As my modeling focus has concentrated on prototype modeling, I’ve joined several railroad historical societies. For the past couple of years I’ve had the pleasure of membership in the societies for the Milwaukee Road and Northern Pacific, and joined the Great Northern society last year. Apparently Northwest railroading is my thing.
The photo is this quarter’s collection of magazines.
NZ Model Railway Journal
The top-left magazine is the Journal of the New Zealand Railway Guild. The Guild appears to be similar to the NMRA in the US but I don’t believe the Guild does standards. Sort of like a national model railroad club. They focus exclusively on New Zealand prototypes, and the modeling is superb. Trains are trains. Kiwis tend to work in larger scales than US modelers, and while 3D printing has made life considerably easier for the NZR modeler, it still takes a level of ability to faithfully replicate that prototype. Manufacturers aren’t falling over themselves to produce models.
I joined the Guild when I was looking at modeling a New Zealand prototype for a change of pace, and New Zealand offers some excellent model railroad scenes. After looking at the reality, I decided against an entire NZR layout. I model in 1:160, and while Z-gauge track is very nearly scale for NZ’s meter-gauge, such New Zealand equipment as exists in N-scale is 1:150. I didn’t want to spend years working on something that wouldn’t be interchangeable on US layouts.
However, New Zealand Rail did/does have some cool stuff. I’m toying with the idea of building a model (NZ prototype, of course!) for one of their contests, but you really have to have an ‘A’ game to compete with those guys.
The Milwaukee Railroader
The organ for the Milwaukee Road Historical Association, and the railroad that got me interested in the transcontinental railroads of the Northwest. The magazine tends to focus on Lines East, and that’s not real handy for someone who’s never even been to Wisconsin. My interest in the railroad is in the electrified territory, and that operation is not as well covered. There is good information on equipment and structures used across the line. The magazine is photo-rich, mostly in color, including somewhat unusual (and valuable) color photos of steam. The Hiawathagram newsletter is also included.
The Association’s website is, um, a little sparse. On-line resources could use improvement, and there’s not much for the modeler. The magazine is a good resource, but on-line is something of a prairie.
Published by the Northern Pacific Historical Association. My current layout is ‘inspired’ by the NP, in that the Northern Pacific is the home road and I run NP equipment. The track plan is convenient to the layout and not the prototype. I chose the Northern Pacific because it had operations of the type and in the area I wanted to model.
The Mainstreeter content tends to run to scholarly articles on NP operations. There’s a fair amount of modeling information, and the always fun Mystery Photo. I never have a clue about the photo, but it’s interesting to read about it in the next issue.
Where the Association shines is on-line. The website has scads of information useful for modeling the railroad. If they don’t have something, they can tell you where it is. I’m fairly convinced you could build a nice Northern Pacific layout just with the information available at the Association’s site. If management decided to put their resources into the digital library rather than the paper one, I’m on board with it.
The Great Northern Goat
Courtesy of the Great Northern Historical Society. I joined this society last year because I’m looking at the Great Northern for my next layout. The magazine proper is something of a glorified newsletter, but that’s not what you’re looking for. Every issue includes a Modelers Pages and at least one Reference Sheet. The arrival of the Goat is a bit of an event. More than the other two, GNHS caters to modelers.
The Modelers Pages have GN-specific new product news, books, and model photos. There’s a modeling article and a Q & A. Available for back-order.
The Reference Sheets are detailed looks at some aspect of the Great Northern railroad. There are hundreds of them. Fortunately also available for back-order, and for members, many in the $2 – $3 range.
The Society’s on-line resources are good, if not perhaps on par with NPHA. There is a fair amount of NP information on the GNHS site, along with BNSF. The official site is well-supplemented by several individual efforts that fill big gaps in the Society’s on-line library.
I need to stop reading and get back to the railroad.