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    • December 10, 2015 7:34 AM EST
    • Does anyone know of a data base program to keep track of my own trains? One that pictures of items can be downloaded into.




    • November 13, 2015 11:27 AM EST
    • I learned some things from the book that I did not know. Doubt I'll apply any to my cars, but we'll see.

    • July 28, 2015 11:44 AM EDT
    • We are Amazon Prime members, sure pays off. We live in a town with no stores but Walmart. Order lots of stuff from Amazon. First place we check when we want something. We even buy books sometimes-well Kindle ones mostly.

    • July 26, 2015 5:49 PM EDT
    • Thanks Jay. Like Alan I ordered a new copy of the book on Amazon with free shipping for 17.97. It's nice to be a prime member.  It will be here this coming Tuesday.


    • July 25, 2015 5:17 PM EDT
    • Thank you Jay for drawing my attention to this book.  I have, most likely, seen it mentioned on Kalmbach's website but glossed over it.

      I did a search, to find out about the book and any reviews.  To my pleasure I noted it was available through Amazon from a UK dealer.  It is now ordered!

      With the lack of Aristo cars - which is what most of my fleet is - plus the $/£ exchange rate being quite poor at present, means that this book might spur me into building some car types which I do not have.  Whatever, it seems like a good read.

    • July 25, 2015 3:58 PM EDT
    • Freight Cars of the '40s and '50s is a book Model Railroader put out by Jeff Wilson. I hesitated about buying this book but I'm glad I did. If you're a detailed modeler and want to accurately model your freight car fleet, this book is awesome. This book lays out beautifully how to model your transition-ear freight car fleet. 

    • May 14, 2015 10:14 AM EDT
    • OK I am not sure what the protocol is on this site for sharing information found on MyLargeScale. But over there Dwight Ennis has just updated the Masters Class archives. For scratch builders there is a plethora of free information for scratch building projects. I have used portions of a couple of them for making my 2-6-0. I recommend people take a look at it if they want to scratch build. Even if you don't build the exact models there is great info. David Fletcher did great write up on stuff like plumbing and braking systems in his builds. Just FYI and I hope I didn't step on toes at either site for directing people there.


    • April 29, 2015 12:45 PM EDT
    • Also on Facebook is "Freight Car Photos," and "The Magic of Freight Car Modeling and Weathering."  All are closed groups, you have to ask to join.

    • April 29, 2015 11:31 AM EDT
    • Burl & others,

      Another source of information for prototypes is the Yahoo group "Modern Freight Car List" for post steam era, and a " Steam Era Frieght Car List" for cars during the steam area. Lots of prototype information in all the various threads.

    • April 28, 2015 9:21 PM EDT
    • For anyone who is into modern freight cars, and is also on Facebook, I came across a group a while back called "Freight Car Enthusiast" that has been a big help with prototype research.  I don't think they limit themselves to a certain era, but most of the photos posted are cars built from the 70's and up.  Just wanted to pass it along.

    • January 24, 2015 3:34 PM EST
    • I would think you would want to try and build good switches. The ones that don't quite come out right would be placed on seldom used sidings, where slow orders would not be such a big deal.


      The first one I built in large scale went on the mainline, and worked quite well, until the frog started chipping away. I had used Bondo for the frog on the first iteration of the switch. I rebuilt it with JB Quick, and new ceder ties after it had been in service for several years. The JB quick didn't chip like the Bondo did, but I needed a slightly larger switch so that my Pacific and streamline passenger cars would be happy. So last year I removed my switch, still serviceable, from service.


      My point is, your first switch can be useable, as long as you pay attention and keep the gauge accurate at all points along the switch.

    • January 24, 2015 1:21 PM EST
    • Hans-Joerg Mueller said:



      Do you think that should be modeled? Perhaps on a siding that gets a lot of use, position the MoW guys who are a bit behind schedule.     With a sound module (Conversation between RTC and MoW foreman)

      Oh boy, now it's starting to sound like too much work, and not enough fun. With enough slow orders for frogs being rebuilt, you might 'die' before getting to the end of the garden... ;) Those 10mph slow orders for frogs add up quick.

