Scratchbuilding, Marx-style

I saw a modern-production Lionel box car in a hobby shop one weekend. I wanted it, but I really wanted it in Marx 3/16 style, so it would look right with my Marx #54 KCS diesels pulling it. But I face very long odds of ever getting that car in Marx 3/16 unless I build it myself.

So I started building. And you can too.

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The difference between local and traveling train shows

I took my family to a train show–The Great Train Expo–this past weekend. I’ve been going to shows for about 8 years or so, and while we had fun, I ended up not spending any of the money I brought with me. At least not on myself. I think I have an idea why. There’s a difference between local and traveling train shows.
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Why do European trains look so much better than U.S. trains?

I guess there’s something floating around Facebook right now comparing sleek, elegant European trains against clunker, junky trains that roam the rails in the United States. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve already had some questions about it.

There was a time when U.S. trains were pretty bleak to look at, but that time isn’t now.

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Greenberg’s Marx Trains Pocket Price Guide, 9th edition: A review

I received my copy of the new 9th edition of the Greenberg Pocket Price Guide for Marx trains this past weekend. Marx used to print on its packages, “One of the many Marx toys. Have you all of them?” This book won’t completely answer that question, but at the very least, it gives you a start, and helps you avoid paying too much for the ones you don’t have yet.

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My latest excursion to the east side

Yesterday, after a long day and a long week, Gatermann called me up and asked if I wanted to go to the east side.

So we met up before lunch and paid a visit to one of the east side’s finer establishments, and I brought my camera. Sometimes the things you see over there are pretty dirty, but this time we saw real beauty, and I brought back a picture… from the Kansas City Southern railyard.

This is KCSM 4679, a General Electric ES44AC diesel-electric “GEVO” (General Electric Evolution) locomotive painted up in the Kansas City Southern’s new old paint scheme. Some 50 years ago, KCS used a colorful paint scheme, called the Southern Belle, much like this one. Retro paint schemes are in these days–the Union Pacific started the trend by painting up some locomotives in schemes honoring the railroads they’ve taken over through the years, and judging from the current appearance of UP 1982, the unit painted for the Missouri Pacific, they don’t ever wash those locomotives either (I told you some of the stuff on the east side is dirty)–and the KCS dug out its best paint scheme from the past, updated it a little, and I think the results are striking.

KCSM 4679 is supposed to be painted up for the KCS’ Mexican subsidiary (hence the “de Mexico” on the side) but the front of the locomotive and the herald on the front side says plain old KCS.

There’s some talk that this one’s headed back to the paint shop to replace the herald. The locomotive has been sitting in the yard for the last four days, so this could be the reason.

This is probably stating the obvious, but I’m going to say it. Never actually set foot in a railyard unless you have permission from the railroad. It’s trespassing, and can be dangerous. Stay on public property (the road, shoulder of the road, or sidewalk if there is one) and photograph from there.

I would have liked to have gotten a picture of the UP’s Mopac heritage unit, UP 1982, but when it was sitting in the UP’s Dupo yard there was another train parked in front of it. We were in a decent position to catch the train after it left on its way to Chicago, but it was stuck behind a ballast train doing track maintenance. Unfortunately the last two cars on the ballast train derailed, so UP 1982 stayed parked where we could see it with the naked eye but couldn’t get any good shots of it.

If you’d like to see some shots from the day from the camera of a real, professional photographer, visit Gatermann’s place.

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