Is anyone else here an adherent of Ellison's philosophy of model railroading? Like him I view the layout as the stage and the trains as the actors. For me operation is the play which I write and rewrite to mimic prototype railroad operations of transporting goods and people.

 

I was finally able to recently score a hardcover edition of his book on Ebay and it is fun refreshing my memory about his philosophy and methodology and  how he brought it to life with his Delta Lines O scale empire. Lots of the techniques he used are now obsolete but his operating schemes are as fresh now as in 1954 when the book was published.

 

Lew              

 

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Lew

 

All photos are mine unless specifically noted otherwise.

 

Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

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Hadn't occurred to me,  but my operating philosophy is very Ellisonesque,  in that my main raison d'etre is entertaining the viewer. 

'Course,  I wind up being more like the roadside carnival set up in the local parking lot than anything else. 

Dangit, now I'm jonesing for a candy apple.   

Mitch  

It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!

 

Remember, SCROUNGE!

My parents bought me that book when I was 8 years old. Needless to say I still have it. It has a well worn look now, after 60 plus years of use. This book is why I changed to 2 rail O scale later in life.

 

Growing up in New Orleans I wish we had known of Frank's Delta Lines as it would have been fun for my Dad and me to belong to it. I was only about 8 years old in 1954 and had never seen a layout other than the Christmas displays in downtown New Orleans. I used to use my American Flyer 'Pike Planner' to draw layouts and imagine scenery and long trains often.

Last edited by c.sam

I, too, am a fan of Ellison's philosophy, and I remember reading his 5 or 6 part series on building a model railroad for operation in Model Railroader magazine back in late 60s or early 70s.  Those articles might even have been a reprint from earlier times because the pictures sure seemed dated.

Before this thread, I did not know of the existence of this book.  Would someone please identify the publisher so I might attempt to find a copy?

Thanks,

Chuck

Looking at the pages you posted takes me back to my layout of the 1950s - although it was nothing like Ellison's. The text, diagrams and black-white photo remind me of how exciting model railroading and layout building were for me as a youngster. I also like his language and thoughtful analysis of operations. To me, so much more interesting than reading about decoders.

MELGAR

Frank Ellison was my inspiration for creating what I believe to be the most realistic looking model railroad of his era and perhaps of all time.  As a scratch builder , over a 15 year period recreated the Delta Lines layout going by Franks articles in Model Builder Magazines. Part of his legacy was his writings and while the original layout was mostly destroyed in a truck accident while being moved from New Orleans, the layout lives on in my basement here in NJ.

 

Note these are old photos. More detail has been added. Will try to update later today.

Builder of the Hill Lines ( New Delta Lines). Recreating history for the model RR community.

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PRR1950 posted:

I, too, am a fan of Ellison's philosophy, and I remember reading his 5 or 6 part series on building a model railroad for operation in Model Railroader magazine back in late 60s or early 70s.  Those articles might even have been a reprint from earlier times because the pictures sure seemed dated.

Before this thread, I did not know of the existence of this book.  Would someone please identify the publisher so I might attempt to find a copy?

Thanks,

Chuck

It is one of the Arco "Hobby Handy Books" from the Do-It-Yourself series from Arco Publishing Co., Inc., 480 Lexington Avenue, New York City 17, New York (two-digit postal zone shows that it predated zip codes).  I found my copy in 2001 at Reed's Hobby Shop in San Diego but nowadays you'd probably have better luck on the bay.  I consider this the second most valuable guide to model railroading; the first is Ellison's "The Art of Model Railroading" which appeared as a series in Model Railroader magazine (twice) and which I believe has been made available as a download.     

PRR1950 posted:

I, too, am a fan of Ellison's philosophy, and I remember reading his 5 or 6 part series on building a model railroad for operation in Model Railroader magazine back in late 60s or early 70s.  Those articles might even have been a reprint from earlier times because the pictures sure seemed dated.

Before this thread, I did not know of the existence of this book.  Would someone please identify the publisher so I might attempt to find a copy?

Thanks,

Chuck

Ebay is a good source for Ellison's book. One comes up for auction every now and again, several times a year at least. I paid $22.00 on Ebay for my copy.

Lew

 

All photos are mine unless specifically noted otherwise.

 

Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

Dennis LaGrua posted:

Frank Ellison was my inspiration for creating what I believe to be the most realistic looking model railroad of his era and perhaps of all time.  As a scratch builder , over a 15 year period recreated the Delta Lines layout going by Franks articles in Model Builder Magazines. Part of his legacy was his writings and while the original layout was mostly destroyed in a truck accident while being moved from New Orleans, the layout lives on in my basement here in NJ.

 

Note these are old photos. More detail has been added. Will try to update later today.

Thanks so much for posting this, including the pics!

Lew

 

All photos are mine unless specifically noted otherwise.

 

Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

Without really knowing it, I've been a longtime subscriber to Ellison's philosophy. I picked it up from the softcover Kalmbach book, "Track Planning for Realistic Operation", back in the 80's. That book may have actually credited him for the concept.

I designed my layout as a loop to loop operation, with staging yard built on a reverse loop. The "on stage" part of the layout forms the other loop, but it's very difficult to see that it's a loop, because the tracks come back together off stage, inside the helix. Trains only pass through each scene once. Go around the loop clockwise and you're heading west, counter clockwise and you're heading east.

0 layout loop 

It helps that I'm modeling a 60 mile section of the prototype at about 10:1 compression.

Actually, the railroads have evolved quite a bit since those books were written. Basic switching is still the same, but mainline operations have really changed.

Trucking and air travel have forced this. It's not a bad thing, it's just different from the 40's and 50's. Far fewer industries are served by rail, but the ones that are, make up for the losses with volume. The large modern railroads have been boiled down to their essence, by spinning off many of their branches to create short lines.

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