1) You won't take a highway unless it parallels a railroad line.
2) 95% of your photo collection is of locomotives and rolling stock instead
of family and friends.
3) You honestly think it's a capital crime to discard old railroad magazines.
4) You wear a pair of striped overalls, a cap, and a red vest covered with
insignia of every major railroad imaginable.
5) You describe colors as Daylight Orange, Brunswick Green, Glacier Blue,
Harbormist Gray, and Boxcar Red.
6) You have four shoe boxes filled with discarded hornhook couplers "just
7) You've ever used Instant Weathering spray paint to rescue models that
didn't turn out right.
8) You spend $500.00 on a brass locomotive to pull a $1.95 caboose.
9) You request the trackside rooms at the Fort Worth Ramada Inn.
10) You eat at "Big Boy" restaurants because if just seems right.
11) You collect CD's of various train sounds to differentiate between a
567 and a 645 prime mover.
12) Your eyes glaze over when you hear words like SD70MAC or DASH 8-40C.
13) You buy your daughter a Baldwin piano only to find out it wasn't built
at Eddystone after all.
14) When you see the word LIMA, you don't think of Peru or butterbeans.
15) Your blood pressure rises over the centerfolds in one of the model
16) You think rail nippers are the best modeling tool ever invented.
17) You know how to correctly pronounce Mallet, Boxpok, and Walschaerts.
18) You think a train party is a big model railroad meet.
19) You have a complete set of Walthers catalogs dating back to 1935
20) You camp out overnight to get tickets to a model train swap meet.
21) You deprive yourself of food on a trip to buy more film.
22) You think a reefer is a car you ship frozen foods in.
23) You've ever run a model diesel without its handrails.
24) You've ever MU'd two model locomotives with the same road number.
25) You have ever walked on water to get to your favorite trestle photo
26) You've ever run doublestacks behind a model steam locomotive.
27) You've got more unassembled kits in the closet than in Walther's warehouse.
28) You have superdetailed Athearn diesels that rival Overland brass but
honestly don't know how to install Kadees on them.
29) You've ever used rail nippers to remove low hanging Kadee coupler pins.
30) You can't do the dishes because the sink is occupied by plastic body
shells soaking in brake fluid.
31) You place your thumb on the most visible spot of a model to see if
your paint is dry.
32) You write a letter to SANTA FE at Christmas.
33) You name your cat "Chessie".
34) You think dust is a pretty good form of weathering.
35) You hoard horn-hook couplers. - AC New additions
from RR (No kidding!)
36) You describe a baby carriage an an 0-4-0
37) Your vacation plans always include major railroad stops such as museums,
railfan areas, and/or rail excursions.
38) You look for a bigger house because your layout has outgrown your garage
or basement, or if you have LGB, you shop for a bigger yard.
39) You put a box of model trains into your car and immidiately triple
the vehicle's value.
Military Specifications (MIL-STD) Can, and Do, Live Forever
The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet,
8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads
were built by English expatriates.
Why did the English people build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the
pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.
Why did they use that gauge? Because the people
who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for
building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? If they
tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old,
long distance roads, because that's the spacing of the old wheel ruts.
So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance
roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions.
The roads have been used ever since.
And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match
for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots.
Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike
in the matter of wheel spacing.
Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United States
standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original
specification (Military Specification ) for an Imperial Roman army war
chariot. Mil Specs and Bureaucracies live forever.
So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's
ass came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman
chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends
of two war horses.
from SM, Southbridge, MA
The steam locomotive teaches us that the railway age was a totally viable
and a civilized alternative to the hideous consequences of basing national
economies on road transportation. CG
Chariot wheels were 4'8" apart, as were the original railways. The extra
1/2" was added later to decrease friction. TB