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Reference Material

 

 

Toy Train Publications

Prototype Reference Material (Books)

Railroad Historical Societies

Model Railroad Gauges

Additional Model Train Links

Additional Prototype Railroad Links

TTOS Collection Standards

Gauge vs. Scale

 

 

 

Toy Train Hobby Publications

 

Interested in collecting trains? Here are some books to get you started. To collect model trains, there are a few things to know: the gauge and the era of train you would like to concentrate on. Model train production eras are as follows:

Pre-war: 1901-1942

Post-war: 1945-1969

Modern: 1970-Present

 

No train collection is complete without the Greenberg's Guides. If you are new to the hobby, start with these books first.

Greenberg's Guide to Lionel Trains  1970-1991     

    Volume I Motive Power and Rolling Stock

    Volume II Sets

Greenberg's Guide to Lionel Trains  1945-1969    

    Volume I Motive Power and Rolling Stock

    Volume II Behind the Scenes

    Volume III Sets

Others:

Greenberg's Wiring Your Lionel Layout (Several Volumes)   Peter Riddle

How to Operate Your Model Railroad        Bruce Chubb

The ABC's of Model Railroading        Model Railroad Magazine

Scenery for Model Railroads           Model Railroad Magazine

How to Build Model Railroad Benchwork        Linn Westcott

Greenberg's Layout Plans for Lionel Trains        Cliff Lang

Greenberg's Pocket Price Guides (for MTH, Lionel, and other manufacturers)

Visit Kalmbach Books for many additional books on model railroad collecting and operating.

Prototype References

 

Books

Title

Author

Orphan Road, The Railroad Comes to Seattle Kurt Armbuster
To the Columbia Gateway, the Oregon Railway and the Northern Pacific. 1879-1884 Peter Lewty
Railroad Signatures Across the Pacific Northwest Carlos Schwantes
Great Northern Lines West Charles Wood
Northwest Rail Pictorial (Vol. 1-3) Warren Wing
Trans Canada Rail Guide Melissa Graham
Northwest Disaster Ruby El Hult
Stevens Pass JoAnn Roe
The Great Adventure Martin Burwash
Washington's Rail Trails Fred Wert
Snoqualmie Pass: From Indian Trail to Interstate Yvonne Prater
Spokane Portland & Seattle Railway: Cabooses-a History Paul Tobbs
Burlington Northern Diesel Locomotives Paul Schneider
BNSF Railway Annuals (varying years) , Motive Power Reviews, and Railfan Guides Robert Del Grosso
A Hoghead's Random Railroad George Leu
Union Pacific Volumes I & II Maury Klein
Union Pacific Locomotive Directory (various years) Don Strack
The Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History (Vol.  III Oregon & Washington) Donald Robertson
Union Pacific Book Listing N/A
Northwest Passage Rob Leachman
Railroad Maps of North America Library of Congress
The Great Railroads of North America Bill Yeend
The American Railroad and Passenger Car (various volumes) John White
James Hill and the Opening of the Northwest Albro Martin
Santa Fe the Railroad Gateway to the American West Donald Duke
SP&S Color Pictorial (various volumes) N/A
Great Northern Color Pictorial (various volumes) N/A
Northern Pacific Color Pictorial (various volumes) N/A
Across the Columbia Plain Peter Lewty
THE STORY OF THE SANTA FE Glenn Danford Bradley
SANTA FE: THE RAILROAD THAT BUILT AN EMPIRE James Marshall
STEEL TRAILS TO SANTA FE L. L. Waters
HISTORY OF THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA & SANTA FE RAILWAY Keith L. Bryant, Jr.
THE LOCOMOTIVES OF THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA & SANTA FE RAILWAY SYSTEM Sylvan R. Wood
IRON HORSES OF THE SANTA FE TRAIL E. D. Worley
ARID DOMAIN: THE SANTA FE RAILWAY AND ITS WESTERN LAND GRANTS William S. Greever
BURLINGTON NORTHERN AND ITS HERITAGE Steve Glischinski
THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY Charles and Dorothy Wood
THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY: A HISTORY Ralph W. Hidy
THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD AND THE SELLING OF THE WEST Sig Mickelson
NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY; SUPERSTEAM ERA (Various Years) Robert L. Frey
THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY OF MCGEE AND NIXON  Lorenz P. Schrenk
DINING CAR LINE TO THE PACIFIC: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY'S "FAMOUSLY GOOD" FOOD William A. McKenzie
THE LIFE OF JAMES J. HILL Joseph Gilpin Pyle
EVERYWHERE WEST: THE BURLINGTON ROUTE Patrick C. Dorin
BURLINGTON ROUTE: A HISTORY OF THE BURLINGTON LINES Richard C. Overton
GULF TO THE ROCKIES: THE HERITAGE OF THE FW&D AND C&S Richard C. Overton

 

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Railroad Historical Societies

ATCHISON, TOPEKA AND SANTA FE RAILWAY (AT&SF)

KANSAS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 6425 SW 6th Street Topeka, Kansas 66615 (785) 272-8681 Connie Menninger, documents Darrell Garwood, photographs Santa Fe donated thousands of photographs and hundreds of thousands of documents to this organization, including maps, station diagrams, printed materials and a collection of bound issues of Santa Fe Magazine.

