By this I mean freight cars from historical layouts of prominence. I was reminded of this topic while writing my previous post, an appreciation of Frank Ellison and all that he pioneered in our hobby. (Here’s a link to that post: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2023/05/frank-ellison-appreciation.html .) Ellison’s completeness of layout and serious operating approach captivated me even in my youth.
There was a very informative article about Frank’s Delta Lines layout in the November 1955 issue of Model Railroader. The article emphasized how the operating crew, anywhere from six to eighteen people, ran the layout. In the photo below, John Kolp at left, and Ellison himself at right, are making a meet between two trains at Marthaville, both using the same local “cab” control panel. Both wear intercom headsets so that they can communicate with the dispatcher over a “party line.”
I remembered that I do own a Delta Lines freight car (in HO scale, so obviously not a souvenir of Ellison’s O-scale layout), purchased from a second-hand seller, and probably one of the “famous” freight cars produced by NMRA a couple of decades ago. I believe it’s an InterMountain box car.
Turning to the Gorre & Daphetid, I have previously mentioned the G&D freight car I created (the railroad name was pronounced, as most people know by now, “gory and defeated,” in the sense of “after the battle”). That post can be found here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2019/07/thoughts-on-john-allen-part-2.html .
Back when photos by John Allen of his second G&D layout were frequently the centerpiece of Varney ads on the back cover of Model Railroader, one of them gave me a clear view of Allen’s lettering on a Varney stock car, G&D 45, in the foreground. Incidentally, I also loved the icing platform at photo center, and once owned the Fine Scale Miniatures kit for this structure, intending to build it for my layout — but sold the kit and moved on.
If you’d like a closer look at the stock car, you can click on the image above to enlarge it.
The “Wild West” kind of lettering for the road name on the stock car could be duplicated . . . but what about the G&D emblem? I hunted through John’s magazine articles until I found a good image I could photocopy, then reduced it to appropriate size on paper and added it to the model. I used a Train Miniature HO stock car, definitely a better model than the old Varney car.
That brings me to my third car of this kind, from another layout that I admired, and a modeler that I respect: Allen McClelland. I recently reviewed the new book about McClelland’s Virginian & Ohio layout and all the things he pioneered in the hobby, an excellent book by Tony Koester (that review is here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2023/04/koesters-book-on-mcclelland-and-v.html ).
Below is a photo from the Koester book, showing Allen with a hand-held throttle, controlling the coal train on the main line at Fullerton, Virginia. It looks like every car is a V&O hopper.
Years ago, when I lived in Pittsburgh, PA, in NMRA’s Mid-Central Region, the region had a promotion in which V&O hopper cars were sold to raise money (and of course Allen got a full set of all the car numbers made, which if I recall correctly were all numbers he hadn’t yet included in his fleet).
I don’t move a great deal of coal on my layout, especially in eastern-road hoppers, but when I do, occasionally this car will show up in an operating session; most will recognize it as an Athearn offset-side twin.
None of these are, of course, lettered as models of prototype rolling stock, yet they represent hobby pioneers who did much to bring us to where we are today. So yes, they do appear in an operating session from time to time, my own small homage to the accomplishments of these three layout builders and operators.