roster.. :thumb:
  17. Tad

    Tad Member

    In Realistic Model Railroad Design: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Unique Operating Layout, Tony Koester talks about how to go about designing a plausible freelance railroad.

    All usual disclaimers apply.
  18. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Absolutely!!! IMHO That is the best book on the market covering freelancing. :thumb:
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    My two cents...

    If you want to let your imagination run wild, then there are no rules, E.g. Thomas the Tank Engine, Harry Potter, Polar Express... I even remember reading about a guy who wanted to do a Lord of the Rings/Middle Earth Railroad... (I think it was here on The Gauge too...! ;) ).

    If you want to create a realistic railroad, but not letter it for an existing or historic road, then the book and other advice given above would apply (more or less). I.e. you are trying to create a believable railroad.

  20. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    The only rule I have for my freelance railroad is that it has to have a REASON to be there. Doesn't matter what it is.

    So I just have a vague picture in my head of a few little towns connected by my railroad. Then I designed a rough track plan (changing it about 100 times since) lay down the track (still in progress), and my towns will "grow" as I build or buy more stuff, just like in real life.

    For my yet unnamed railroad, I have 3 small towns, one of which has a seaport (or a river?, haven't added water yet.) Each of the towns has various industries that obviously need supplies and to ship their products.

    I also want to eventually incorporate a very light scheduled passenger line interconnecting my towns.

    But it's always subject to change when I get to the basement!


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