Rolling Stock

Seasonal Merchandise

I didn’t need this caboose—in my growing collection of Tyco streamlined cabooses, I’ve already got one in the Bicentennial scheme. It was the box that caught my eye. Actually, it was the price tag on the box. Take a close look, it tells a story. Two Guys, a long-defunct discount department store, marked this car down to just 19 cents in 1977. (That’s still less than a dollar in today’s money. I paid $3.) As the kids say, a Bicentennial caboose was so last year by then.

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Hunka Hunka

Collecting Tyco streamlined cabooses has become a hobby-within-a-hobby for me. As caboose models go, the Tyco is an odd duck—it sorta-kinda looks like an Ann Arbor caboose, or maybe a Pennsy N8 with an off-center cupola, but not really. They were ubiquitous in ’70s-era HO scale railroading; every kid I knew with HO had one. These days, they’re easily found at train shows for $5 or less, in a broad variety of paint schemes, even a chrome-plated version, so why not?

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Budd Wiser

When word came round last August that the hobby shop had just gotten in a large N scale collection, I went to see it, thinking I could use another passenger locomotive, or perhaps some more Kato passenger cars. You know, something with lights, that would look good in a darkened driveway. What I found checked both boxes: a Kato RDC (Rail Diesel Car). The prototype was manufactured by Budd, the same company that made those lovely stainless-steel streamliners, and served as a one-car passenger train for railroads working to economize their passenger service. Never mind that none of the railroads I model had RDCs, this one was in Budd demonstrator livery, so it’s easy enough to rationalize its presence in my railroading activities.

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My Inexplicable 44-Year Fascination with One Particular Freight Car


Harold put his O scale layout on the tour for an NMRA division meet a few years ago, so of course I went. I didn’t know him very well, but I was familiar with his work. If you’ve ever picked up an issue of Model Railroader, you’ve seen it, too. He’s written how-to articles, and profiles of prototype short lines, but he’s best known for his drawings. He’s had hundreds of them published over the years. He’s been a fixture in the local NMRA scene for a very long time. (more…)

This is Gonna be Lit

Kato, bless their hearts, makes it easy to add lighting to their N scale passenger cars. Let me rephrase that slightly: mostly easy. Their lighting kits aren’t quite the no-brainer drop-ins they’re intended to be, but I’ve installed enough of them now to know their quirks. (more…)