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September 1992 - Page 4


TO THE ED ITO R
Yes for New NMRA Standards

Dear Randy, I agree whole-heartedly w ith your June editorial that i t is time for a new set of c learance standards to accommodate larger mod em cars. While these cars are only now becoming more prevalent on model layouts due to the growth of modem prototype modeling and now readily available plastic kits for them, they are not a new development, as the prototypes for 85'-plus piggybacks, auto racks and h igh cube boxes date back to the early 1 960s. The clearance problem has been made worse by the advent of double stacks, which both stand high in the air and ride low to the track. Additionally, stand-alone cars such as the Walthers Thrall c a r and the upcomi ng A - Li n e G u nderson Husky Stack have e x tremely long w heelbases which produce severe overhang on curves. Problems have occurred on my own layout with the low slung cars h i tting objects on the ground which standard-floor height cars w i th the same overhang would have cleared. While the NMRA should develop a new set of standards based on modem clearances, I would not want to hold my breath waiting for them, since it i s my belief that modem prototype modeling is still not really accepted by the powers that be in the NMRA, who appear to be stuck in the steam and transition eras where few freight cars are over 50' long and l 5 ' high. If this is the case, then they have been totally remiss in their role as the self-proclaimed "standards bearer" of the hobby. Hopefully the continuing rise of modern prototype modeling will help to change this attitude. Such parochialism may be part of the reason why, as the hobby has grown, NMRA membership has remained virtually static for many years. I am not now nor have I ever been a member of NMRA as I feel that my interests are not reflected in the organization. The most important ingredient for any new standards will be leadership, but none appears to be in sight, at least at any official level . How about it NMRA? Thanks for the opportunity to put in my two cents worth. Gary A. Smith Baltimore, M D

type and be labeled as to what it represents so that the purchaser does not have to do weeks of research . Look at non-railroad plastic models ... there i s no doubt when you look at the box exactly what the kit is a model of. There is no generic bomber kit, but we are stuck w i th generic boxcar k i ts . Seems very s i l l y in that light, doesn't it? As for the only possible excuse we have, i.e., our models run, other models don't...well, every time I go on a layout tour at a con vention that theory is shot down right away. Our models are sup posed to operate, which is a whole different thing. Very often they don ' t, although I am sure that Jim S i x ' s models run perfectly. Bet ter machinery inside our locomotives does make a difference . You are far better off to have one good-running locomotive than four poor-running locomotives. Keep it up guys ... you sure give me my money ' s worth ... thanks again for making the magazine so much better. . . . Roy R. Platt Beverly Hills, CA

Randy: Was surprised at the impassioned yelpings (May '92) of a few of your prune-lipped readers about J i m S i x 's initial spread on his Conrail GP40-2 (March '92). Enough taken aback to dig out the offensive issue and read it for myself. I hadn't read it on arrival/initially because it was HO, not N; then it's Conrail, a terrible name; and, last, I detest anything blue, especially a l ight blue. Countering all this was a known author, but time didn't permit reading the article back then. Hey, that' s a fine article in the March issue. I couldn ' t've done better mineownself - which is to say he writes l i ke I enjoy read ing. HO, Conrail, and light blue be d -d: an excellent article .... May issue, that was the best how-to I've seen on heli xes .... You 're doing a great job, overal l - not enough N (like 1 00%), too many eastern roads ( 1 00% Pacific Northwest'd be fine), but within your narrow parameters - wow!
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( / h ave been assured b y NMRA president Eric L undberg that
NMRA is actively working on updating the clearance standards gauge, but it will lake time. / would, however, like to remind all non-NMRA members that the way to affect teer-run organization is to join and get involved. No one can lead a group if they haven'tfirstjoined it. -Randy)

Ed Henson S itka, AK

H as Gotten Worse

MRG Is Getting Better

Dear Mr. Lee: The best way to tell you how much I enjoyed the article by Jim Six (March ' 92) is to renew my subscription .... I r eally like your magazine. I t seems to get better with each issue. There is a need for a magazine w i th honest reviews. Manu facturers need to see that the models they make should be models of something. They should simulate the prototype. The brake parts should be i n the right places. The dimensions should approximate the prototype. A model should not have features of several prototypes all rolled into one, but rather be a model of just one particular proto-

Dear Mr. Lee, .. .! have been meaning to write to you regarding what I believe is a decline in the "content" of your magazine. In my opinion, there is way too much emphasis on articles deal ing with prototype, whether it be engines, freight cars or passenger cars. I ' m not totally against this type of article, but not three or four per issue . . . ! t hink you ' l l see this trend for many of the issues during the past year or so. Seems to me you forgot the name of your magazine - Model Railroading. It looks l ike i t almost could be called R ailroad ing! . .. You should get rid of so many prototype articles/pages and get back to model train articles/layouts .. .! look forward to a change for the better. Jack Brown Davenport, IA

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