Rock Island Model Rosters

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by rockislandmike, Aug 28, 2002.

  1. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    There is nothing like accurate research - and in Athearn "SW7" case, that is nothing like accurate research !!!

    You are right about the true RI numbers, Mike.

    I still think we should count them as SW9s.

    - George
  2. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    Speaking of the loco roster, Mike, here are some numbers you can add if you want:

    E7B : 9 total owned by the RI
    2-8-2: 165 owned by the CRI&P
    4-8-4: 85 owned by the CRI&P

    I note you show 24 FA1/B1. You could list this as 16/8 (for FA1/B1 units respectively).

    - George
  3. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Done. Hey George, does anyone make (or made in the past I guess there's always eBay) a loco, preferably a road engine (I have re-thought my position btw, and you're right, I'm gonna skip the Stewart loco - the black scheme I could take or leave - and I've already got two powered switchers), in dark red / maroon ??? As one color, I mean, no others - I'm not sure what that paint scheme is called, but I think that's becoming my second favorite.

    I've already got an inbound GP35 I'm gonna paint that color/scheme, but a factory unit would be kewl too.
  4. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    Mike -

    Your color scheme Jeff calls Solid Maroon (with two different types: 5a and 5b) and is shown at this link:

    The two models that I am aware of are:

    1. The Atlas S1 switcher (But it is a faded "maroon" like one of the photos of that Alco unit. I would wish for a darker color, mysself!). It is a good runner, though. One of the older "Classic" series (non-DCC ready).


    2. The new Stewart U25B. (It has a rich maroon color, to my eye at least. Just the maroon and RI red shields on sides of the cab and nose (5A). Good runner, but I am less excited about some of the add-on parts - the handrails are tricky and the ladder is somewhat suspended. The LED is bright, but very yellow, and tends to illuminate the inside of the cab and the DB area (screened).

    I wish some one would do the 5B with the nose wings - check out the photo of the GP35!


    - George
  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Thanks, George - I've bookmarked that website so I don't have to bother you again on *those* topics. :D

    Actually, I've been to Jeff's website b4, just forgot about it.

    I like 5a, not 5b, btw. And I'm now considering the U25B for my mid-month order. I don't have any Stewarts yet, and would like another road engine besides my three Athearn units (power GP38-2, dummy GP38-2, power SD40-2; the latter of which has yet to arrive).

    BTW, I set up a "big blue consist" last night as I had a fellow model railroader come over (from this forum actually). The two blue GP38-2's and then five blue railcars (two boxcars, one tankcar, two gondolas), and a white caboose. One of the first thing he commented on was the snappy color scheme. :D :D
  6. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member



    Oh well, one is bound to show up on e-Bay SOMEDAY!

    OR maybe Athearn will make some more - been out of them at Walthers for ~ 6 months, at least. I've been looking for one that long! They aren't SUPPOSED to be a limited run...!!!


    Having got THAT off my chest, it sounds like you had a grand ROCK display, Mike!


    The Stewart is an ok model, despite the problems I noted in the last post. At least, that's all the problems MINE has.....

    (Note the subtle disclaimer in case you hate it ! ;) )

    You should enjoy it, though. I do.

    In fact, I have TWO ... but that was an ordering accident, not planned! One is still in the box (NIB, as they say). Trying to deside whether to build it or sell it....

    I think you made the right decision. The U25B was a lot more representative of the RI than the S8 (and both are Stewarts, so the quality should be the same).

    Ya don't like the nose wings version, huh ?

    Well, each to their own!


    - George
  7. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Just figured out my all-time Rock Island dream roster, based on a requirement of about 13 road engines, and 5 switchers, and prototype percentages from their all-time roster. I then added my current inventory (although I left out two units the ROCK never had that I will eventually junk or convert to other roadnames, an SD35 and U36B; and my Baldwin RF16 and EMD E8A's, which I just sold on eBay).

    13/5 will suffice for both my current layout, as well as the final layout (not much Rock trackage gets added in the final phase, mostly staging with access to Wichita KS).

    EMD GP40 - two
    EMD GP7 - three
    GE U25B - one (hello Stewart)
    GE U28B - one
    GE U33B - one
    Total to buy: eight

    ALCO RS3 - one
    EMD SW8 - one
    EMD SW900 - one
    Total to buy: three
  8. Wolv33

    Wolv33 Member

    Here's a dilemma for you guys...

