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Sunday, June 22, 2003

7+ Railroader Magazine 

For rail fans of all sorts this is an excellent magazine to subscribe to. The publication is heavy in pictures and descriptions of railroad operations. There are ads for just about all manner of railroad information. You can find out where tourist trains are running and order books and videos about trains as well as find out what trains are discontinuing operations and where you can buy railroad equipment. The stories seem to be fact filled essays illustrated liberally with pictures and are tailored to people who want to know everything there is to know about trains.

In the copy I just finished reading, there was a story about the Wisconsin Central railroad ceasing operations. They showed the locomotives and talked about he trackage and the people that put the railline together from scraps of other railroads. The stories and facts were crafted together to make the piece interesting to the reader and especially to a rail fan.

If you are looking for a magazine targeted to folks who own and build 1.5" scale trains, then this is your magazine. The usual articles feature equipment and locations that feature rail for the 7.25 and 7.5" equipment. This is the most popular riding size made. The scale may be 1.4, 1.5 or 1.6 or larger, if the maker is modeling narrow gauge, depending on the design. Most live steam sites seem to include 7.5" track (or 7.25" if out east) as a matter of standard. The articles are easy reading and appeal to most live steamers. This is a definite to subscribe.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Book Review - Engineering Handbook for Recreational Railroaders 

I recently purchased this publication from The 7+ Railroader folks at 7+ Railroader Magazine. You can order this directly from Railroad Supply and save a couple of dollars. I like the people at 7+ Railroader Magazine so I ordered it from them - remember - you vote with your dollars. Who you support makes a difference.

This Handbook is more of a collection of stories by various authors and the writing is uneven at best. This is not to say it is not a valuable publication - quite the contrary. I recommend everyone thinking about starting in the scale railroad hobby get a copy as soon as they think they are interested in the hobby. It tells you general information that you might pickup at a live steamers meeting and then again you might be reluctant to ask. It is not simply tables and charts of expansion coefficients and durability of metals. The handbook is written in a folksy way and although it does include specific information such as track sizes and strengths it also shows you how to layout a switch and the common flaws in switch design. You will find instructions on how the track must increase gauge on a curve for the locomotive drivers to fit and standard sizes of curves and switches. You will find an excellent tutorial on how to construct a ballasted roadbed that will remain weed-free and dry.

The handbook is plastic bound and the paper is relative low grade so this is something you will have to use care with when you turn the pages. The covers are plastic and the book should be a reference you will use for years. I do think it is time for another version to be produced with better editing and better publishing - i.e. better binding and perhaps heavier paper. This is a publication that is sorely needed and useful - even as it is. I applaud Railroad Supply for their first effort and encourage them to follow on or pass the publication on to another organization to develop for the hobby.


For rail fans of all sorts this is an excellent magazine to subscribe to. The publication is heavy in pictures and descriptions of railroad operations. There are ads for just about all manner of railroad information. You can find out where tourist trains are running and order books and videos about trains as well as find out what trains are discontinuing operations and where you can buy railroad equipment. The stories seem to be fact filled essays illustrated liberally with pictures and are tailored to people who want to know everything there is to know about trains.

In the copy I just finished reading, there was a story about the Wisconsin Central railroad ceasing operations. They showed the locomotives and talked about he trackage and the people that put the railline together from scraps of other railroads. The stories and facts were crafted together to make the piece interesting to the reader and especially to a rail fan.

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