It’s usually a good thing, and a character trait I often don’t display enough of. I’ve been trying to get photos of the roof of a certain hopper car for three weeks now. No luck. Not yet at least. Today I thought it might be the day, IF, the pouring rain would let up. It finally did but the car in question didn’t budge from its spot in the lineup at the plastics plant. Keep the vigil going I guess.

I don’t go anywhere these days without my camera. Since Joe and I started development on our new series of e-books on modern freight cars, I actively look for opportunities to get shots of likely cars for the series. Today was one of those days when things lined up right. It took some patience (something else in very short supply) on my part for the weather to clear, for the through traffic to clear and to see what this local was going to do next. In all, I spent almost three hours trackside (with a very quick pit-stop for lunch, it was raining) waiting and waiting and waiting some more.

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This tank car caught my eye quickly. I have some good shots of other tank cars but here was the chance to get in-depth coverage for a future volume in the series. Soon as the rain quit I was out of the car with the zoom lens, which allowed me to get in close without getting in too close, since there were railroad people all over the place. Public parking lots are a good thing and so are convenient highway bridges with easy access by foot. Over the course of those hours I fired off 102 shots from every angle I could safely get to, including top side shots from the bridge. The rain held off, the train stayed put and the railroad crews went to lunch themselves at a nearby diner. Like I said, persistence is a good thing.

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The 300 mm lens let me zoom in nicely from public property, even though things can get a bit shakey when shooting with such a long lens by hand. Yes, I have a tripod but didn’t bring it along. I seldom do when shooting outdoors. Things happen too quickly sometimes.

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Moving to the other side of the tracks, which also has a public street, I was able to get some good close ups of the A end details. This draft gear extension would be simple to model. So would these interesting ladder brackets.

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The lesson is that good things can come to those who wait. Patience IS a virtue and all those other things our mothers and grandmothers tried to teach us when we were much younger. It’s also a good idea to document contemporary rolling stock. That’s what we plan to do with the new series. We’re waiting for some additional material that we hope will really enhance the value of the book, if we can get it. Watch for details on the release of the first volume in coming weeks. What’s your favorite piece of modern rolling stock?




  1. downeast

    My version of persistence regarding P48 modeling comes from a recent conversion experience. It turns out that the railroad I’m modeling has several early cylindrical hoppers that will be necessary ‘signature’ cars that will help to capture the look and operation of the line. Without wanting to completely scratchbuild, I used a pair of Atlas cars and repainted them. They have been waiting for trucks and couplers for quite some time. A couple of weeks ago I tackled the problem. My friend Jim Lincoln sent a pair of his conversion bolster parts, then I ordered two sets of wheels from NWSL that would have the proper contoured axle ends that would retain the working bearing caps. It turned out that NWSL only makes an axle length that will work for 5 foot gauge. To reduce the overall length the axles must be shortened on both ends equally due to the fact that each axle has a two step journal on one end, making the ends different. NWSL would have done it, but I felt the setup charge I could do without. Out came the Unimat and a bit of machining to get what I wanted. The case in point here is that in order to reach the P48 state for those particular trucks is that it involved four manufacturers to reach completion, Atlas, Jim Lincoln, NWSL, and me. Of course, they also received Protocraft couplers, cutlevers, and my working magnetic airhoses. There was also the learning curve…..
    P48 does equal persistence,
    Ben Brown

  2. mike

    In more ways than I can name, P48 is nothing but persistence.