    First, how do you determine how many motive power to have to actually represent the ROCK in scale form? I mean are 20 engines enough, 30? Please keep in mind that I have no need for switchers here, since most of my facilities are handled by BN. Though, as an after thought, I may get a couple blue ROCK switchers. I am mainly referring to road diesels.

    Second, and this one gets complicated, how do you determine what percentage of rolling stock to have for each railroad?

    My situation is complex. I have a humpyard that is massive! This thing can probably hold 300 cars easily. In addition to the classification bowl, there is a 4-track receiving yard, and a 6-track departure yard. I figure between the two additional yards, they can probably hold another 300 cars. Keep in mind Intermodal and autoracks do not get humped, nor do most unit trains.

    Now then, factor in two additional interchange yards that can probably hold 200 cars between the two, a storage yard that can probably hold an additional 100 or so, 100 or so cars at all the sidings on the layout, 25 cars at the power plant, 100 cars at the coal yards (receiving and departure yards), 15 or so cars at the Amtrak station, 10-12 autoracks on the auto siding, and 50+ cars at the Intermodal facility. Plus having one local freight, 2 class-1 freights, 2 unit trains, and 2 passenger trains, and 14 staging trains (below layout) in addition to the above mentioned.

    Now, I figure that to estimate to 1200 cars or a little more.

    I have 8 main roads (BN, RI, ATSF, BNSF, MOPAC, CB&Q, Amtrak, and MOW).... How much of that 1200 car total do I purchase for these 8 main roads, and what percentages would I purchase of cars types such as: boxcars, hoppers, Intermodal, Tankers, Caboose, flat cars, etc.

    Actually, now that I think about it, the 4 MOW trains have already been factored and have some of their cars already. Disregard those.

    I won't even get into the secondary roads (staging trains) and all the motive power for each of my 8 roads. Too many engine facilities, fuel pads, shops, etc. LOL!

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks guys.
  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    I'll ponder that, wolv. I do have some ratios that will probably be helpful that I garnered from CP Rail statistics.

    Just to make it even more confusing, don't forget about interchange traffic. A lot of railcars hauled by, say, a Rock Island consist, won't even be ROCK railcars, but could be UP, ATSF, KCS, L&N, MP, etc., etc.

    For example, King Meat on my layout, served by Santa Fe, is scheduled to receive an average of 6.5 stock cars a week: 30% Union Pacific, 28% Rock Island, 11% Burlington Northern, 11% Kansas City Terminal, 11% South Omaha Terminal, and 9% Missouri Pacific (that's based on the originating railroad).

    It gets even more complicated when your start talking about private name tank cars and covered hoppers. Which is when you need an OER to figure out whether the originating client had their own tankcars, etc.

  10. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    As for locomotives, what I've tried to determine is how many consists I can have on the layout without looking too busy or too sparse. The Rock Island loops, for example, could probably handle a total of four consists in the continuous loops. I multiply this by two (two locos per consist) and then add 50% (for variety and/or if I want three locos in some consists). That worked out to twelve, and when I did the calculations, thirteen just worked out better.
  11. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    GOOD news for George!!!!!

    Hi Good news for George! Do you want a white caboose for your RI collection. A BRAND NEW one!? Contact my local hobby shoppe.
    715-355-4100 (ask for Ted and tell him Andy sent you.)

    There is a couple of us in the area that models the Rock. He keeps us very well supplied of Rock Island items. hint hint to everone else! :D His inventory inclueds scales of N, HO, and O (Lionel) for the Rock Island.


    He says he has a couple left!

    Last note:
    Manufacturer is Athearn.
  12. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    Wolv -

    For my locomotive roster, I found out the numbers of the different RI locomotives in use in 1980. I then totaled the major locos. This gave me a percentage breakdown for the most common locomotives. For example, in 1980 the RI had 120 GP7s, which comprised ~23 % of the major fleet. Next, numbers-wise, came the GP38-2 (68 or ~ 13 %), then GP40s (56 or ~11 %), then SW8/900s (45 or ....etc.).

