Incorrect Reference Material

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I am really bummed out. I had a few minutes between activities so I picked up one of my "photo reference" train books about passenger train streamliners. As I thumbed through it, I found several items in the captions that I know are incorrect. Unfortunately, I can't tell what is really wrong the picture or the caption. I just know they don't match. Wrong location, wrong train name, wrong date??? Sigh. I generally depend on these (expensive) sorts of books for information about the prototype. Finding so many blatant errors makes me wonder how much more is incorrect for the more subtle items that I know nothing about. I've definitely added this author to my questionable list, and if I can find the editor I'll add them to. An editor that has any idea about the subject matter should have caught these.

This is one reason one should always be ready to take a second look and reconsider something they "know" from reading a book when someone else shares conflicting information. Just cause it is written in a book, or worse posted on the internet, doesn't make it true.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
That kind of thing has bit me before. Especially the stuff written in books, that's why any researcher worth their pay will consult more than one (in some cases many more than one) source.
 

Boris

Beach Bum
There are times when the photographer's notes are inaccurate. Some times the caption writer misinterprets the photographers notes, and some times the research documents are inaccurate. There are other occasions where the author is just wrong. When one shells out Fifty Bucks + or - for an 80 page hard bound book, one expects the information to be accurate.

Joe
 
I am really bummed out. I had a few minutes between activities so I picked up one of my "photo reference" train books about passenger train streamliners. As I thumbed through it, I found several items in the captions that I know are incorrect. Unfortunately, I can't tell what is really wrong the picture or the caption. I just know they don't match. Wrong location, wrong train name, wrong date??? Sigh. I generally depend on these (expensive) sorts of books for information about the prototype. Finding so many blatant errors makes me wonder how much more is incorrect for the more subtle items that I know nothing about. I've definitely added this author to my questionable list, and if I can find the editor I'll add them to. An editor that has any idea about the subject matter should have caught these.

This is one reason one should always be ready to take a second look and reconsider something they "know" from reading a book when someone else shares conflicting information. Just cause it is written in a book, or worse posted on the internet, doesn't make it true.

I recently found this to be true on some pics on popular websites. Wrong engine model, wrong location, etc. I take it as a typo followed by poor proofreading or disorganization during uploading multiple pics. It's a good practice to get two independent sources of info....or, at least, always suspect a sole source could be inaccurate. Liberal use of "seems to be", "appears to be", "indicates", etc. is better than making a definitely incorrect statement.

But if someone is going to present the info. in a published, pay-to-read form...it better be accurate.
 

DairyStateDad

Mumbling in the corner
James Olson said:
...
But if someone is going to present the info. in a published, pay-to-read form...it better be accurate.

Hear, hear!

Sent from the DairyStatePhone. Typoes and bad auto corrects included at no extra charge.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
What about the stories of events in history when no one is sure what happened?

Several sources with different accounts of the truth?

How many Tuscan Red K4s did the PRR make?

In life "stuff" happens.
 
What about the stories of events in history when no one is sure what happened?

Several sources with different accounts of the truth?

How many Tuscan Red K4s did the PRR make?

In life "stuff" happens.

"History" can *never* be fully trusted because 'the devil is in the details', 'history is written by the victors', 'every great lie begins with a grain of truth', 'the truth is never black and white', 'repeat a lie often enough and it will eventually become the truth', etc.

"How many Tuscan Red K4s did the PRR make?" None. The PRR didn't make K4s, Baldwin did.
[Edit: oops, didn't see re: PRR's Altoona, PA shops...okay, so of the # of K4s made at Altoona, PA, how many were painted Tuscan red?]

[2nd. Edit: Bruette, I still feel this is a trick question. The Wikipedia entry for K4s is probably wrong since it calls Altoona "Juniata" (Altoona predates Juniata), doesn't list those made by Lima Locomotive Works or ALCO...unless these are attributed to Altoona (350) or Baldwin (75). But if the standardized PRR paint scheme dating is correct all locos, incl. the K4s, would have been painted Dark Green Locomotive Enamel "Brunswick Green"....so what's the answer?]
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Charles Smiley

cspmovies
I can tell you most HS and college textbooks I had were peppered with errors. One error in a college math book can keep you up all night trying to figure out why you can't solve the problem!

I find spelling and puncuation errors in almost every book I read. Errors ripple though every segment of life. So is it better to not even have a photo at all if the caption is in error?

I have seen RR books where the page layout guy had captions switched between two facing pages. Boy, that sure made some 'head-scratcher' moments trying to understand the captions.
 
I can tell you most HS and college textbooks I had were peppered with errors. One error in a college math book can keep you up all night trying to figure out why you can't solve the problem!

I find spelling and puncuation errors in almost every book I read. Errors ripple though every segment of life. So is it better to not even have a photo at all if the caption is in error?

I have seen RR books where the page layout guy had captions switched between two facing pages. Boy, that sure made some 'head-scratcher' moments trying to understand the captions.

Oh, well, you're talking about proofreading; not the perpetuation of misinformation, legends, or oversimplifications of the truth.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
"History" can *never* be fully trusted because 'the devil is in the details', 'history is written by the victors', 'every great lie begins with a grain of truth', 'the truth is never black and white', 'repeat a lie often enough and it will eventually become the truth', etc.

"How many Tuscan Red K4s did the PRR make?" None. The PRR didn't make K4s, Baldwin did.
[Edit: oops, didn't see re: PRR's Altoona, PA shops...okay, so of the # of K4s made at Altoona, PA, how many were painted Tuscan red?]

[2nd. Edit: Bruette, I still feel this is a trick question. The Wikipedia entry for K4s is probably wrong since it calls Altoona "Juniata" (Altoona predates Juniata), doesn't list those made by Lima Locomotive Works or ALCO...unless these are attributed to Altoona (350) or Baldwin (75). But if the standardized PRR paint scheme dating is correct all locos, incl. the K4s, would have been painted Dark Green Locomotive Enamel "Brunswick Green"....so what's the answer?]

It is a trick question, some say as many as 10 others say 0. A few say there were a hand full, what ever that is. There is no solid evidence the last I read about it.

Lionel makes a standard O(full O scale) Tuscan Red K4 with Legacy, I want one!

I never did mention Altoona by the way.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Depends on the book but errors happen. Sometimes it's the photographers notes or captions, sometimes things get mixed up during printing or preparation. Those smaller picture books by Morning Sun are nice, and the pics are good but they don't research much. They depend on their contributors for the accuracy of the data. That's why, as has been said, you should check multiple sources when you do your research. The internet is even worse for this. Think Wikipedia. Anyone can post anything!
 

Railphotog

Railroad Photographer
I had two articles in RMC quite some time ago, models partially built using previous articles in the magazine. In both instances the drawings of the prototype had major errors in them, something I discovered using prototype photos. I mentioned the errors in my articles, and they printed corrected plans with them. So anyone using the older plans could have made mistakes; I imagine a brass engine maker could have copied the error in the diesel plans.
 
It's amazing to see the difference in time. When I was in journalism school, learning the business of print journalism, we had one class early on in copy editing and proofreading. After you'd taken that class, heaven forbid if you had an error in a story you turned in! The profs I had were all old newspaper guys with printer's ink in their veins-their idea was that YOU were responsible for mistakes in YOUR copy. With few real journalism programs left in the country-they're mostly "mass communications" now-your looks seem to be more important than your copy.

All of the other reasons that have been mentioned are valid, too. Poor primary source material such as incorrect notes don't help the situation either.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
As with everything else that is produced these days, final quality control has been passed into the hands of the consumer.
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top