Old 09-18-2003, 08:57 PM   #1
mojo628
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Now I'm looking for railroad maps. Know of any good atlas style maps geared toward railroading?

I've seen an add in Trains magazine for SPV's Railroad Atlas. Anybody seen or heard about these?

Looking for maps in TN, AR, MS area. My stomping grounds.
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Old 09-19-2003, 11:07 PM   #2
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Default SPV maps.

I never go railfanning without my SPV maps if I can help it. I have the Northeast, Appalachian/Piedmont, and Southwest editions. They are accurate, informative, very useful when planning photo-tactics, and reasonably priced.

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Do you ever get up around Prairie County AK? I'm trying to track down a great-great uncle who may, or may not have died at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee in 1864. Even a general description of the area would be helpful. Of course a railfan briefing wouldn't be unwelcome either. We are planning to head that way next summer for some research and to donate some very old photographs of the area to the local museum and/or historical society.
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Old 09-20-2003, 04:37 AM   #3
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I've been looking into the SPV maps. They appear to be quite handy.

Quote:
Do you ever get up around Prairie County AK? I'm trying to track down a great-great uncle who may, or may not have died at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee in 1864. Even a general description of the area would be helpful.
I'm sure you ment Prairie County, AR?
Don't know much about that area at all. It's about 100 miles west of Memphis on I-40. That would be the extent of my knowledge there.

To answer your e-mail question on depot gables. That was the standard construction in this area for the time period.
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Old 09-20-2003, 07:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: SPV maps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mu23
Do you ever get up around Prairie County AK? I'm trying to track down a great-great uncle who may, or may not have died at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee in 1864. Even a general description of the area would be helpful. Of course a railfan briefing wouldn't be unwelcome either.
It's a very rural, agricultural-based county -- a lot of prairie-type flatlands and river bottomlands planted in rice, soybeans, cotton and corn. I would suppose you're planning on staying in Little Rock, since it's less than an hour away and there'll be few places in Prairie Co to stay. All that agriculture also makes it one of the great duck-hunting capitals of North America, so if you're visiting in the fall/winter, expect to see clouds of waterfowl.

I'm sure a major E-W rail-line parallels Interstate 40 through the county; that's all I know about that.

I'm sure this isn't much help, but it's all I know.

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Old 09-20-2003, 01:10 PM   #5
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Default Rail Atlas'

A new edition of the U.S. Railroad Traffic Atlas is coming out soon, it covers the whole U.S. and can be useful, author is Harry Ladd. I flipped through it once at the Smithsonian Bookstore and it looked pretty good. The word traffic in the title is not misleading, every rail route contains info on how much traffic the line gets, and can be very useful for planning. There is also the "Professional Railroad atlas of North America" which covers the nation, not as detailed as the SPV editions and a bit pricey at $70.00. Both of the above can be had at the Altamont Press site altamontpress.com. Altamont publishes a useful series of what they call railfan timetables. They resemble an employee timetable and are full of useful info, unfortunately the series does not cover the whole U.S., but maybe they will in the future.
Sorry about messing up my state abbreviations and yup, I meant AR And the info on Prairie County was helpful thanks. It's not a place that gets a lot of headlines and just knowing that it is still very rural will help with the trip planning. For one, it greatly increases the odds that my G-G-G-grandfathers house may still be standing. This year we went to Tucumcari, NM and waltzed right over to my G-G grandfathers house, uninhabited and in perfect shape. My mom hadn't been there since 1937 and was overjoyed to see the place again. It is also in an agricultural area where things don't get torn down very often. (Including Tucumcari's Union Station, still standing.)
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Old 09-21-2003, 07:55 AM   #6
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DeLorme puts out a topographic map for each state which I NEVER, EVER leave home without (if I do, I'll be buying a new one on the road!).

They are about $17 a pop, but are well worth the money. They show railroads and every backroad and sideroad you would ever think of. These are a MUST if you are wanting to explore and find new photo spots.

Chris
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Old 09-21-2003, 05:32 PM   #7
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I've got a Delorme for Tennessee and it has come in handy.

I use a locally produced map set for Memphis itself. This set has almost 200 pages with each page representing 1 1/2 miles by 1 1/2 miles and it's spiral bounded. Very acurate for all the tracks coming through town.

I'm thinking about the SPV maps for my area but would have to get a couple to cover TN, MS and AR.

My last option would be to wonder aimlessly about the country and hope that I crossed a track every now and again.
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Old 09-22-2003, 09:54 PM   #8
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I use Delorme map software along with their new GPS module plugged into a tablet-PC and it really does save me a lot of time. Often, I'll start with the SPV map to find features on a rail line that could be interesting and then pinpoint the exact location in the map software. The GPS monitors my progress in real time (+/- 5 seconds); when I make a wrong turn I know it right away. The GPS unit is small enough to loop over the rearview mirror and is much more sensitive than my Garmin.
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Old 09-22-2003, 11:55 PM   #9
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who much does a GPS unit cost?
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Old 09-23-2003, 03:44 AM   #10
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Consumer GPS devices range from around $100.00 (USD) to $800.00. A basic unit won't be able to load any map software, making it impractical for what we want to do. The unit I was referring to costing $129.00 (with Street Atlas software included) is a nice deal, but it has to be plugged into a PC, laptop, or PDA.
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Old 09-24-2003, 01:55 AM   #11
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...up to 800!
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Old 09-24-2003, 02:08 AM   #12
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The 800$ stuff is for Yuppies who need to know where they are and need other people to know how much it cost them to find it out. You can get something good with map software for a couple of hundred. Check Amazon, Google, etc. Now if you really want sticker shock, search for some prices on the GPS units that are used in professional apps like surveying.
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Old 09-24-2003, 03:13 AM   #13
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I see, thanks.

But I was just curious. I'm probably not going to buy one anytime soon.

Thanks for the info, though.
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Old 09-24-2003, 01:31 PM   #14
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I find it to be useful in the crowded East where there are a lot of roads and less useful in regions where there isn't much infrastructure. I wonder if Delorme's topo maps show National Forest roads; that would be very helpful in states that have a lot of logging activity. It could prove valuable for historical research too; old ROW's have a good habit of staying on the maps for a long, long, time. I got to witness an interesting usage of GPS in South America (where stealing native lands is almost as popular as it is here), handheld units where given to members of various Indian Tribes who would bookmark their positions every so many hours to document which land they really did use. The country we were in hasn't been mapped well at all, so the project also yielded up some good info for the cartographers. This was all on a budget of less than a thousand U.S. for a project that spanned months and months.
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