Author Topic: I rented a Railroad for $35  (Read 1691 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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I rented a Railroad for $35
« on: September 15, 2010, 09:50:30 PM »
    MODERATORS NOTE:
I rented a Railroad for $35 has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Mike Fox wrote:
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I know it has been discussed, I don't remember if it was here or not, maybe Joe and I discussed it at the BHS last weekend,  but I just picked up a February 1959 Trains Magazine.  In it is the article," I Rented a Railroad for $35". Many pictures I have not seen before. All taken on that weekend. I'll have to sit down tonight and read it. Quite a long article. If I start now I'll never finish the project of the day today.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
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As a follow up fpr those who have not read this before, it is great reading. To sum it up, he rented the railroad at the cost to operate a steam engine ($35) in August of 1940. I wont fill in the details but I found it interesting.
Mike

Bill Sample replied:
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I guess the current "guest engineer" programs that some lines offer did have a precedent.  Thanks to the B&HR scratching for whatever revenue it could find, it lasted long enough for "Saint Ellis" to make his moves.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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Keep in mind that in those days, at the end of the Great Depression, railroads would do anything to make a buck. I have a ticket from an October, 1946, excursion on the East Broad Top, covering the main line plus the Shade Gap and Cole's Valley branches, all for $4.75. Postwar inflation, I guess. Of course, that was all back in the days before liability insurance was a big issue.

A friend of mine told me of chartering an interurban car on the Laurel Line in Pennsylvania for $5, and he and a friend would each chip in $2.50. For that sum, they could ride up and down the line all day long, making photo stops anywhere they wanted to. It was the motorman's job to keep the car out of the way of the regularly-scheduled cars.

John McNamara replied:
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It's plainly time for me to describe "McNamara's Ice Cream Theory of Economics." When I was a kid in the 50's, ice cream cones were 5 cents a scoop. Now, they are more like $1 a scoop, i.e. 20 times as much Therefore, to properly gauge "old days" prices, multiply by 20.

Therefore renting the railroad for $35 was really renting it for $700. That's still a pretty reasonable price, but the EBT excursion for $4.75 x 20 = $95 seems a bit steep.

Unfortunately this suggests that Joe is going to be paying $60 for a three-scoop ice cream cone when he's in his 60's.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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Not at all, John. An all-day pass for the 2006 Fall Spectacular at the East Broad Top RR was $100. I was in Maine building track that weekend, so I didn't attend.

Mike Fox replied:
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John,
Where do you get your Ice cream? I can't even find it for $1 any more.
Mike

John McNamara replied:
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Mike,

That's $1 per small scoop. Therefore, three small scoops or the equivalent thereof for $3.

-John

Mike Fox replied:
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That's more my size.
Mike

Ira Schreiber replied:
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John,
I use a modification of the same theory.
A new low priced car in the middle 50's was $1,500.
Use a x 12 multiplier = $18,000.
Same idea, just a bigger multiplier.
Does NOT work for T.V.'s, however.
New 17" T.V. in 1955 was $400.
New 20" T.V. in 2007 is $99.
Oh well, so much for theories.

petecosmob replied:
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John,
I use a modification of the same theory.
A new low priced car in the middle 50's was $1,500.
Use a x 12 multiplier = $18,000.
Same idea, just a bigger multiplier.
Does NOT work for T.V.'s, however.
New 17" T.V. in 1955 was $400.
New 20" T.V. in 2007 is $99.
Oh well, so much for theories.

There can be only one explination for this!
Psiton flux!  

(I ralize that it is entirely possible that only John and I may be the only ones here that could "get" that, .....if so, John can explain.)
Cosmo[/list]

John McNamara replied:
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"Psiton flux" or "psyton flux" was "discovered" at the Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT. Psytons (pronounced "sight-ons") are sub-atomic particles emitted by the human eyes. The particles have adverse effects upon the object or objects being observed. Their most common manifestation is causing watched pots not to boil. They also cause demonstrations for clients / customers / visitors not to work. The effectiveness of psytons is believed to be dependent upon the importance of the visitor. For example, generals, presidents, and similar important folks that you are trying to impress have very powerful psytons. Psytons are also time invariant. A camera emits the psytons of everyone who will ever see the pictures. The most dramatic effect is obtained with a TV mini-cam from a major television station that is being watched live by thousands of people. WBZ-TV in Boston brought one to the Tech Model Railroad Club. A building front fell in front of a locomotive and caused the locomotive to roll onto its side. The closing credits featured a background of a derailed unit coal train with several cars bouncing along the ties. There were a number of other disasters throughout the show. We were thinking of publishing Psyton Theory in the April Fool's edition of some scientific magazine, but never got around to it.

That said, while I appreciate Pete/Cosmo's providing an opportunity to introduce this important scientific theory to the WWF Forum readers, I'm not sure that it has a relation to Ira's posting. To bring us back to topic, I would note, however, that people explaining proper spiking technique tend to miss more often than they would if no impressionable audience is present. If you have ever wondered why this happens, now you know

Dave Buczkowski replied:
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John;
Though my wife cringes, and even though I was not smart enough to become an engineer, I never tire of nerd humor. My friend, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I am a rocket scientist, Dr. Jim" takes only seconds to get my neurons firing to try to keep up with his puns and humor. The sad part is, I know I'm missing as many as I catch. Thanks for the intelligent laugh and for a logical explanation to a complex mataphysical question!
Dave

James Patten replied:
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John explained this theory to me several years ago.  Because of this, whenever I see Steve H. with his motion camera I try to be especially careful about what I am doing (like spiking on camera).

petecosmob replied:
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Well, since Ira's post stated that TV's were the exception to the rule it seemed obvious to me. TV, psytons, go fig.
What that has to do with anything else in 2'er land I dunno,....
WAIT! That's IT!
The "Masons Wreck!" Psytin flux working backwards through the postcard!
EUREKA!


Ok,...I'll stop now!  

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Or, you could use the "Flux Capacitor" to go back in time to witness the wreck...


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petecosmob replied:
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And here I thought I was getting too silly!
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum