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Model Railroader

Model Railroader March 2021

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

3 min
athearn genesis ho scale union pacific ca-8 caboose

Athearn has added several new cabooses based on International Car Co. prototypes to its HO scale Genesis line, including a Union Pacific class CA-8 steel car. The model features numerous prototype-specific details, positionable cupola windows, and factory-installed and painted wire grab irons. Athearn offers the car with a dual-mode NCE light decoder and a SoundTraxx Tsunami SoundCar with a variety of sound and light effects. The prototype. Our sample is decorated as Union Pacific no. 25520, part of the railroad’s 25500 through 25599 series of CA-8 cars. The cabooses were built between June and December 1964. In Cabooses of the Union Pacific Railroad by Don Strack and James L. Ehernberger (Union Pacific Historical Society, 2002), it states, “All 100 CA-8s were upgraded in 1969 to include all features required of cabooses in…

4 min
the ritual of train registers

Many of my recent “On Operation” columns describe the concept of authority for main track train movements. Timetable-and-train-order (TTTO) authority relies on schedules and train orders. However, authority remains subject to superiority. Rule 83 makes this clear: “A train must not leave its initial station on any division, or subdivision, or a junction, or from one of two or more tracks to single track, until it has been ascertained whether all trains due, which are superior, have arrived or left. Stations at which train registers are located will be designated by timetable.” Rulebooks have rested on this principle ever since the Standard Code first took form in the 19th century. Well, okay, how was the arrival and departure of superior trains ascertained? A train register is a written record of train movements kept…

6 min
a team effort on the b&m

For many years, I enjoyed modeling remote-control airplanes. As I got older, I wanted a more creative hobby that I could do at my leisure at home. My first attempt to get into model railroading was a 5 x 9 plywood table with some scenery and an oval of track. I ran the locomotive in circles again and again and got discouraged, because I wanted more out of a hobby. Then a friend of mine who also had model trains suggested I take in some layout tours, which I did with my wife, Mary Ann. My first tour was at an open house hosted by Jason Fontaine (no relation). [Jason’s HO scale Southern New England RR appeared in the July 2010 Model Railroader. – Ed.] Once I wandered through his layout, I…

7 min
ask mr

What’s a “demonstrator” locomotive? Q I’m doing research on the Wisconsin Central, Wisconsin & Southern, and the Soo Line. Some photos I’ve found refer to the locomotives as “demonstrators.” What exactly is a demonstrator locomotive? Bob Vysinka, LaValle, Wis. A When a locomotive manufacturer like Electro-Motive Diesel or General Electric comes out with a new model, it will build a few “demonstrator” models. It will then send these locomotives to railroads for them to try out, in hopes the railroad’s managers will see the advantages of the new model and order some for their roster. Since the demonstrator locomotives don’t belong to the railroads, they’re painted in promotional schemes featuring the manufacturer’s name and logo instead of the railroad’s. The demonstrators usually make their tour of several railroads before being sold and repainted…

3 min
“are you tony koester?” – part 2

Some time ago (June 2017) I wrote about a chance, and very unlikely, meeting with a fellow modeler railroader on a cruise ship bound for Antarctica that began with “Are you Tony?” We had a pleasant but all too brief chat. I think his wife felt he was imposing, but we could have chatted about model railroading all afternoon – which is probably what she feared most. Well, almost the same thing happened again, and I wasn’t even there. When Jeff Wilson and I reviewed several possible candidates for use on the cover of my book Time-Saving Techniques for Building Model Railroads (Kalmbach Books, 2019), one particular shot seemed to stand out. It showed one of the masters of the art of getting more done in less time, Doug Tagsold, working on…

7 min
digitrax ut6d throttle and peco unifrogs

A throttle (cab) is the face to any Digital Command Control (DCC) system. So, ease of use is a driving factor for many modelers when selecting a system. Now that electronics are less expensive than when Digitrax started, the company took all the comments it had received over the years to heart and set out to make its new throttles easier to use. The new UT6 and UT6D (with duplex radio) 1 handily meets this objective. If you’re familiar with the DT602 (DCC Corner, Dec. 2020) or the Zephyr Express, you’ll find that you can instantly use the UT6. If you’re not, the only thing you need to know now is that the power key is the lower left hand key and the quick start guide, if you need it, is…