In this brief post, I want to allude to a panel discussion held at the NMRA Convention, organized by Jack Burgess, which was conducted by Jack, Tony Koester, Kyle Wyatt of CSRM, Richard Hendrickson, and myself. The topic for the panel was how to do research on the prototype.
We covered such subjects as photo collecting, the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER), federal resources such as the ICC Valuation records, maps and aerial photos, railroad industry (trade) publications, railroad historical societies, original railroad documents and records, and more. Each of the panelists contributed a few Powerpoint slides to a combined presentation, which we all took turns using as we spoke in sequence. Tony Koester wrapped up our presentation by showing how he has used many of these same research approaches and techniques in creating and improving his own model railroad.
Some of what we presented is doubtless known to many, but I am confident that some of the insights and recommendations will be new to a lot of people. It is always difficult to summarize such information in an abbreviated text, which naturally served originally as a set of reminders for an oral presenter, but it’s what we have tried to do.
Jack turned our collective information into a handout-like document which is now available on line at the convention’s website, at: http://www.x2011west.org/handouts.html
You will need to scroll down the listing to find the one under Jack Burgess’s name. The one for our panel is a 6-page document summarizing the factual parts of what we presented. It includes an evidently complete list of railroad historical societies and their web addresses, compiled primarily by Richard Hendrickson.
It’s worth mentioning that a number of the “handouts” on that web page are actually the Powerpoint presentations themselves (in PDF form), so you can view what the convention attendees viewed (though of course without the presenter’s narration). For example, the clinic presentation by Rich Malone about building working frog-eye markers for SP cabooses (a post-1961 topic) is very interesting and complete. But many presentations include material such as photographs or items of artwork which have copyright restrictions and, though permissible to use in an oral presentation, cannot be “published” on the Internet unless permission is obtained.