Author Topic: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?  (Read 2178 times)

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Virginia Atlantic

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Obvious personal bias is obvious.  To get that out up front.

But does it say something about where N-Scale has come (and how it used to be) that a small-in-the-grand-scheme Commuter Railroad like VRE is so easy to model in N-Scale?

Think about it for a moment, and look what is available comercially at current:

MP36PH #V51
MP36PH #V52
MP36PH #V53
F40PH #V34
F40PH #V36
Gallery IV Bi-Levels:  #V403
Gallery IV Bi-Levels:  #V405
Gallery IV Bi-Levels:  #V415
Gallery IV Bi-Levels:  #V425
Gallery IV Bi-Levels:  #V428
Sumitomo Gallery Cab: #V710
Sumitomo Gallery Cab: #V712
Sumitomo Gallery Cab: #V716
Sumitomo Gallery Car: #V800
Sumitomo Gallery Car: #V807
Sumitomo Gallery Car: #V808
Sumitomo Gallery Car: #V812
Sumitomo Gallery Car: #V818
Sumitomo Gallery Car: #V819

Wheels of Time does the excellent Gallery IV Bi-Levels (my personal favorite), whilst Kato does the two locomotives and the Sumitomo Gallery Cabs and Cars.

And be surred, if Atlas wanted to do our old GP40 variants or Mufersa single-level cars, all they'd have to do is call. :D

But given how small VRE is, look at he breadt of available equipment. 

And I know VRE isn't unique, there is solid rosters of equipment available for many Commuter Roads today.

While I appreciate that we all probably have our "white whale" prototype we wish were made (or made by a different company), but I think it says alot about where N-Scale has come that I can ever create this thread with a strait face.

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up1950s

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2014, 04:31:17 PM »
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LIRR is my commuter road of proximity and used for 20 years 6 days a week or more . There have been some advancements in that road in N , but nothing near that will attract the RTR crowd . My feeling is that there is a large number of people that are or were commuters that would collect equipment or model scenes of what has become such a daily part of their life . It is a vein of railroading that isn't mined enough . BART , CTA , DC Metro , LIRR , MTA , and I bet there are many more . Single window coaches , ( how basic ) , I have heard the call for .These CRR's have a need for plastic people , houses , and cars parked in their driveways . CRR's is the biggest RR connection to the average Joe and Jane .     

Virginia Atlantic

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2014, 04:55:35 PM »
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Good points all up.

I'll add this, it's 100% impossible to model the modern era of any big U.S. city today without including Commuter Rail.

Small "cities" maybe, but none of the big boys.  They'll all got it (or soon will).

I'm sometimes suprised a place like Alexandria VA/AF Interlocking doesn't get modeled more often.

-Main CSX line including every type of frieght they run.
-NS trains serving the powr plant(s) and interchange with CSX.
-Amtrak through trains (Genesis Units)
-VRE service (dozens of trains a day)
-Spaghetti bowl of AF Interlocking
-Interesting local scenery, Histroic Alexandria Station and the City itself, towering Washington Memorial, DASH Bus depot/mainoffice, WMATA/Metrorail line runnig next to AF Interlocking, with a maint. facillity and more.

You couldn't ask for a more varied and interesting modern protoype to model, freight (from old dirty switchers to ultra-modern units), passenger in two flavors, light-rail, busses, it literally has everything you could want in transportation today outher than rickshaws!

Washinton Union Station is another example, it has everything above plus MARC rail as well!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 04:57:25 PM by Virginia Atlantic »
Modeling Passenger Rail in 1:1 Scale for 18 Years and Counting....

MVW

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2014, 05:16:41 PM »
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Keep in mind I'm a relatively recent convert to N scale (3-4 years ago), and I don't model the modern era. But earlier today I decided to jot down a few locos I want to pick up, locos that have either been recently released or are upcoming. I worked my way through the "what's new" tab at BLW, and at the end was surprised to find that my list included 14 locos. Not 14 different roadnames or numbers, but 14 different loco models.

Since I only consider buying locos that have been rated high-level performers by Spookshow, I think that does indeed say something about the state of N scale today.

Jim

jmlaboda

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2014, 10:21:08 PM »
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"I'll add this, it's 100% impossible to model the modern era of any big U.S. city today without including Commuter Rail."

I can think of two right off the top of my head that proves your statement untrue... Charlotte, N.C. and Atlanta, Ga...

