S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Model Railroad Page 4 keywords = model rail train Z HO scale Ztrack Western Fruit Express WFEX Great Northern GN Pennsylvania kIESEL Pennsy PRR Berlinerwerke Vest Pocket Long Island Degnon Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal BEDT Marion River Carry Adirondack Hobbytown of Boston Bear Locomotive Works schnabel Strombecker railroading museum

Updated:   22 Dec 2017;  17:25 ET
[Page created 07 May 2001;
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/mrr4.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/mrr4.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Model Railroad Page


Continuation of SB,III's MODEL RAILROADING Page
and MODEL RAILROADING Pages 2 and 3.

NOTE:  My pages were limited by AT&T, without warning, to 30kB!  Thus, I had been forced to add continuation pages and separate pages to fit the lengthy Berlinerwerke saga in HO and Z scales.


  (truncated to conserve space)

On the first MRR page:

    Sunrise Trail Division (STD) of the
        Northeastern Region (NER) of the
        National Model Railroad Association (NMRA)
    Long Island - Sunrise Trail Chapter (LIST) of the
.         National Railway Historical Society (NRHS)
.     Long Island Live Steamers.

On the 2nd MRR page:

Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model

    Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad
        (now on its own page)

    Degnon Terminal Railroad, plus       Murrer's Sidings
      Kearney Sidings,

    Marion River Carry Railroad         (now on its own page)

On the preceding (3rd) MRR page:

    REALLY HEAVY Electrics -
        (moved from Main MRR Page - 18 Oct 99).

    Model Railroad Miscellany -
        (including material moved from Main MRR Page - 18 Oct 99).         and including:
    A and B vs. F (and 1 and 2) Ends.
    PRR/Wrong Island #007 Cabin Car.
    Garden Railway Scales.
    Making a Stacker from a Front End Loader.
    Berlinerwerke-ALCo RSD-1m.
    Model Railroading HELP!.

On this (4th) MRR page:

    Railroad Grades

    Model Railroad Photography

    More Model Railroad Miscellany, with
        Hobbytown of Boston (briefly Bear Locomotive Works/Bear Locomotive Co.).   MajorRev (22 Dec 2017)

On MRR Continuation Page 5:

    Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model - continued
    Atlas Terminal RR

On MRR Continuation Page 6:

    Life-Like ALCo DL-109.

On MRR Continuation Page 7:

    Oyster Bay Marine Turntable
        (moved from RR Page 3 and greatly amplified 07 Jun 2004).
    HOMABED® Roadbed.

On the Great Northern/Western Fruit Express Page:

    Great Northern/Western Fruit Express Reefers
        (moved to MRR page 4 from the main page 07 May 2001
        and to this page 10 Nov 2004).

See also the Rail-Auto Page, with "critters" you can model.

On Z-Scale pages:

  Z-Scale Narrow Gauge (really)
  Scale and Gauge
  Scale Conversion Table
  Z-Scale Miscellany
  Z-Scale Wiring Conventions
  Z-Scale Vehicles and Märklin Rubber Autos
  and much more on Page 2 and noted below.
  Z-Scale Page 3 with
    Half-Z Scale - 1:440 Tiny Trains and even 1:900 Tiniest Trains!
  Ztrack Magazine

On the LIRR Continuation Page 3:
  Victorian Stations Still Standing on the LIRR
    (with dimensions)

On separate pages:

  S. Berliner, III's Pennsylvania Railroad Page
    and PRR Modeling (Penn Line/Cary/Bowser)
  Berlinerwerke Saga (HO, included with Horseshoe Curve info.)
  Horseshoe Curve Cont. Page 3:
    Dimensions of the Horseshoe Curve -
        a mile-by-mile and even foot-by-foot guide to the Curve - and
    Dimensions in N (1:160) and Z (1:220) scales -
  Horseshoe Curve Cont. Page 4, with satellite photo and description.
  Berlinerwerke-Z Saga (Z-Scale) and ff.
  Berlinerwerke Apocrypha (tall tales of the BW and its equipment and such>
  Berlinerwerke Guest Apocrypha (taller tales?)
  ALCo (American Locomotive Works)
  EMD - Electro-Motive Division of GM - models, etc.,
    including the fabled BW DDP45 and other EMD engines
    EMD may never have dreamed of!
  HOW TO BOOT A STEAM LOCOMOTIVE or How to hostle without really tiring -
      (Firing up a cold oil burner - in 1:1 scale).
  Schnable and other Giant RR Cars, et seq..
  The Whyte System of Classification (4-4-0, 4-6-2, B-B, etc.).