CALIFORNIA STATE RAILROAD MUSEUM LIBRARY Big Four Building 111 "I" Street Sacramento, California 95814 (916)323-8073 Ellen Halteman, librarian Santa Fe donated a boxcar filled with rolling stock (passenger and freight car) diagrams and related materials to the library, along with other assorted documents and materials. The library has Santa Fe employee timetables covering California operations from the turn of the century forward on microfilm. There is also a substantial volume of other Santa Fe material the library has acquired.

SANTA FE RAILWAY HISTORICAL AND MODELING SOCIETY, INC. 9847 Spring Hill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 This organization produces a quarterly magazine about Santa Fe Railway subjects. Much of the organization's substantial library was donated by Santa Fe Railway. The Society also publishes books on Santa Fe Railway subjects and holds an annual convention. Many of its members are historians who have published books on various Santa Fe Railway subjects.

BURLINGTON NORTHERN RAILROAD (BN)

MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY 345 Kellogg Boulevard West St. Paul, Minnesota 55102-1906 (612)296-6126 Dennis E. Meissner, manuscripts supervisor Collection of Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railway records, photographs, maps, diagrams and drawings. The collection also includes records from GN and NP affiliates such as steamship lines, hotels and land companies. The bulk of this material was donated following the 1970 merger that created Burlington Northern from GN, NP, SP&S and CB&Q.

JAMES J. HILL REFERENCE LIBRARY Fourth and Market Street St. Paul, Minnesota 55101 (612)227-9531 Collection of personal and business related material from James J. Hill. the legendary "Empire Builder." This collection contains letters, documents and photographs relating to the Great Northern Railway, and Hill's interest and involvement in the development of the Pacific Northwest.

MONTANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY 225 North Roberts Street Helena, Montana 59620 (406)444-2694 The Montana Historical Society has a large collection of material on the state's railroads. The material includes operating records of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railroads and their hotels and riverboat companies. The society also has the photographic work of F. J. Haynes, who was the NP's official photographer. A catalog of available books is provided by the museum store by calling (800)243-9900.

MUSEUM OF THE ROCKIES Montana State University Bozeman, Montana 59717-0040 (406)994-2251 Steven B. Jackson, curator of art and photographs The museum contains a collection of photographs by Ron Nixon, covering the Northern Pacific Railway between the 1930s and 1960s. This collection of motive power, trains, parks and scenery is considered to be one of the best.

NEWBERRY LIBRARY 60 West Walton Street Chicago, Illinois 60610 (312)255-3511 In April 1943, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company deposited the bulk of its 19th century records (1850-1901) with the Newberry Library. More than one million letters, 1,500 bundles of miscellaneous materials and approximately 2,000 bound volumes of ledgers and operating books comprise the collection. The collection is named the Burlington Special Collections.

NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 15th and R Street Lincoln, Nebraska 68508 (402)471-3270 Collection of material from the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company and its predecessor companies operating in the state. The collection has material covering the early operation of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and the later operations of the CB&Q. Records and photographs of land settlement and early farming, taken by Colonization Agent Val Kuska, for CB&Q, are part of this collection.

FRIENDS OF THE BURLINGTON NORTHERN RAILROAD P.O. Box 271 West Bend, WI 53095-0271 The Friends of the Burlington Northern Railroad (FOBNR) was formed to gather, preserve and share information about the history of the Burlington Northern Railroad and the history and current operation of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. It follows the BN from 1970 to 1995 and the BNSF from 1995 to the present. Members of the FOBNR receive four issues of The BN Expediter, a 20 page, glossy paper publication containing information and photos of railroad history and current events.

CHICAGO, BURLINGTON & QUINCY RAILROAD (CB&Q)

BURLINGTON ROUTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY P. O. Box 456 LaGrange, IL 60525

GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY (GN)

GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY 1781 Griffith Berkley, MI 48072

NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY (NP)

NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION 13044 87th Place N.E. Kirkland, WA 98034

SPOKANE, PORTLAND & SEATTLE RAILWAY (SP&S)

SPOKANE, PORTLAND & SEATTLE RAILWAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY 2618 N.W. 113th Street Vancouver, WA 98685

ST. LOUIS & SAN FRANCISCO RAILWAY (FRISCO)

FRISCO RAILROAD MUSEUM 543 E. Commercial Street Springfield, MO 65803

Model Railroad Gauges A to Z

 