As far as modeling VRE the gallery cars (they are not bi-levels nor are they multi-level) are, at best, only half of what VRE has had... the Mafersa cars and the Boise Budds from the MBTA are both not available and neither is quality models of the later Metra cars (the Concor gallery cars are ages old and years behind in detail).

packers#1

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 11:29:35 PM »
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Uh Jerry, Atlanta has a rail line for commuters; it's not the likes of VRE and runs on its own line, more in the form of Chicago's El, but it does exist, and runs from some of the surrounding suburbs to the heart of Atlanta; my first trip there we stayed on the outskirts and took the rail to the Art Museum. However, you are right, it isn't like Metra or VRE
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chicken45

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2014, 11:34:52 PM »
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We have this:


But not this:





Josh "John" Surkosky
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              The Pig 
The pig, if I am not mistaken;
Supplies us sausage, ham, and bacon.
Let others say his heart is big—
I call it stupid of the pig.

jmlaboda

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 01:06:43 AM »
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"However, you are right, it isn't like Metra or VRE..."

You know... if they did then maybe they wouldn't have to build so many 12 lane highways...  :lol: :P

Denver Road Doug

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2014, 01:21:08 AM »
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I was about to post a similar "state of n-scale" type topic.   I was finally getting around to reading the Nov-Dec NSR (which is outstanding, btw) and I typically don't pay a LOT of attention to the ads, but I decided to do a "cover-to-cover" read this time and the very back cover caught my attention.  On one side, Fox Valey Models NS Heritage Locos.  On the other side?  Kato NS Heritage Locos.

Who of sound mind would EVER have predicted TWO manufacturers going heads-up no-apologies directly against one another in n-scale?*   Yes, it has happened on some freight cars recently too, and even somewhat head to head with things like Atlas vs. LL/Walthers on the GP38-2's.   But at least those are multi-numbers, multi-schemes, etc.   Here we're talking specific, individual, unique locomotives...you buy one or the other.  (I suppose some might buy both, but let's not get carried away here)   Anyway, I guess I'm burying the lead...who allows the competition to buy an ad adjacent theirs?  Don't they have qualifiers in the fine print?  :trollface:  Heck, even bigger question...who sells that???..dude must be salesman of the decade.   :o

*not to get too way off topic, but another incredible thing is...anyone find that Virginian/Mopac lashup (and with BNSF leading and BN SD60M's trailing at one point in California http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=464967 ) pretty impossible to imagine 10 years ago?  I was thinking...man if a railfan/railroader had gone into a coma in 1970 and woke up today, he would either be like "what the hell" or maybe he/she would think that just nothing really changed too much?  Anyway, I know the story and the man behind making the lashup happen and it's pretty interesting stuff.

To the topic at hand, the Trinity Railway Express is pretty well covered, too.  A little work needed to get accurate RDC's and paint up a resin F59PH, but still pretty doable.  I was going down that path until recently, but I still think it would be a really cool model railroad with all the freight traffic and so forth.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 01:45:19 AM by Denver Road Doug »
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

sirenwerks

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2014, 07:27:35 AM »
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Allow me to play devil's advocate for a moment... And yet it is not so easy to model BEE's sister which operates just north of WUS - MARC.  No AEM-7s or HHP-8s or Kawasaki bilevels or Sumitomo single level coach or cab cars (Comet look-aliens, pretty much).  And MARC is due Bombardier cars that are not available as models, which were supposed to arrive last year and I haven't rode on yet to know they exist. The latter are used on other lines too, like NJT, AS ARE the locos. There will also be the new Siemen loci that I saw on display at WUS on Tuesday. I'm just saying, grass is greener and all that... (caveat - I don't model or want to model MARC, I just ride on it)
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

Virginia Atlantic

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2014, 09:37:19 AM »
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"I'll add this, it's 100% impossible to model the modern era of any big U.S. city today without including Commuter Rail."

I can think of two right off the top of my head that proves your statement untrue... Charlotte, N.C. and Atlanta, Ga.

Well, perhaps a little bit of enthusiastic hyperbole on my part, but my larger point stands.

It should also be pointed out that Atlanta/GA has been trying for ages to get a heavy-rail Commuter System up and running (one of VRE's early CEO's went off to try and get it startup'd), sadly not making much headway at current.  I believe, although I won't claim to be sure, that Charlotte has looked into it as well, although given the size of that city and surrounding demographics, their Lynx system may be enough for now.  Light-rail systems are still quite popular to City planners for various reasons.

Quote
As far as modeling VRE the gallery cars (they are not bi-levels nor are they multi-level)

I'm not sure what definition you're choosing to use, but they most certainly are Bi-Level cars.  Bi-Level meaning "has two levels of passenger accommodation, as opposed to one".  They are of the Gallery internal layout design, not a multi-floor/multi-level design like say, the Bombardier cars used by the likes of Sound Transit (which of course, we also ran for a while), which has three seperate levels/floors (upper, lower and the car end "mid" floors). 

Quote
at best, only half of what VRE has had... the Mafersa cars and the Boise Budds from the MBTA are both not available and neither is quality models of the later Metra cars (the Concor gallery cars are ages old and years behind in detail).