You may wish to visit the NMRA Logo HUB DIVISION and the SUNRISE TRAIL DIVISION
  both of the

Ztrack Magazine
The Newsletter for Z Scale Model Railroading
Z-Scale is only 1:220 with rails only ¼" apart!
It is about 2½ times smaller than HO!

Long Island Live Steamers

You may also wish to jump to SB,III's RAILROAD Page

MODEL RAILROADING - 4 (continuation)

Great Northern/Burlington Northern - Western Fruit Express Reefers and Boxcars

(moved to its own separate page 10 Nov 04)


Effective Date:  17 Jan 02

[Clearly, this has to be converted to a proper HTML Table! -   added.gif (25 Feb 2011)]

% GRADE = RISE/RUN.  RISE IN INCHES = (k) x (no. of feet), where k = (0.12 x %).


(and nearest fractions) per:


  [k = ] -->	[% x 0.12]	[% x 0.24]	[% x 0.36]	[% x 0.72]	[% x 1.2]

O.5%		0.06 (1/16)	0.12 (1/8)	0.18 (11/64)	0.36 (23/64)	0.60 (39/64)

0.75%		0.09 (57/64)	0.18 (11/64)	0.24 (15/64)	0.54 (35/64)	0.90 (29/32)

1%		0.12 (1/8)	0.25 (1/4)	0.36 (23/64)	0.72 (23/32)	1.20 (1-13/64)

1.25%		0.15 (5/32)	0.30 (19/64)	0.45 (29/64)	0.90 (29/32)	1.50 (1-1/2)

1.45% (3)	 0.17 (11/64)	 0.35 (23/64)	 0.52 (33/64)	 1.04 (1-3/64)	 1.74 (1-47/64)

1.5%		0.18 (11/64)	0.36 (3/8)	0.54 (35/64)	1.08 (1-5/64)	1.80 (1-51/64)

1.59% (8)	 0.19 (3/16)	 0.38 (3/8)	 0.57 (37/64)	 1.14 (1-9/64)	 1.91 (1-29/32)

1.73% (5)	 0.21 (13/64)	 0.42 (27/64)	 0.62 (5/8)	 1.25 (1-1/4)	 2.08 (2-5/64)

1.74% (4)	 0.21 (13/64)	 0.42 (27/64)	 0.63 (41/64)	 1.25 (1-1/4)	 2.09 (2-3/32)

1.75% (2)	 0.21 (13/64)	 0.42 (27/64)	 0.63 (41/64)	 1.26 (1-17/64)	 2.10 (2-7/64)

1.81% (6)	 0.22 (7/32)	 0.43 (7/16)	 0.65 (21/32)	 1.30 (1-5/16)	 2.17 (2-11/64)

1.85% (1)	 0.22 (7/32)	 0.44 (7/16)	 0.67 (43/64)	 1.33 (1-21/64)	 2.22 (2-7/32)

2%		0.24.(15/64)	0.48 (31/64)	0.72 (23/32)	1.44 (1-7/16)	2.40 (2-13/32)

2.1% (8)	 0.25 (1/4)	 0.50.(1/2)	 0.76 (49/64)	 1.51 (1-1/2)	 2.52 (2-33/64)

2.25%		0.27 (17/64)	0.54 (35/64)	0.81 (13/16)	1.62 (1-5/8)	2.70 (2-45/64)

2.36% (7)	 0.28 (18/64)	 0.57 (37/64)	 0.85 (27/32)	 1.70 (1-45/64)	 2.83 (2-53/64)

2.5%		0.30 (5/16)	0.60 (39/64)	0.90 (29/32)	1.80 (1-51/64)	3.00

2.75%		0.33 (21/64)	0.66 (21/32)	0.99 (63/64)	1.98 (1-63/64)	3.30 (3-19/64)

3%		0.36 (3/8)	0.72 (23/32)	1.08 (1-5/64)	2.16 (2-5/32)	3.60 (3-19/32)

3.25%		0.39 (25/64)	0.78 (25/32)	1.17 (1-11/64)	2.34 (2-11/32)	3.90 (3-57/64)

3.5%		0.42 (27/64)	0.84 (27/32)	1.26 (1-17/64)	2.52 (2-33/64)	4.20 (4-13/64)

3.75%		0.45 (29/64)	0.90 (29/32)	1.35 (1-11/32)	2.70 (2-45/64)	4.50 (4-1/2)

4%		0.48 (1/2)	0.96 (61/64)	1.44 (1-7/16)	2.88 (2-7/8)	4.80 (4-51/64)

  [k = ] -->	[% x 0.12]	[% x 0.24]	[% x 0.36]	[% x 0.72]	[% x 1.2]


NOTES:  1.   1.85% - Altoona town line to Signal Bridge 2384.

