Friday, July 10, 2015

Sentimental Purchases

The Wordless Wednesday from a few days ago reminded me to share a new purchase I recently made.

While I do plan on modeling the steam era on my Adena part of the NKP's Wheeling District, I am somewhat of an engine collector and can be swayed by certain engine types or road names and sometimes end up purchasing an example. Sometimes this can be way outside my targeted era. I know I'm not the only one out there with this "problem"...

I became a railfan at the end of the Norfolk & Western's corporate life in the 1980's. I watched as the very debonair Southern engines began mixing in with the plain N&W black diesels, to be finally joined by freshly painted engines in the thoroughbred scheme of the new Norfolk Southern railroad.

A common scene from my younger train watching days, a N&W 225 and 237 GP-35 at Brittain Yard, Akron, OH, November 1988. Chris Ellis Photo

I rather liked the drab black N&W paint with its simple white block lettering. As a kid I thought, engines should be black and cabooses red, perfect right?

I moved on into the historical roots of the Norfolk & Western system that I railfanned across Ohio and obviously then discovered charm of the Nickel Plate Road and it's high speed freight philosophy.

However, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for those plain black N&W engines. So about a year ago when Athearn announced a new run of it's SD-40 engine with a high hood nose in that black N&W scheme, I knew I had to get at least one.

These engines ran on coal trains through Adena in the late 1970's and 1980's, and few of these engines numbered in the 1580's were paired with old Fairbanks Morse Trainmaster slugs and assigned to Pine Valley Yard in Dillionvale. So they wouldn't be out of place if they show up every now and then on the layout for fun. But not during any future operating sessions of course!

Athearn N&W 1613 SD-40 and an Atlas Caboose N&W 518655

Athearn's SD-40 run finally came in a couple of weeks ago and I ended up with two of them. Athearn did a real nice job with these, and I'm real happy with their brute looks and pulling power to match. The complimenting Atlas N&W caboose was aquired long ago on a similar whim.

This doesn't signal any kind of a era change or shift in design. I guess it just scratches an itch from old memories.


  1. Hi Chris,

    Being able to scratch the "it's doesn't fit my prototype but I still like it" itch is one reason people participate in modular groups. Please bring the SD-40 and your passenger equipment to a future Free-mo event. Both will look good on our modules!

    Tim Moran

    1. Absolutly! I would love to stretch their legs out on a Free-mo setup. In related news, I've decided that your idea to make the Jug Run Bridge a Free-mo module is the way to go.