Why do you collect timetables?
#1
I was recently asked this question by a friend of mine. I never really came up with a good answer because I was never asked this question before. But now, after considering "why I really collected timetables", I would like to share it with you.

Collecting timetables started for me while I was working for the railroad. I noticed an ad in our union newsletter from a person who was selling timetables. I was interested in seeing what "other" timetables looked like. Working for NYS&W at the time, it was required that we carried CR,D&H and NJT timetables because we operated on these roads too. So I wrote to this person, who I still chat with today, to send me a list. He sent me a list along with a "few freebies". I was hooked from there.

From collecting timetables, I have learned so much about the history of railroads. Even in the last 25 to 30 years, so much has changed in the railroad world. Mergers, downsizing, spinoffs etc...has changed the landscape. Think about it..we no longer have CR, ATSF, or BN. These "flags" were steadfast in the 90's but are now gone. How long before the next one falls or is absorbed into a merger? Many people turn to pictures or slides to remember "the good old days". I have learned that "the good old days" can also be found in a timetable. How?

A timetable is packed with information about the railroad. It lists all tracks, sidings, mainlines, stations, detectors, trains and just about anything else useful for train operations on that portion of the railroad that the timetable covers. Some timetables list the locomotives used by that road back then, therefor making the timetable a great reference tool. Looking back through some timetables, they reveal information about locations that no longer exist. I agree that "a picture is worth a 1000 words", but a timetable explains how, what and why about that picture.

I look at it this way: when I pick up an "actual" timetable (not a downloaded copy or computer generated illustration), I am picking up an actual piece of history. Something that was printed and used by a railroad that may no longer exist, to cover operations on a piece of track that may have been ripped up years ago. To look at a original cover of a timetable to see a logo that no longer graces the side of a locomotive, rolling stock or caboose, gives me a sense of nostalgia. Sometimes I say "if I could have only seen that". Next to a photograph, a timetable, in my opinion, is the next best way to "have seen that" and relive a railroad moment or memory.

A timetable can also be used as a useful modeling tool as well. You can read through one and gain a lot of knowledge about the railroad you want to model. How many stations did that railroad have and where were they? What RR's did they interchange with and where? What kind of businesses or industries did they serve? What was the speeds used on that track or what type of track did they use? What kind of dispatch system did they use - ctc or manual block train orders? What scheduled trains or passenger trains did they run, and when? What color where the switch targets? What signs or signals did they use? These, and many more questions can be answered just by flipping through the pages.

Well, I've gone on and on here about this topic just to answer 1 question. Why do I collect timetables? For the history. that's why. :o Although the road may be gone, as long as I still have 1 of their timetables, it still lives on. That booklet issued at one time to an employee of that railroad, carries on that roads legacy as long as someone still wants reads about it. It's all about owning a piece of history. That's why I collect timetables.

Corny? :geek: Maybe. What do you think? I'd like some other opinions on this subject. 24
Doing my best to stay on track and to live each day to it's fullest, trying not to upset people along the way. I have no enemies.....just friends who don't understand my point of view.

Steve

Let's go Devils!
Reply
#2
What do I think? I think you answered it enough Goldth you given enough reason and
detailed explination to make it a must have
item for memorabilia Thumbsup

Unfortunately for me I end up skiping them at train shows to buy more rolling stock, but after your post I'll have to look into them more
Tom

Model Conrail

PM me to get a hold of me.
Reply
#3
Steve "FedEx13"

Here are my two Books of Rules. Like I said, I have been using them as guides to develop a Book of Rules for the Lehigh Susquehanna & Western. It will have the same format as the LV one. It takes the LV book as its primary inspiration but there are sections where I borrowed heavily from the CNW.

The light was poor inside, I didn't like what I was getting with the flash so I took them outside, where it was threatening the "every afternoon shower" (take that to mean 20-minute DUMP ... an inch - inch-and-a-half) but the light was interesting so I made use of the tool box in the bed of "Horace" Dodge. [Look him up ... he was one of the Dodge Brothers! Horace Elgin Dodge, Sr. (May 17, 1868 – December 10, 1920)]

Anyway, here are the Rule Books ...

[Image: BooksofRulesfromtheLVandCNW.jpg]

[Image: BooksofRules-theTitlePage.jpg]
biL
Lehigh Susquehanna & Western


"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." ~~Abraham Lincoln

Food for Thought
Reply
#4
Looking back at some of my old posts, this one struck me by surprise. For those of you that know me, you know that I collect railroad timetables, simply because, it's an affordable way to own a piece of railroad history. But reading the first response to my post above, from "a Conrail fan", made me realize...Conrail is now a fallen flag. How quickly time has flown by!

I used to take Conrail timetables for granted. They were easy to find at train shows and really affordable. I'm not going to bore you with, yet another, post on timetable collecting, but, seeing another Class 1 fall by the wayside, makes me realize that those Conrail tt's "aren't so common" anymore.

I used to take that blue and white paint for granted. But what makes it special for me - and what really drives this point home - is the fact that I can say that I worked for Conrail. I used to run trains for a Class 1 that is now gone. All that's left is the history - in a timetable. That makes collecting their material even more special now.

Corny? Maybe, but think, again perhaps, of this:

Where is ATSF, BN, GN, ICG, SP, or even N&W now? These, of course, were the Class 1's of my generation. These roads have all been chewed up and spit out - in one way or another - by other class 1's to either form a larger system or a spattering of shortlines. I always took for granted that these roads would always be around. Boy, was I wrong. I wonder what's next. Will there be a "Super Class 1"? Or will they continue to "spin off" portions of track to form some "Super Shortlines".

I'm not sure what's going to come about in the railroad universe. I do know that the railroads have made a huge comeback over the past decade. In the meantime, I'll keep collecting those little pieces of history. But now, I think I'll pay more attention to the Conrail items.

Conrail, a fallen flag? Nope
Doing my best to stay on track and to live each day to it's fullest, trying not to upset people along the way. I have no enemies.....just friends who don't understand my point of view.

Steve

Let's go Devils!
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)