        2.   1.75% - Signal Bridge 2384 to Kittaning Point.

        3.   1.45% - Horseshoe Curve.

        4.   1.74% - Burgoon Run to Allegrippus(?).

        5.   1.73% - Allegrippus(?) to Benny Tower.

        6.   1.81% - WB - Benny Tower to Tunnels (east portals).

        7.   2.36% - EB - Benny Tower to Tunnels (east portals).

        8.   2.1% - Pittsburgh Division "Comp. Ruling Grade" - WB (1.59% EB).

    (Notes are in West-to-East order from Altoona to Gallitzin through the PRR/PC/CR/NS Horseshoe Curve.)   rev (25 Feb 2011)

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1990, 2002 - All rights reserved.


I have been asked many times how I take those excruciatingly-close photos, especially of microscopic details on my Z-scale (1:220) equipment, such as:

Z 60-ton Boxcab Bell and Stack   Z 60-ton Boxcab end beam & side steps
(photos taken 16 and 18 Oct 1999 by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III -
with digital SLR with stacked Zeiss Proxar lenses on a home-made adaptor)
[These are details from a Freudenreich Feinwerktechnik Z-scale boxcab oil-electric loco.]

{See also the Timken car truck detail on Page 6 and many other images
on my other hobby, model RR, and Z pages.}

Well, with the right equipment and some patience, it really is quite easy.  I am in no way a photographer, let alone an expert; photography is only a tool for me and I use some rather bizarre combinations to get what I need at minimum expense.

I rarely use film any more, primarily just straight digital imaging.  For film, I use fine-grain B&W or ordinary Kodacolor.  Either way, I always use an SLR (Single Lens Reflex camera) in order to see exactly what I'm doing.  I use stacked closeup lenses to get fine details, selecting the best lens combination for the shot (another reason to stick to SLRs).  Real photographers will laugh hysterically at the idea that I still use a Zeiss Ikon I 35mm camera (with a fixed lens)!  However, I went for broke and have an Olympus D-500L Digital SLR.

I have a full set of the old Zeiss clip-on 28.5mm Proxar lenses, from f=5mm down to f=0.1mm power, and made up an adaptor to fit them to my 43mm Olympus digital camera lens (so they vignette!).  I managed to lose one and then misplace the rest, so I bought brand-new 43mm Tiffen +1, +2, and +4 Close Up Lenses; they're great!  Only catch is that I just now (11 Nov 03) found the old ones - you guessed it!  Yup; I stacked the whole lot and here is my screen icon for the camera software, shot with the Proxar f=0,2, f=0,3, f=0,5, and f=1 stacked in front of the Tiffen +1, +2 and +4:

Screen Shot
(photo taken 12 Nov 33 by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III -
with digital SLR with stacked Zeiss Proxar and Tiffen lenses)

Bear in mind that the depth of field shortens dramatically with the degree of magnification; the depth of field was close to ZERO on the preceding shot, with the front lens almost touching the screen.

Use lots of light to get the greatest illumination and allow the smallest f-stop, thereby increasing depth of field.  Always have two lights (or more), usually in close at 30° and 45°, left and right.  I use a pair of 50W photofloods in reflectors on lamp stands.  100W might be better but they get far too hot for such close work.

I put the object on a sheet(s) of white copy paper* both to get a plain backdrop and to reflect some light up underneath.

With the digital SLR, I try to use the higher resolutions, back away a bit to avoid having the lens outline show (the technical term for this is "vignetting") and then crop and fudge the digital image to get rid of unwanted background, blend backdrop paper overlap lines, and enhance brightness.

These are just a few tips on how I get the images I do (some of which aren't half bad - but some of which are truly appalling).

* - For jet black bodies and underfames, it would probably be better to use a neutral gray card (as background), which can be purchased in any well-stocked professional camera store.


Here's an odd coal tipple I ran across in central Pennsylvania, driving back from my sister's in Enola (Harrisburg area), shun-piking along PA Route 443 north of Indiantown Gap, just west of I-83 at Suedburg (NOT Sudbury) (31 May 2006):

PA Tipple 1 PA Tipple 2
(photos taken 30 Oct 05 by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Cropped and artificially lightened]

This was on the north side of the road (443) and I caught it in the waning light, so no detail shows, and it is a tipple for loading wagons or highway trucks, not RR cars, but it is so ramshackle and deliciously rickety, just sticking out of the hillside with no visible means of supply, that I thought it would make a perfect scratch-building project, either over a dirt road or over a scraggly back-woods RR track.  There's absolutely nothing to it but some poles, some cribbing, four steel chutes, and a curved, corrugated steel roof!

