Besides the obvious usefulness of having these photos to be able to model the locomotives accurately and realistically, I find the little stuff found in the photos that have nothing to do with the locomotive proper to be of great value. These things can go a long way towards increasing the depth and richness of the modeling experience by providing insight into the details and context of the railroad one is modeling.
For instance, in the photo of no.19 above, there are several small piles of sand around the tracks from locomotives trying to get some starting tracking I presume. This is probably at a place where either road locomotives hook on to the trains at departure tracks or possibly some particular shunting location at the end of a classification area, etc. The photo above is from Jersey City, and if I knew the yard better, I could tell where this is by the building in the background.
I've modeled these sand piles before on Chuck Ellis' railroad in the yard and at passenger stations that are on grades, etc., but I had kind of forgotten about that particular element until seeing this photo. That makes it worthwhile to browse through the books and photos every once in a while to remember these already known elements and to find new ones. Cataloging these photos I have and applying tag words to their files makes it easy to find everything taken in Jersey City, for example, for either quick reference or browsing collections. This may seem like a chore, but the act of organizing allows for dedicated time to focus on the photos in a directed way that can yield deeper understanding and information about the photos themselves because of the increased attention and purposeful scrutiny. This can make for nice collateral value from the research process.
|No 614 in Buffalo, NY 12 February 1960. Besides the general locomotive information, the structure of the power poles is a good bit of modeling information.|
|No.707A looking smart outside Maybrook, NY, 24 February 1960. Look how and where the snow has clung to the coupler and pilot.|