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Question for British members: What is your favorite American Railroad?


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They can be either railroads still in existence (Union Pacific, CSX, etc), or Fallen Flags (Santa Fe, Pennsylvania Railroad, etc).

 

Part of it is admittedly for research for some ideas I've had regarding Imaginary Locomotives.

Edited by Murican
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The electric division of the Milwaukee Road (it was a toss-up between that and the Anaconda: I love those primitive heavyweight electrics).

 

If you had allowed interurbans I might have chosen the Bamberger in the early 1950s. 
 

Paul

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7 hours ago, Murican said:

They can be either railroads still in existence (Union Pacific, CSX, etc), or Fallen Flags (Santa Fe, Pennsylvania Railroad, etc).

 

Part of it is admittedly for research for some ideas I've had regarding Imaginary Locomotives.


An additional thought if I may: if the question behind the question is about imaginary locomotives, there’s a long and quite distinguished history in American Model Railroading of freelancing - as someone who grew up in the pages of Model Railroader magazine, many of my favourite all time model railroads never existed in reality.

 

Some of course were heavily based on prototype railroads - achieving plausibility through use of familiar locomotive classes and types, but there were also those which captured ‘what might have been’ in very convincing ways too.

 

To avoid thread drift, I’m not going to start listing them here (unless it would be helpful) but it’s maybe another aspect to consider?  Just a thought, Keith.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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My knowledge of US railroads is almost exclusively through models.

 

I think that the Rock Island gets my vote for sheer grot, loads of atmosphere. Until doing a bit more research, I assumed that this almost Col Stephens' ambience must be the result of it being quite a small railway. But it was not.

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55 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

I don’t actually know that much about US lines, but I think my favourite would have to be this: 

 

 

It's a shame it is more or less in the "Back of beyond" to get to. Have been there twice over the past 20 years and it's well worth seeking out. They tend to operate earlyish in the mornings - 08.00 start, from memory - but the amount of work they do depends totally on the traffic. Even if they are not running, their loco fleet can be found at various points ready for work. They don't return to the depot.

 

11-1664

 

11-1659

 

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Southern Pacific and Frisco .I  also like the Colorado narrow gauge  and loggers so a fairly eclectic mix .My layout is SP based but I may have  to sneak in some dual gauge to test out my Hon3 stock.

Edited by friscopete
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10 minutes ago, Johann Marsbar said:

 

It's a shame it is more or less in the "Back of beyond" to get to. Have been there twice over the past 20 years and it's well worth seeking out. They tend to operate earlyish in the mornings - 08.00 start, from memory - but the amount of work they do depends totally on the traffic. Even if they are not running, their loco fleet can be found at various points ready for work. They don't return to the depot.

 

11-1664

 

11-1659

 

 

I’ve never been there, but from looking at street view it looks as though stock is placed at various points along it. Is all of the surviving track still in use now? There seems to be some sort of trolley museum at one end as well, I’m not sure if this is connected. Do they own any of their own stock (apart from the locos) or is it all just interchanged from the lines they connect with?

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For me it would have to be the West Side Lumber Company Railroad. It was photographs of Shays and Heislers in my Dad's copy of "Last of the 3 Foot Loggers" as a child that got me hooked on American railroads. D&RGS / D&RGW would come a pretty close second.

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The Milwaukee Road for me too ! Many years ago I bought Richard Steinheimer's wonderful book 'The Electric Way across the Mountains' and have been fascinated by it ever since. The Pennsy also, partly for its electrics but also because its dieselisation policy seemed to have parallels with the way BR went about it. 

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14 minutes ago, 009 micro modeller said:

 

I’ve never been there, but from looking at street view it looks as though stock is placed at various points along it. Is all of the surviving track still in use now? There seems to be some sort of trolley museum at one end as well, I’m not sure if this is connected. Do they own any of their own stock (apart from the locos) or is it all just interchanged from the lines they connect with?

The stock is all in/out interchanged and owned by other railroads as far as I know, apart from some MoW stock which includes a snowplough. Their base is at Emery, which is about half way along the line between Mason City and Clear Lake. Traffic generally only runs between there and Mason City - there is a scrapyard adjacent to their depot . I've never seen anything use the line from there to Clear Lake, though it was still useable as far as I know. The "Trolley Museum" at Clear Lake is defunct, as they had a fall-out with the owners of IT at some stage, though there are allegedly still some items stored there.

 

IT do have an ex North Shore Interurban themselves which has done charters over the whole line, as seen at their depot in 2003.....

 

3-425.JPG.a5e1d807dda62fb6553a4977fb4c1dea.JPG

 

From memory, there was a propane (??) distribution site that had established itself around 2010 fairly close to their depot when I was last there in 2011. They had put new poles/bracket arms up, but the on-site wiring wasn't connected at that stage.

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57 minutes ago, Johann Marsbar said:

 

It's a shame it is more or less in the "Back of beyond" to get to. Have been there twice over the past 20 years and it's well worth seeking out. They tend to operate earlyish in the mornings - 08.00 start, from memory - but the amount of work they do depends totally on the traffic. Even if they are not running, their loco fleet can be found at various points ready for work. They don't return to the depot.

 

11-1664

 

11-1659

 

Yes, a fantastic operation and very railfan friendly.  I shall be covering it extensively in my Shortline Album shortly.

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I model modern BNSF with H2 and H3 units I’ve also got 2 Montana Rail Link locos and the announced Genesis SD70ace is on order too , I really like all the UP heritage units and some of the NS, (just need a bigger bank balance and 16 months on and off furlough doesn’t help!) my only NS is the GoRail SD60 only got that as at $125 couldn’t  refuse , 

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2 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

My knowledge of US railroads is almost exclusively through models.

 

I think that the Rock Island gets my vote for sheer grot, loads of atmosphere. Until doing a bit more research, I assumed that this almost Col Stephens' ambience must be the result of it being quite a small railway. But it 

1 hour ago, friscopete said:

Southern Pacific and Frisco .I  also like the Colorado narrow gauge  and loggers so a fairly eclectic mix .My layout is SP based but I may have  to sneak in some dual gauge to test out my Hon3 stock.

 

The Frisco is a very interesting railroad.  For British modellers, it's unusual as one of the very few US roads with a significant number of named locomotives. They were good names, too. Like the LNER, the Frisco used the names of famous horses (mostly, but not all, racehorses) on its passenger fleet of E-units: Steel Dust, Winchester, Twenty  Grand and Gallant Fox, among others; not forgetting my personal favourite, Count Fleet.

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3 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


An additional thought if I may: if the question behind the question is about imaginary locomotives, there’s a long and quite distinguished history in American Model Railroading of freelancing - as someone who grew up in the pages of Model Railroader magazine, many of my favourite all time model railroads never existed in reality.

 

Some of course were heavily based on prototype railroads - achieving plausibility through use of familiar locomotive classes and types, but there were also those which captured ‘what might have been’ in very convincing ways too.

 

To avoid thread drift, I’m not going to start listing them here (unless it would be helpful) but it’s maybe another aspect to consider?  Just a thought, Keith.

If I read the intent of the OP correctly, he's thinking not so much in terms of freelance railroads, but freelance/imaginary locomotives, not based on any actual prototypes.

This is possibly easier with steam outline - steam locos were so specific to their owning roads that they could be quite unique even if built by an outside manufacturer like Alco or Baldwin, to the extent that some model steam locos are openly acknowledged to be 'generic' types, not detail-specific to any road. But really, for both steam and diesels, there is/was such variety out there in reality that there seems to me to be little need for totally imaginary locos to be invented for modelling purposes?

 

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