    • January 23, 2015 10:23 PM EST
    • Craig Townsend said:



      Oh but on the real railroads, that point is continually worn down, and rewelded... ;)



      Do you think that should be modeled? Perhaps on a siding that gets a lot of use, position the MoW guys who are a bit behind schedule.     With a sound module (Conversation between RTC and MoW foreman)

    • January 23, 2015 9:50 PM EST
    • Well if we want to get really technical, real railroads use "theoretical" 1/2 point frogs. In other words they take the theoretical point of the frog, and and move a specific amount (I think it's 1/2" or it could be 1/2 the difference between the theoretical point and the actual point? I'm not exactly sure, but that's how the MOW people have described them.) to make a blunt ended frog. The frog is classified as a #22 (or what ever) but it's actually a #21.XXXXX number frog. I'm sure someone smart could figure out the formula for figuring out the difference between the theoretical point of the frog and the actual point of the frog.


      Oh but on the real railroads, that point is continually worn down, and rewelded... ;)

    • January 23, 2015 1:29 PM EST
    • Where is the asprin???

    • January 23, 2015 9:17 AM EST
    • Thanks for the post Bob!  I just learned something.  I do see what the difference is.  I'll post back a revised visual in a minute.

    • January 23, 2015 9:07 AM EST
    • I agree ... it is simpler.  Problem is ... it's not quite correct.  It is, however, a close approximation; probably as close as any of us need in order to build a working turnout.  I have nothing against shortcuts and approximations; I use them all the time.  But I think it is important to understand the differences between shortcuts that work in the real-world and the true science behind them that makes them possible.

    • January 23, 2015 8:59 AM EST
    • Randy Lehrian Jr. said:

      Maybe this will hep:

      It all just about the angle that the frog makes.  A ratio between rise and run.  8 units long and one high is a #8 .   The large the number the more gentle/gradual the switch.  Which equates to running longer equipment.

       This seams simpler.

    • January 23, 2015 8:45 AM EST

           1. How does one calculate the frog number using measurements at the track?

           2. Given the angle of divergence at the frog: how does one calculate the frog number?

           3. Given the frog number: how does one calculate the angle of divergence?

           4. Summary


      1. Calculate the frog number ("N")
      Visualize a line of symmetry through the center of the frog with the rails diverging on either side of that line.  Pick a point x units down the line from the point of the frog and measure, perpendicular to the center line, left or right to the rail; call that measurement y units. The SPREAD is 2y; and N = x/2y.  Those of you who don't have the time to wade through the following detail sections can skip to the Summary.

      2. Given the angle of divergence at the frog, calculate the frog number
      Call the frog angle "alpha". The cotangent of alpha/2 is x/y (the adjacent side of the right triangle divided by the opposite side), and x/y = 2N:
      cotan (alpha/2) = x/y = 2N
      N = cotan (alpha/2) / 2.
      Or using tangent = 1/cotangent:
      tan (alpha/2) = y/x = 1/cotan (alpha/2)
      N = cotan (alpha/2) / 2
      N = (1 / tan (alpha/2)) / 2
      N = 1/(2 tan (alpha/2))
      (In case you don't have cotangent on your hand calculator, it is the inverse of the tangent--1/tan; tan is opposite over adjacent; cotan is adjacent over opposite. The cotan of alpha is also tan (90-alpha). If you have an ancient and honorable analog computer called a "slide rule", you probably have a cotangent "table" on it.)

      Wait! There's more! Actually, it turns out that the inverse of the sine of alpha
      1/sin (alpha)
      is very close to the frog number!
      N = 1/sin(alpha)

      3. Given the frog number, calculate the angle of divergence
      From 1) above, N = x/2y so y/x = 1/2N.
      The tangent of alpha/2 is also y/x. So

      tan (alpha/2) = y/x = 1/2N,
      alpha/2 = arctan (1/2N),
      alpha = 2 arctan (1/2N).
      As a check, solve 2) above for alpha:
      N = 1/(2 tan (alpha/2)),
      tan (alpha/2) = 1/2N,
      alpha/2 = arctan (1/2N),
      alpha = 2 arctan (1/2N).
      Alternatively, for a close approximation, solve from 2) above:
      N = 1/sin (alpha)
      for alpha, getting:
      alpha = arcsin (1/N)


      4. Summary
      N = x/2y
      N = 1/(2 tan (alpha/2))
      alpha = 2 arctan (1/2N).
      Close Enough:
      N = 1/sin (alpha)
      alpha = arcsin (1/N)

    • January 18, 2015 8:35 PM EST
    • Bob- I thought this such an interesting photo, I posted it on Facebook, (citing you, LSC and the original indicated source) Thanks...