  Prototype Gauge Model Gauge
Ratio 1: Gauge mm inches mm inches
220 Z 1435 56.5 6.5 0.2559
160 N 1435 56.5 9 0.3543
160 Nm 1000 39.37 6.5 0.2559
120 TT 1435 56.5 12 0.4724
120 TTm 1000 39.37 9 0.3543
120 TTe 650 25.59 6.5 0.2559
87 H0i 400 15.75 6.5 0.2559
87 H0 1435 56.5 16.5 0.6496
87 H0m 1000 39.37 12 0.4724
87 H0e 650 25.59 9 0.3543
76 00i 400 15.75 6.5 0.2559
76 00e 650 25.59 9 0.3543
76 00m 850 33.46 12 0.4724
76 00 1435 56.5 16.5 0.6496
64 Sn3 914 36 14.29 0.5625
64 Si 400 15.75 9 0.3543
64 Se 650 25.59 12 0.4724
64 Sm 850 33.46 16.5 0.6496
64 S 1435 56.5 22.5 0.8858
43.5 0i 400 15.75 12 0.4724
43.5 0e 650 25.59 16.5 0.6496
43.5 0m 850 33.46 22.5 0.8858
43.5 0 1435 56.5 32 1.2598
32 1i 400 15.75 16.5 0.6496
32 1e 650 25.59 22.5 0.8858
32 1m 850 33.46 32 1.2598
32 1 1435 56.5 45 1.7717
22.5 2i 400 15.75 22.5 0.8858
22.5 2e 650 25.59 32 1.2598
22.5 2m 850 33.46 45 1.7717
22.5 2 1435 56.5 64 2.5197
16 3i 400 15.75 32 1.2598
16 3e 650 25.59 45 1.7717
16 3m 850 33.46 64 2.5197
16 3 1435 56.5 89 3.5039
11 4i 400 15.75 45 1.7717
11 4e 650 25.59 64 2.5197
11 4m 850 33.46 89 3.5039
11 4 1435 56.5 127 5
8 5i 400 15.75 64 2.5197
8 5e 650 25.59 89 3.5039
8 5m 850 33.46 127 5
8 5 1435 56.5 184 7.2441

 

 

Gauge Vs. Scale 

 

Train gauges.New to toy trains? One of the most vexing problems is understanding the difference between model train gauge and scale, especially since the terms are incorrectly used much of the time. But it really isn't hard: gauge is the measurement of the distance between the outside rails of your track. Scale is the measurement between the size of the model relative to the prototype train's size. Many of the Pacific Northwest Division members collect O Gauge trains. What does that mean? Well, that means that the train runs on track that measures 1.25" between the outside rails, and that the train is approximately 1/48th of the size of the real world train it represents, or 1:48 scale. There are many different scales and gauges of trains to collect: check here to view some examples. Two measurements are always involved in model trains: scale and gauge. You can't have one without the other! 

How different are the scales of trains? Very! Here are some pictures that represent four popular scales of toy trains in use in the United States: 

 

 

 

Another important thing to consider is the required track radius for the scale of the engine you are running. O gauge track actually comes in two different sizes: O and O-27. Though both types of track measure 1.25" Different tracks.between the rails, the rails height is 11/16" on O and only 7/16" on O-27. Why? O-27 track was developed to run smaller, lighter engines in limited space, since an entire circle of O-27 track is only 27 inches in diameter (hence the '27' in O-27). Lionel developed the O-27 size track primarily for children's train sets that were sold after the 1930's.  Regular O gauge track can range from a 31" diameter to 72" diameter, and is suitable for larger, heavier engines, such as the modern full scale Lionel and MTH engines. The extra track depth and width of radius is necessary to prevent trains from derailing. 

So you might ask "why do I hear the term 'O gauge train'?" Technically, there is no such thing. Early train manufacturers used O gauge track, but their trains were not really true scale models, so the designation for these types of trains combined the terms O scale and gauge to indicate that it was a smaller, non-scale O train that ran on the smaller O-27 gauge track. Confusing? Yes! But the use of more accurate scale models did not come about until quite recently with the increasing interest in representative train detail. So can an O-27 scale train run on O gauge track? Yes, but usually O scale trains cannot run on O-27 track. 

As with toy trains, there are many differing track manufacturers, some offering custom track that can be Track radius comparison.tailored for specific layout configurations. How do you choose the right train and track? Well, the track is dependent on the types of trains that you will be running, though some types of trains can run on either O or O-27 track. The second consideration is the amount of space that you can devote to your layout: larger engines take a larger radius to turn, and this will require the larger 42", 54", or 72" track circles. 

Buying your first train (or building your first layout) can be daunting to those just starting in the hobby, but one of the best ways to get help is to join a club. In TTOS you will find people that share your interest in trains, collecting, and having fun running your new pride and joy!

graphics from Lionel and MTH

 

 

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