    Now, because I model in 1996, I "fudge" the numbers somewhat. What locos might be out of service? What locos might be added?
    Numberwise, the RI only had 10 SD40-2s along with 18 U30Cs for high HP 6-axle motive power. GE stopped making the U-boat in 1976, the SD40-2 was made until 1986. My regional owners decided to go with the SD40-2 and sell the 6-axle u-boats. On the other hand, I'm in the QCA region, so certain locos that "haunted" this area may be present despite low numbers of units nation-wide

    But the point is, my RIL should look "real" because of the correct probability of seeing a certain type of locomotive has been factored in (at least to the best of my ability to determine).

    Now to your real question - what exact numbers of these models!

    Well, Wolv, that is a function of YOUR specific layout, I think.

    Someone who has a major yard needs more switchers than someone who doesn't (like you). They need to decide HOW MANY TOTAL switchers they need for their operations (again a function of ones layout!). Once they do this, THEN they can use the percentages of loco types to decide WHICH switchers and HOW MANY OF EACH to have! For example, in 1980 the SW8/900 series and the NW2/SW9/1200 series was approximately equal, and out-numbered the other types (There were 10 SW1500s, or about 1/4th of each of the other types) So if someone only needed two switchers, they might get one of each. This assumes, of course, that a certain switcher type was not used your specific area/time (say S8 in 1960s Chicago). If you did model the Chicago area in the 60s, then you might want to take that fact (and switcher) into consideration.

    For road power, I determined the train consists needed for my supported industries, the motive power needed to pull such (see MR Sept issue p112 for a good article on consist MP needs), then once I had the amount of power needed for the train, figured out the number of specific locos I needed, based on their HP and % of use by the RI.

    The percents of GP40s and GP38-3s in use in 1980 are close (11 vs 13 %), so I have an equal number of each locomotive (well, one of each right now!). One of my trains needs ~ 4000 HP, so I have a MU consist of a GP40 and a GP38-2 to provide the MP needed for that train (total: 5000 HP).

    This is realistic as the ROCK rarely had the same type of locos paired in consists - my photos show a real hodgepodge of loco types weere used - including the above consist. One photo of 3 GP38-2s together was considered "unusual" by the photographer/author! So historical records and photographs are a big help when deciding what to run together.

    That train is going to Clinton in support of the industries there. There are ADM hoppers and tankers, a Clinton Corn products tanker, DuPont tankers and hoppers, etc.

    Some of these consists are simular to those real ones I've noted on the IMRL forum by RR spotters/railfans (although the train is cut down to a size that works for the size of my layout and/or budget).

    SO ... in a nutshell, see what types and numbers of locos were used in your time era and location. See what real consists trains support your area industries (or if your industries are not "real", what is used for simular "real" industries). Cut the rolling stock down to layout size (don't want the caboose to be just in front of the loco -looks a bit funny that way.....), but that will depend on your layout size. Calculate the MP needed to pull the train and then determine the loco types you want to use to provide the MP, incorporating your percentage of loco types employed.

    Or ... you can forget all this and just make up a train that looks good to you! The nice thing about the hobby is that you can do exactly what YOU want on your layout! I like doing the above, but it might not work for everyone.

    Let us know how YOUR layout will be configured!

    - George
  13. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    Re: GOOD news for George!!!!!

    Thanks, Andy - will try to call him tomorrow !!!

    - George
  14. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Speaking of which, I just computed my caboose requirements - owch.

    Here's the info I promised you, wolv. It's from CP Rail's inventory of 1980 rolling stock. Things obviously change over time, to be sure, and this of course is *ONLY* CP Rail's inventory - would not include private name tank cars or covered hopper, which are very very common. But it may help nonetheless.

    Autoracks 0.9%
    Flat Cars 10.7%
    Gondolas 11.5%
    Hoppers 3.7%
    Covered Hoppers 2.8%
    Cylindrical Covered Hoppers 2.0%
    Reefers 0.8%
    Stock Cars 3.0%
    Tank Cars 0.1% (only owned 159 of 'em, out of a total of 160,940 cars)
    Boxcars 64.3% (WOW)
  15. Wolv33

    Wolv33 Member


    Now I am MORE confused than ever. LOL!

    Okay, you guys have seen my track design, and you probably know that the actual size of it is 75' x 25'. With this information, you know I will have A LOT of real estate to cover.

