Proto vs Freelance

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Mountain Man, Jan 24, 2007.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    After reading some of the commentary on the "License" thread, this seems like it could be an interesting and revealing issue to discuss: the eternal battle beteeen modelllng and operations.

    Which is the "right way" to model - prototypical or freelance, and why?

    The layout I am designing is freelance but historically accurate, based on an amalagam of railraod operations for that time and place. I am not a big fan of copying an existing prototype layout and running precisely prototypical operations. I admire those who do for their dedication and accuracy, but it just isn't my thing.

    I'm more of a romantic - at least, acording to my wife! - and I like the flexibility and even the uncertainties of operations in the 1880's through the early 1900's. I guess my concept of reality is more like the Gorre & Daphaetid concept - do the best job you can with it and then have fun with it!
  2. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    I just run trains. My space is limited to 9x5 and I guess if you put that in perspective I could do a prototypical stretch of about 480 feet of track. In my case that would be about two cornfields and if I’m lucky I could include a barn.

    But I will probably try to fit an entire town and compress the mountain range along with sharp curves to have just a little more to view than any real prototype setting could permit.

    Now if I wanted to be accurate it would be easy due to the scale of 1:48 “O” it wouldn’t permit me to do anything more prototypical than a cornfield.

    [FONT=&quot]To be frank I will combine my railroad premise according to my own conception and design. I’m in charge of my railroad and like making the choices. Thus combining the methods of prototype and imaginary railroads I will have a multitude of possibilities for scenery and operation.

    Now for the record I love the Late Steam Period.
  3. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Here is my thoughts on freelancing.The why is simple..If I say I model the Columbus & Hocking Valley and when you visit my layout all you see Chessie locomotives and cars then in truth I am model the Chessie and the C&HV as a paper railroad owned by Chessie that is NOT freelancing..However if I say I model the C&HV and you visit and you see C&HV locomotives and cars then I IN FACT model a freelance railroad.There is a difference.
    Also see

    Let's compare and see...
    Do you see the C&HV here?

    Or do you see the C&HV here?


    Which is more believable as a TRUE identifiable freelance railroad?

    Now let's look at the C&HV to see how it came about..
    The Columbus & Hocking Valley Ry is owned and operated by the CDB Industries and is one of 7 short lines owned by CDBI.The C&HV came into existence in 1978 when CDBI bought the old Athens sub-division of the Chessie System.During this purchase 2 other short lines was bought,the Parkersburg & Ohio Valley RR that ran from Parkersburg WV to Athens Oh and the Ohio Midland Ry that ran from Jackson,Oh to Newark,Oh.These 2 roads was quickly merged into the new C&HV.By purchasing these roads the CBDI finally had the long sought after southern Ohio coal fields and industries.The CDBI relaid the track from Nelsonville to Athens which had been removed by the C&O some years ago.The old Logan yards was rebuilt and upgraded during this time as it would serve as the home shops and the only major yard on the C&HV since it was centrally located on the line.The second yard would be located in the old C&O(nee CHV&T) Mound Street yard and would require trackage rights over the Chessie to reach..A agreement was struck with the Chessie for those rights.The former P&OV yard in Parkersburg was upgraded as was the OM yards at Jackson and Newark.
    The C&HV connects with the following roads.
    CSX at Columbus.
    NS at Columbus.
    Scioto Valley Lines at Lancaster.
    Ironton Northern at Athens.

    Commodities haul: Grain,Lumber,coal,coke,steel,fly-ash,food stuffs,sand,glass,corn sweetener,corn starch,vegetable oils,scrap,pipe,chemicals,paints,news print,pulpwood,wood chips and other general freight.Total cars handle 32,584 a year
    Thanks to a aggressive marketing team freight traffic has climb a staggering 33% since the CDBI started the C&HV.
    So with the history,Corporate ID,locomotives and cars painted for the C&HV we model a believable freelance railroad and not a "paper" railroad of the Chessie System.

    See the difference?
  4. Chessie System

    Chessie System New Member

    I enjoy the building part of this hobby, I try and make it all "look real" However I am just going to make my own rail road.
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I'm glad you put "right way" to model in quotation marks. I see modeling as a continuum from total fantasy to conscious attention to prototype accuracy. Those extremes and everything in between are legitimate ways of approaching the hobby as long as you have fun doing it. As time goes by I find that I'm moving from total fantasy toward prototype accuracy but I am definitely most comfortable some place in the middle. I have Penn Cental equipment and try to make scenes look like the Notheast in the early 1970s but its more of a impressionist painting of the PC than a photograph. I'm also working on a freelanced railroad that interchanges with the PC. Brakie's comments make me wonder about it being a "paper railroad" as opposed to a freelance but I'm still pondering all of that! :)
  6. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I find your comment intriguing, Ralph, because it mirrors my feeling that you can, in fact, have both.

    I get the impression that freelancing is somehow associated with model railroading as impressionism is with art. Yet I have seen no slacking off on detail or accuracy when freelance layouts are displayed. I think you can throw in enormous accuracy as to locomotives, rolling stock, period structures and so forth, the only real difference being that you put your own name on it and run it as you please.

    My layout will be freelance because I want to combine outside elements into it and use it to showcase historical elements other than the actual trains, and after havibg spent twenty years in the military, I am strongly allergic to being chained to a rigid schedule when I'm supposed to be having fun.
  7. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

    Even though I was a reservist, I'll be hanged before I submit to anything overbearing in my hobby. I have a great appreciation for what's done in the realm of prototypical and freelance modeling but I have neither the time, money or patience to be picky about what comes my way...I'll make it work on my layout somehow. I'm still trying to factor in 2 twin motor DD40s into a Class II road's roster with at least a modicum of plausibility:thumb: :thumb: :D
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I like prototype modeling because it disciplines my spending. I model the Santa Fe as prototypically as I can in the mid 1950's and the Los Angeles Junction in the 1990's. The result is that I'm not tempted when someone comes out with a brand new Big Boy or Challenger, or some other locomotive that neither of my prototypes ran.
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I am trying, with the museum display that I'm building, to give a sense of the railroad logging industry here in Montana. Obviously, even a large building such as our club has cannot include everything. No specific operation is being modeled but I try to keep things accurate as to equipment and facilities. We also have access to historical photo's and text to display along with the models.

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