Newbie question about prototypes

I'm a disabled retiree just getting back into model railroading after some 50 years, so please bear with me. Where can I find information as to what
equipment, locomotives and rolling stock, was being used in any given era? For example, if I want to model the 1950s, how can I find out just what was running during those years? Are there books or web sites? I just don't want to have a 1910 era steam locomotive pulling a type of tanker only built after 1980. I've tried Googling and looked at various model railroad web sites, but have come up empty as to such basic information.
Thanks.
Bob
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wrote:
Probably the best thing would be to get a book on your favourite railroad and see what is in the photos.

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On 16/01/2012 1:06 AM, Christopher A. Lee wrote:

And/or look for equipment rosters. There are historical societies for all major roads, they offer information both on line and in print. And of course google is your friend: I searched on "1950s railroad images" and got quite few promising hits.
Good hunting! Wolf K.
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Plus, I've found that a lot of old undated railroad photos an be dated with reasonable accuracy by looking at the *other* stuff in the photos. Automobiles, clothing, billboards, etcetera can all give you clues as to when a given photo was taken, and that, by extension, can tell you when those cars, locos, or whatever were working the rails.
For instance, while looking at a photo of an insulated tank car with the platform and handrails around the dome (much like the Athearn "chemical tank car" kit) I noticed a poster in the background that said "NRA: We Do Our Part!" which dated the photo from the '30s. That surprised me, as I'd previously thought that style of tank car originated *after* WW2.
~Pete
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You don't say where you live but this advice should be good for most countries.
The NMRA has recently put a large part of its library of drawings and plans on scanned images. Whether you decide to do this for research I would still suggest you make contact with an NMRA club near to you as you will usually people with a wealth of knowledge to help you.
I know of several modellers who are disabled and may be able to put you in touch with one if you can let me know where you are.
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Mike Hughes
A Taxi driver licensed for London and Brighton
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A slightly different answer. Try browsing train shows, eBay etc. for toy train catalogues from that era, as what the makers were offering then was invariably what was current on full sized railways at the time.
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Graeme, Scotland

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