    I have determined that the layout will be able to handle 25-car trains (my scale to 50-100 car trains). Had my scale been Nscale, I think I would have been able to manage the 50-100 car trains. Twenty-five car trains should not put the caboose in front of the engine, at least not in a layout that is 75 feet long.

    The hump yard is curved, but stretched out (straightened) it would exceed 40 feet in length. We used the space to our advantage when designing the hump yard. In fact, when one takes a look at it, you should be able to tell that it was designed FIRST and the rest of the layout around it. So, that is what I meant by being 'massive'.

    The hump yard is handled by BN switchers and road switchers, and I have plenty of those. No danger in NOT having enough of those. The interchange yards are also handled by BN, and so is the storage yard. The Intermodal facility is also handled by BN. Amtrak handles its own yard, and I have a couple road switchers for them in the Amtrak scheme.

    The branch-line engine facilities are handled by ROCK units, and that was where I was going to need the two switchers at. However, ROCK, BN, ATSF, MOPAC and others all get their diesels serviced at the BN Diamond Yard shops. This facility is so massive, I have 5 buildings plus a paintshop to handle it all. In addition to the shops, there is a turntable with engine storage behind the shop area. There are also separate MOW facilities near the shops. The fuel pad for Diamond Yard is 4 tracks wide, and can handle nearly 40 locomotives at one time.

    Anyhow, I was just interested in determining the main roads' rolling stock first, then worrying about the secondary roads (staging trains) and private shippers, lease cars, and any rolling stock that could have been bought, traded or inherited from other railroads.

    I rank my roads by the following:


    What I was trying to determine, was the percentage FIRST of total rolling stock, and then the percentage of types of rolling stock NEXT for each road.


    BN-50% of all rolling stock

    that amount breaks down further to add up to 100% of that 50%

    the 100% breaks down to:

    -35% boxcars/reefers
    -30% hoppers/gondolas
    -20% flat cars
    -10% intermodal cars
    -5% tank cars

    These are not actual numbers, just using them as an example.


    I will worry about building consists after I have the motive power and rolling stock figured out. It would seem to me that would be a part of operations. Building a consist would be handled in the yard, depending on what cars and types of cars that particular train is handling at that time.

    However, determining what types of motive power to get, based on HP, that is a different story. If one engine had more pull than the other, obviously you would want to get a few more of that model than the other. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. For now I am just trying to get numbers for each road in what to buy and what types to buy. Thanks for the help though. I do appreciate it.

    Also, I have determined that to look somewhat realistic, these 25 car trains, with the exception of the coal unit trains, are going to need 3-4 motive power consists. Amtrak will have a two-engine consist for both passenger trains, and a 2-3 engine consist for its freight and autotrain. Coal unit trains should have a consist of 3-4 units with a helper on the end. Other unit trains not carrying bulk weight items such as coal, follow the 3-4 motive power consists. MOW trains will have ONE engine for each train. Intermodal will have 2-3 engine consists and ALL end with EOT or FRED devices. I will have mixed FRED/Caboose trains on the class-1 freights and unit trains, with the exception of coal unit trains. MOW trains will have a caboose, and Amtrak an EOT device.

    I thought someone mentioned before on how to figure out what percentages of what rolling stock a multi-road layout would get, and also what percentages of rolling stock types each road would get.

    Anyhow, I am still stuck guys. Thanks so much.
  16. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    For the system you're proposing, wolv, I don't think there's gonna be any kind of magic formulae for determining rolling stock by railroad. It's gonna have to be up to you.

    The easiest (and my recommended) methodology may be to just start with the #6 freight road (good ol' MP), and give them a base ratio of 1. Add 25% (or some other value you decide on) to get #5's rolling stock, and so on and so forth. After that, you can determine percentages based on their share of the total values.

    For example, using my 25% ratio as an example.

    MP (1.00) - 8.9%
    CB&Q (1.25) - 11.1%
    BNSF (1.56) - 13.9%
    ATSF (1.95) - 17.3%
    RI (2.44) - 21.7%
    BN (3.05) - 27.1%

    You can plop this into a spreadsheet and fiddle with it until you get ratios you like.....................

    Hell, better yet, I created the spreadsheet already, I'll email it to you.