Indeed, personally I would doubt a limited-use prototype like the Mafersa single-level cars will never be made, honestly.  The Budds, who knows.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 10:03:33 AM by Virginia Atlantic »
Modeling Passenger Rail in 1:1 Scale for 18 Years and Counting....

Scottl

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2014, 10:44:24 AM »
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The OP is more evidence of why I think we are in the golden era of n scale.  Prices are still pretty good due to offshore production, and the range of specialty items is growing. 

jmlaboda

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2014, 11:48:07 PM »
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"Bi-Level meaning 'has two levels of passenger accommodation, as opposed to one'."

In the railroad industry bi-level means two floors not just raised walkways.  Multi-level cars are like the various incarnations of Bombardier and a few others that have end seating on one level while the center part of the car has two levels with full floors.  Gallery cars are called what they are because of the open area between the upper level of seats, which provides conductors with easier access in "pulling tickets" since they do not have to go up onto a second level to do so.  Amtrak Superliners, Colorado Ultradomes and California cars all have two complete floors... and these are what are referred to by the industry.

A little extra info on the Mafersa cars, sometimes referred to as the "sons of Budd".   Mafersa was the Brazilian builder who constructed Budd designs starting back in the 1950s, with the VRE (now CDOT) cars being an evolutionary step in what Budd set as groundwork.  The only reason more such cars were not manufactured has been because of internal struggles that the company went through around the time the cars were built.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 11:51:30 PM by jmlaboda »

MichaelT

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 09:17:46 AM »
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Uh Jerry, Atlanta has a rail line for commuters; it's not the likes of VRE and runs on its own line, more in the form of Chicago's El, but it does exist, and runs from some of the surrounding suburbs to the heart of Atlanta; my first trip there we stayed on the outskirts and took the rail to the Art Museum. However, you are right, it isn't like Metra or VRE

On a few weekend stops in Atlanta, we've taken advantage of MARTA (Atlanta's rail service) and have enjoyed it. You can park the car at the hotel, a station was just a few blocks walk, $9.00 for a day ticket, and along with getting you pretty much wherever you want to go in the Atlanta area, it passes a lot of rail traffic (switching, yards, etc)  in the Atlanta area.
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Virginia Atlantic

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Re: State of N-Scale: Does it Say Something that VRE is So Easy to Model?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2014, 09:56:36 AM »
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"Bi-Level meaning 'has two levels of passenger accommodation, as opposed to one'."

In the railroad industry bi-level means two floors not just raised walkways.  Multi-level cars are like the various incarnations of Bombardier and a few others that have end seating on one level while the center part of the car has two levels with full floors.  Gallery cars are called what they are because of the open area between the upper level of seats, which provides conductors with easier access in "pulling tickets" since they do not have to go up onto a second level to do so.  Amtrak Superliners, Colorado Ultradomes and California cars all have two complete floors... and these are what are referred to by the industry.

I should point out that I work in the Industry, specificly with these cars, and I'm in a position to know what we call these cars, what we (VRE) call them internally, and what we call them when reporting them to the FRA, and what the cars are called by the manufacturer themselves on the giant model of them in our office  :D, etc.  They are called, across the board, "Gallery Bi-Level Railcars".

Bi-level does not mean two floors, it means two levels of passenger seating.  A fully enclosed top floor is not a requirement.  For example, the Kawasaki Bi-Level cars we operated did have two fully enclosed floors, the Sumitomo Cars do not, yet both are called Bi-Levels.  Only the Bombardier Cars were called (internally) somethign else, Multi-Level.   One of the things working in the industry has taught me is that terminology is almost never as uniform or as clear-cut as many people think. 

Quote
A little extra info on the Mafersa cars, sometimes referred to as the "sons of Budd".   Mafersa was the Brazilian builder who constructed Budd designs starting back in the 1950s, with the VRE (now CDOT) cars being an evolutionary step in what Budd set as groundwork.  The only reason more such cars were not manufactured has been because of internal struggles that the company went through around the time the cars were built.

Well, I'd also add the changing needs of Commuter service, where single-level low-capacity cars could not keep up with ridership needs.  VRE was one of the last to buy such cars (new), as just about everyone had shifted, or were shifting, to the Bi-Level/Multi-Level designs for High-Capacity railcars.

Thats why we made the change, with our limited yard space in Union Station, the single levels couldn't handle our growth.  High-Cap Bi-Levels were required to meet demand (or at least get closer to meeting demand).  In our case, simply running more trains was, sadly, not possible for a number fo reasons I won't bore you with here.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 10:50:38 AM by Virginia Atlantic »
Modeling Passenger Rail in 1:1 Scale for 18 Years and Counting....