Oh - don't overlook that wooden staircase and railing running up from the road on the left (west) side.   added (31 May 06)

Hobbytown of Boston

    [Bear Locomotive Works / Bear Locomotive Co. (for a while)]   MajorRev (22 Dec 2017)


    [If you're not interested in Hobbytown history, jump to the current (2017) Hobbytown of Boston.]   new (22 Dec 2017)

Whether or not these were all still valid or not, Howard and Bear were still on-line as of 14 Oct 2014 (in Whiting, NJ).

Hobbytown of Boston was one of the earliest manufacturers of brutally-powerful, craftsman kits for die-cast HO locomotives; they had been bought out and continued by Howard Mosley's Bear Locomotive Co. of Whiting, New Jersey (the manufacturer of "Bearmetal" low-melting-point alloys), also known as Bear Locomotive Works.  Bear was nowhere near Boston, Massachusetts - it's 300 miles south-southwest, midway down the Jersey shore, near Toms River.  They offered the Hobbytown ALCo PA-1 and DL-109, FA- 2/FB-2, RS-3/RSD-5, and SW-4/SW-1500, EMD AEROTRAIN, E-6/E-7, and FT/F-3/F-7, and Fairbanks-Morse H-10-44, as well as many other chassis and parts.  I had written that Howard Mosley had to close down Bear as suppliers dried up and machined parts became too expensive to obtain.  The old Bear sites, <http://bearlocomo.zoovy.com> or <http://www.bearlocomotive.com>, were down as of 29 Sep 2007, and remaining stocks of parts were dwindling.  The Bear line (née Hobbytown), with remaining stocks and tooling, was available to serious purchasers who know the pitfalls of small parts manufacturing in our failing small-business economy.   rev (14 Oct 2014/22 Dec 2017)

Hobbytown of Boston (2017)

Well, Bear is gone and Hobbytown of Boston is baaaaack!   new (22 Dec 2017)

Nick DeBenedetto has brought Hobbytown of Boston back to life (although still in NJ, only 11 miles from Whiting).

Hobbytown of Boston
3155 Quarry Road
Manchester, New Jersey  08759

RMC featured their re-appearance in RECEIVING YARD on page 72 of the Dec 2017 issue and noted that they brought back kits for the ALCo Rs-3/RSD-4 and FA/FB,  For old timers and scratch builders seeking parts, Nick has posted a full Parts List.

In addition, Nick has opened a new full-service hobbyshop, the Hobbytown USA Hobby Center nearby, just north of Toms River, New Jersey, in the Home Depot Plaza on Route 9.

Best of luck in your new ventures, Nick!

One of my earlier model railroading memories, one which is indelibly engraved in my mind, is what happened over a weekend ca.1951 in the show window of Hobbytown of Boston (which actually WAS in Beantown back then).  The staff had a four- or six-axle locomotive running on an oval in the window and left for the weekend without turning off the power pack.  With the performance of their locomotives, they could leave them running continuously without any problem and I don't honestly recall if it was left running deliberately for show or in error.  Be that as it may, something snagged and the train ground to a halt without in any way affecting the loco.  When the shop opened on Monday morning, there was the stalled train with the loco still running merrily in place, its wheels having ground their way through the brass railheads and well into the webs, almost down the bases, leaving well-grooved wheels sets and rails with four or six curved notches in each!  Railroad Model Craftsman (if it was called that then) ran a feature on this and Hobbytown may have used it in their ads.

    [How I'd love pix of THAT contretemps!]

Here, courtesy of Bear Locomotive, are the DL-109*, PA-1, and FA-2/FB-2:



(Photos courtesy of Bear Locomotive Co. - all rights reserved)

    * - Note that the DL-109 has a resin body, unlike the other shells.

A fantastic LEGO model of the world's largest railroad car is there {where?} and now on my Railroad Schnabel Car continuation page 1 [the foregoing became separated from its text].

    {Timken roller bearing car material moved to MRR Page 6 on 12 Nov 03.}

There is an incredible simulation program by Charlie Dockstadter on steam valve gear available on the Alaska Live Steamers VALVE GEAR ON THE COMPUTER page.

If you like model railroading nonsense (and good tips), take a gander at Jim Wells' incredible

and at the AW NUTS Magazine site, "A Publication of the A.W. N.U.T.S. Garden Railway Society".

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of this series of Model Railroad pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1990, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017  - all rights reserved.

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