    BTW, to get 50% BN in my system, you need to use 97% as the incremental value.
  17. Wolv33

    Wolv33 Member


    Your system sounds pretty sound to me. However, if I was to do it that way, not ONLY would I have to include the 8 main roads, but I would also have to include all the staging roads, private shippers, any lease rolling stock, and other rolling stock that any of the 8 roads have inherited or purchased from liquidated roads.

    Of course, any liquidated stock I would have hoped to run it through the paintshop first before putting it on the road, but there are those oddball cars that are just labeled and not repainted.

    So, instead of 8 roads, we are now talking quite a bit!

    Umm, go ahead and send me the spreadsheet. Wait. What program was it created in? I cannot use Excel 2000 because I cannot find my stupid confirmation code from Microsoft when I had it installed the last time. I totally forgot about the program shutting down after 50 times. I was just glad I got all of my databases converted to Office 97 format before the program asked me to enter my confirmation code in again. Whew!

    If you could convert the spreadsheet over to Excel 97 format, that would be great.

    I included the autoracks as part of my intermodal car listing, but now I have to go back and redo it for private shippers, leased stock, and liquidated stock that may have old paint schemes but new labels and road numbers. LOL!

    Your opinon...Should I include these other numbers (exception being the liquidated stock) in the overall percentages (leased and private shippers), or include them with each road's individual percentages?

    Finally, how would I convert the percentages to actual numbers, after the percentages are figured out? Hey, I am a computer tech, not a math whiz. LOL! :) :)
  18. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    I'd figure out the major railroads first (i.e., the six you listed), and then use those as bases for private and staging railcars.

    The #'s should be based on the # of cars you hope to have for your railroad. Of course, in your case, that's perhaps into the thousands, certainly well into the hundreds. I'd start off with a number like 300 perhaps, and then work from there. Heck, wait until tomorrow, and then I'll create a massive spreadsheet that does all of that for you. Won't take but a few minutes.
  19. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    I guess I look at it in a reverse way than you guys. My rolling stock choice (and numbers there of) depend on what I need to carry to the industries I support. So I have looked at real consists going to local area industry to see the types and numbers of cars that are used. Then I scale this back (I can't have 64 coal cars in a train as the IMRL did a few months ago, so what number of coal cars IS possible with my size of layout? This is a matter of "looks" more than anything else. Then I add up the max weight of the rolling stock (on the car - adding in the cars weight, too!). Then I add up the HP needed to move this train, then decide how many locos I need to pull it. The types of locos used are based on their HP (which does vary - a GP7 has 1500 HP, a SD40-2 3000 HP). For the needed HP I look at real ROCK consists that were used. And the percentage of loco types owned.

    My number of trains are a function of goods destination.

    For the Rock Island:

    Clinton, IA industry: (ADM, Clinton Corn, DuPont plastics)

    QCA: ALCOA, Case, John Deere, etc.

    Muscatine: Grain Processing Corp, Monsanto Chemical, IPSCO steel, etc.

    QC Rocket

    For BN/SF: coal shipments to the Bettendorf power plant

    For UP: intermodal traffic down the Clinton - QCA track to points south

    AMTRAK: Zephyr

    So I plan on 7 different trains total on the layout when finished, max.

    For 1996 MP, my RIL will have the following:

    GP7, GP9, GP18, GP38-2, GP40, U25B (mimics early U28B which is not made!), U33B, SD40-2, SW8/900, SW9/1200, SW1500, and a rebuilt and repainted E8A on the Rocket.

    Any other loco I get (like the RS-3) is for my RI historical collection.

    Oh yes, the 2-8-2 usually sits in a park in the small southern Iowa town on the layout.

    Well, that's my cut - and MORE than enough said!

    - George
  20. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Actually, George, I've done it more like you have as well. I have set industries on my layouts, and I have to figure out where their inputs come from, and where their products go (I used the industry database from Ry-Ops to do this).

    I then figured out "weekly demand", based on gut feel in most cases, in some cases advanced research. In all cases, I set the max weekly demand at "four" for every "space" on the industry's spur (for example, if there is room for two railcars, the industry's max capacity is eight for all inputs/outputs).

    I'm still in the process of figuring out railcars (types and roadnames) based on this information. Once I figure that out, I'll determine engine requirements for each train. For the train lengths I'm using, I'll probably just stick with two engines per consist. In extraordinary cases (or I just like the looks or I'm taking photos), I may pop this up to 3-4.

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