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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Railway Prototype Cyclopedia News!

Among others, model railroaders have for a number of years used the great reference series of books titled Railway Prototype Cyclopedia to expand their knowledge of the prototype. Created by Ed Hawkins and Pat Wider, each volume includes in-depth articles including many photographs, diagrams, rosters and other items. And we have eagerly awaited the new volumes. Two recent observations are:

  1. In what is great news for modelers and others, Volume 20, which was apparently the most popular volume and has been difficult to find for a long time (a recent copy on an auction site went for $150), has been reprinted by Ron's Books. See their web site if you are looking for a copy. The article from Volume 20 that drove that volume's high demand was Patrick C. Wider's 85 page article on Flat Car Loading Practices. The article synopsis is:

    The article contains 46 diagrams that show how many types of loads are restrained and tied down to flat cars. Also included are 126 photos of flat cars with all types of loads such as various steel products including pipe, auto frames, road construction and farm machinery, transformers and circuit breakers, boilers and vessels, rolling stock underframes, trucks and wheels, forging presses, locomotives, damaged freight cars, street cars and busses, lumber products, stone, containers, military equipment, and trailers on flat cars. Captions describe the flat cars photographed including the cars' histories (car number series, builder, and build date). Additional text details the A.A.R. rules for securing the various commodities.

  2. The website for Railway Prototype Cyclopedia has disappeared. And along with the web site, the PDF for the RP CYC Index file has disappeared. Fortunately snapshots of the web site are available on the Internet Archive (aka Wayback Machine). A copy of the Railway Prototype Cyclopedia Volumes 1-34 Index has been retrieved and is linked here.

For those not familiar with the Railway Prototype Cyclopedia, here's how the publisher described it on their web site:

What is Railway Prototype Cyclopedia?

Railway Prototype Cyclopedia, or 'RP CYC' for short, is a continuing series of soft cover, perfect-bound books that provides invaluable information in a single source with a focus on railroad equipment built or in use during the 1920s through 1950s. This was the "Golden Age" of railroads when steam locomotives and first generation diesels ruled. Volumes 1-5 are each 96 pages in length, Volumes 6-10 and 13-15 are each 105 pages, Volumes 11, 12, and 16-30 are 113 pages, the combined Volumes 31-32 has 265 pages, and Volumes 33 & 34 each have 193 pages. In many cases the back inside cover is used as an additional page for tables. Each volume uses 80-weight enameled paper and a perfect-bound textured "leatherette" cover. Included are articles on freight and passenger cars, locomotives, and structures. Some articles include information about selected scale models that relate to the subject.

One of our most important priorities, RP CYC provides high quality, large format photographs of the prototype equipment and scale models. Every photograph selected for publication is large enough for you to see as much detail as possible. Photographs include those taken by the builders as well as in-service mainly during the 1920s through 1950s and occasionally the 1960s. The articles are also supported with technical data including applicable plans, diagrams, and comprehensive roster information.

Our Goal:

We want you to use RP CYC as a primary source of information and photographs for accurate scale modeling or historical purposes and to keep each volume on your bookshelf for handy reference.

If you have never looked at this reference series, I highly recommend it! While most volumes are sold out at the publisher, copies can occasionally be found on dealer shelves, or secondary markets like BookFinder and eBay (and of course Volume 20 (along with some other volumes) at Ron's Books!).

Some additional information:

Railway Prototype Cyclopedia Release Dates

Vol 1 July 8, 1997
Vol 2 June 30, 1998
Vol 3 February 10, 1999
Vol 4 February 2, 2000
Vol 5 November 29, 2000
Vol 6 September 28, 2001
Vol 7 May 20, 2002
Vol 8 February 15, 2003
Vol 9 September 26, 2003
Vol 10 April 14, 2004
Vol 11 February 15, 2005
Vol 12 September 27, 2005
Vol 13 March 18, 2006
Vol 14 October 23, 2006
Vol 15 April 23, 2007
Vol 16 October 23, 2007
Vol 17 April 16, 2008
Vol 18 February 14, 2009
Vol 19 October 24, 2009
Vol 20 May 17, 2010
Vol 21 Nov 12, 2010
Vol 22 July 14, 2011
Vol 23 October 18, 2011
Vol 24 April 2, 2012
Vol 25 October 18, 2012
Vol 26 March 26, 2013
Vol 27 October 17, 2013
Vol 28 April 2, 2014
Vol 29 October 20, 2014
Vol 30 September 25, 2015
Vol 31-32 April 25, 2016
Vol 33 October 29, 2016
Vol 34 March 29, 2017



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An active modeler in 1:64 scale (S scale) since 1998 and a relatively new On30 modeler, Michael's primary interests are in model railroading, structure modeling and control systems for model railroading. Michael is a life member of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), a member of the National Association of S Gaugers (NASG) and the Bristol S Gauge Railroaders.

Michael and his wife Deane Louise co-own Pine Canyon Scale Models, a manufacturer of S Scale and O scale structures.

Michael is a past chair of the NMRA's Digital Command Control (DCC) Working Group and was a contributor to the NMRA's DCC Standards activities. Michael continues to play an active role in the use of NMRA DCC in S Scale model railroading.

Michael previously served as the NASG National Secretary and Librarian for the NASG's Russell M. Mobley Memorial Library.


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