John Nehrich, the Club Coordinator of the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society, has an idea for starting a center for steam era studies. This idea was inspired by the methods the club used to discover the world they were trying to model, and how it had changed since 1950. The world has changed radically from a railroading society to an automobile based society. They feel the layout has a value to direct research and be used to educate people.
When people think model railroad they think toy trains, but it is really a glance back in history. The studies were in an attempt to raise money for research on a more systematic basis. Libraries have a lot of books on mining, automobiles, architecture and more to put it all together from the first 20th century or end of industrial revolution as it fazed into the information age. In the day when trucks and cars had not yet taken over, trains were a part of every person’s everyday life. It used to cross their paths all the time, now this is not the case. Troy, New York used to have 130 passenger trains role through a day, not unlike a subway schedule.
The club has been writing a series of books and guides on the different aspects of steam railroading, specifically modelers. There is much information that has appeared in the hobby press, but it’s hard to find it all. These books are milestone contributions to the hobby. This is how John wants to support the club. A lot of feedback comes back from the book readers, so they are constantly being improved. A downside to magazines is that you have to search for corrections. Allen goes on to discuss how the club choreographs all the passenger train action with John.