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Model Railroader

Model Railroader October 2020

The world’s most popular model railroading magazine publishes the information you need to build your own railroad. Get Model Railroader digital magazine subscription today for step-by-step how-to projects; great model train layouts; and realistic track plans. You'll also get reviews of the latest locomotives, rolling stock, and accessories in HO, N, O, and other scales, expert tips, and more!

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United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min
on the web

Video: Tour the HO scale North Western John Mueller’s HO scale Northern Memories layout features first-generation Chicago & North Western diesel power leading trains through beautifully modeled Northwoods scenery. Model Railroader Video Plus subscribers can enjoy this exclusive tour of John’s model railroad. You’ll find hundreds of videos, including layout tours, how-to demos, and more, at MRVP. This web-based video channel provides exclusive content covering all aspects of our hobby. Subscribe at MRVideoPlus.com/27deal. Gallery: More Civil War railroading Thom Radice’s HO scale Western & Atlantic fills a 20 x 38-foot space with scenes inspired by railroading during the American Civil War. Check out Thom’s story and track plan on page 30. Registered users of ModelRailroader.com can click on the link under Online Extras to view a bonus gallery of W&A photos. REHAB THE MR&T Meet Jones…

2 min
introducing a new print and video series

Access to the HO scale Milwaukee, Racine & Troy (MR&T) club layout is an unusual perk of working at Model Railroader magazine. Yes, the editors of MR have our own club railroad, and we’ve been running trains on it for 45 years now. Supported by our publisher, Kalmbach Media, the first MR&T was built in 1975 when our offices were located in downtown Milwaukee. The current railroad was designed in 1989 by Andy Sperandeo when we moved to Waukesha in suburban Milwaukee. But we didn’t just build our layout and call it done. As improved products hit the market and better techniques were developed, we tweaked, modified, and even replaced sections of the MR&T to keep it up to date. These projects generated scores of how-to articles over the years as editors worked out…

14 min
walthers announces next ho name train

The late 1960s combined Santa Fe Super Chief – El Capitan is the next name train from Walthers. Equipment for the HO scale train will start arriving in mid-2021. Wm. K. Walthers Inc. announced that the late 1960s Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe combined Super Chief-El Capitan is its next HO scale WalthersProto name train. The train will feature Hi-Level cars (making their debut as WalthersProto models) and 11 conventional cars assigned to the combined train from the winter months of 1958 into the early Amtrak years. Two newly tooled cars will be released in the name train, a Pullman-Standard (PS) 85-foot Indian-series 11-doublebedroom sleeper ($94.98, April 2022) and a steam generator car. Other PS models include a 74-foot standard baggage car ($84.98, June 2021); 85-foot baggage-dorm transition car ($94.98, July 2021);…

2 min
railway post office

A tower out of time? I enjoyed the article about Michael Tylick’s Marshfield & Old Colony [July 2020]. I did, however, notice an anomaly. The railroad is set in the ’20s and ’30s, but the track plan shows a World War II artillery spotting tower. Was this maybe left over from WWI? Marty Theissen,Minneapolis Mike Tylick responds: Hi, Marty. You’re most likely correct about the artillery tower being from WWII. When I found the prototype, it caught my eye and seemed like a more interesting model than the expected cute lighthouse. When researching the tower, I must have missed the part about which war it’s from. The design is such that it could have been built for either war, and I’m not all that fussy about historical accuracy to begin with. I needed a…

8 min
this “bear trap” caught cinders, not bears

Q In Bob Kuchar’s picture in the 2020 Photo Contest winners [Trackside Photos, July 2020], what’s the purpose of the smokestack being routed to the ground? Since the locomotive has a snow plow in front, I would guess it’s to help melt snow along the tracks, but the pipe only goes down one side. Richard Rustad, Aiken, S.C. A What you see on that locomotive’s smokestack is a Ridgway Spark Arrestor, colloquially known as a “bear trap stack.” Invented by Colorado & Southern Ry. Superintendent of Motive Power H.W. Ridgway, its purpose was to minimize the risk of fire in the dry brush along the C&S’s right-of-way. It doesn’t route the exhaust to the ground; in fact, that tube is capped at the bottom. The purpose of the tube is to collect…

3 min
the ho boxed set explosion

In the 1930s, expensive ready-to-run locomotives and rolling stock were for hobbyists with money but lacking the time, tools, or skills to build them. Some required intense labor to construct. Locomotive kits were offered to appeal to different skill levels. The more work required, the less one paid, and the less work, the more expensive, with ready-to-run being the costliest. Only two late 1930s HO manufacturers sold ready-to-run train sets with track. Mantua offered a three-car freight, with an extra-cost DC power pack, and A.C. Gilbert had two freight sets and one passenger set marketed like tinplate with extracost AC transformers. After World War II, Gilbert provided only ready-to-run HO, ideal for servicemen living in new, basement-less Levittown-type homes, and who remembered the ease of setting up Lionel, American Flyer, or…