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Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website

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Rensselaer Model Railroad Society
The Rensselaer Model Railroad Society is a student organization at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Their perennial model railroad layout is based on historically accurate scenes in the Troy area, and north to the Canadian Border. The layout is set in 1950 when America's railroad system was still the backbone of the transportation network. The website is an outgrowth of their interest in the real life prototypes and how to best model them. The knowledge on the website extends far beyond this region and era, and far beyond the world of railroading. Most of the over 4,500 pages and 35,000 photos are only accessible to paying members of the website. The monthly membership fee is less than the price of a high-end coffee, paid either by a monthly on-going subscription system or single lump-sum payments.

"ALL membership dues for this site support both this and our layout as educational and historical resources, making modeling more interesting, while also explaining our railroad heritage to the general public."

Rensselaer Model Railroad Society believes they have the world's largest single collection of historically accurate architecture models!

Visit them at Rensselaer Railroad Heritage Website.
Just another model railroad club?
No. Over a span of some 50 years this society has amassed an incredible wealth of information on model railroading, real railroading, architecture, scenery, geography, geology, flora and fauna, culture and society, accessible via their website. This resource is a treasure trove whether you are setting up a toy train, planning a model railway, studying turn of the century urban or rural building practices, understanding why railroads painted their rolling stock the way they did, learning that iron is the most common of the heavier elements in the universe, and so much more. Through The NEB&W you can learn the concept of developing freight car fleets, interchange, motive power, different types of retaining structures, how to get milk from the cow to the city, c. 1900, grades and curvatures, and a host of other topics. Decades of building and using models provides one with a fascinating history of model manufacturers, past and current. With different contributors, the articles are presented in varying styles, appealing to different tastes, be they erudite, humorous, academic, or layman. The entire project is student directed (no faculty involved).

A sample of the subjects:
Club Planning
Planning & Decision Making
General Layout Planning
Layout Scene Planning
Period Modeling
Overall Layout Construction
Iron Making & Iron Goods
Industry Photo Gallery
Entertainment & Communications
The Downtown Grid

With literally hundreds of topics in scores of subjects, a modeler can advance their understanding of almost any subject that modeler might be interested in. Press on and find the following:
Pg 2 NEB&W, the fictitious New England, Berkshire & Western RR
Pg 3 In-Depth Information Scenery, Structures & Details
Pg 4 NEB&W Guide to Rolling Stock, and Rolling Stock Guide Introduction & Overview

About the Author

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...


I've made extensive use of this site for delving into specific freight car information. Passenger equipment is also covered, though not as varied as the freight info. They charge a nominal fee to use the site, but you can spend hours following the information trail. There are also photos of some equipment. You can look data up by the specific railroad, car type or model manufacturer. I would highly recommend this site if you're modeling North American prototypes.
DEC 06, 2010 - 06:32 AM