Sunday, August 13, 2017

Question: Was this the inspiration for E. L. Moore's Rocky Ridge Depot?

[A small station on the HO Kansas City South Park Railroad as shown in the February 1958 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.]

Answer: no.

I had some fun building an N-scale version of E. L. Moore's Rocky Ridge depot a few years back. Mr. Moore published it in the April '64 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, and in the introduction mentions having built my first one some ten years ago. I'll assume his recollection of dates is correct, so that places it in 1954, well before the 1958 publication date of that photo. This is something I often wrestle with on the E. L. Moore trail: trying to make sure dates make some sense in linking potential inspirations to E. L. Moore, and trying to make sure I don't jump the gun on attributing things that may have been fairly commonplace in an earlier era with some insight unique to E. L. Moore. 

In this situation, so far it's just an interesting coincidence. Maybe the two projects have a common ancestor, but only time and continued reading might tell.


  1. Could be. It's fun looking through those old issues, isn't it? Honestly, I got so much more out of Model Trains (same era) than the latest issues of model magazines.

    1. There might be some way out chance that that one in the picture is the one ELM built 10 years previous and then sold, but it seems like a long-shot.
      I am finding the old MCs, RMCs and RMs to be great fun. Reading one after the other in sequence gives a different perspective on the subject. The new mags - and this is just my biased opinion - have great modelling in them - no question about that - but they lack a certain energy. I think the vibe has shifted long ago to personal blogs and forums. But, like Stella, they can always get their groove back - or maybe I just need to see things differently :-)

    2. There is definitely some great modeling today... but I got far more inspired by the old articles. I think they were more do-able and were written better.

      Most articles don't even come with scale drawings anymore. They might offer them on their website, but years from now, if I choose to build that model, will the plans still be there?

      Remember when MR layout tours got too formula, so they made up a little box near the scale layout plan with all the techno-info like minimum radius, rail size, methods used, etc? Now I think they've fallen right back into formula, despite it. There's nothing interesting to read now. I can go on and on about each model I've ever built. How and why I did stuff on my layout. What makes it unusual. But the writers in MR just make me yawn. So you're left only to look at the photos and move on, nothing learned, details left unappreciated. Once in a while, there's something of interest and what do they do with it? Put it in a sidebar! We can't mix that in with the boring article, can we?

    3. I have a hard time critiquing the state of the model railroading press because I have a hard time disentangling my personal preferences from what the market wants. I have no insight into the market. I can only assume that the current mags have it sized up correctly because they manage to stay in business - maybe even grow, but I don't know if times are good or bad for them. My preference is I'd like to see a little more adventurousness in what is published - for example, I'd like to see an issue or two without the usual things and just photos, full page and dramatic without words, just photos showing off people's work and visions. It wouldn't sell or make money, but it would give some real insight. There might be a publication in this world that has done that. There's certainly a lot more going on than I'm aware of.

    4. I think the business of model railroading is content with everyone buying stuff and not really building stuff. Keeps them in business, but I find it unsatisfying. It becomes a collection, nothing more.

    5. Agree that the emphasis does seem to be on buying. There's always been a purchasing aspect to the hobby, but these days it seems to dominate far more than it did. In a way it's just following the trend in mainstream society. Back in the '70s when I first getting into the hobby, the thing that got me hooked was scratchbuilding buildings . . . no surprise given the ELM series :-) . . . and I was a purist and considered assembling building kits a sacrilege and 'cheating' :-) ... kits are cool and I've built my share over the years but I still like scratchbuilding better because once you've got a little skill you can build just about anything you want and not just generic kits that are for sale. I know my builds aren't the greatest, but I always take some pride in them and I always learn something along the way. I find it fun.