CRI&P 628

The ROCKET!  The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific is often forgotten as a diesel pioneer.  Their EMC TA locomotives set the thinking towards having an independent locomotive and separate lightweight cars – the earliest streamliners had operationally inflexible articulated train sets. As the Rockets, Kansas City-Oklahoma City [1937] Texas Rocket Fort Worth-Houston [1937] Chicago-Des Moines [1937] Chicago-Peoria [1937] Minneapolis-Kansas City [1937] Denver-Kansas City [1937] Kansas City-Dallas [1938] Rocky Mountain Rocket Chicago-Denver/Colorado Springs [1939] Choctaw Rocket Memphis-Amarillo [1940] Zephyr Rocket (with CB&Q) St Louis-Minneapolis [1941] became more popular, with train lengths increasing, the little EMC TA’s could not handle them.  Sometimes … Continue reading CRI&P 628

ATSF 12 & 12A

The next-to-last locomotives for upgrading to Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 DCC/Sound, LEDs, and Sergent Couplers were ATSF 12 & 12A. The model is from Broadway Limited Imports, of about 2012. Along with Union Pacific, Chicago Burlington & Quincy, and Baltimore and Ohio, Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe was a diesel pioneer.  Perhaps their greatest contribution to the application of the diesel-electric locomotive was in mainline freight operations just before and during the Second World War.  They were the largest operator, by a wide margin, of the EMC/EMD FT (320 units of 1096 produced). And they were nearly the first to operate EMC’s new … Continue reading ATSF 12 & 12A


Six thousand horsepower for fourteen lightweight passenger cars! Union Pacific’s premiere Los Angeles to Chicago streamliner, the City of Los Angeles, in 1941, was powered along the entire route by a single EMD E6 A-B-B trio. In the 1930’s Union Pacific were pioneers in lightweight diesel-powered streamlined passenger trains.  Ironically, this forward thinking in dieselization did not extend to freight operations.  UP watched all of their main Western competitors dieselize their fast freight trains with EMC/EMD FT locomotive sets prior to and during World War 2.  It seems as though their situation was similar to New York Central’s:  pre-war, the UP … Continue reading CITY OF LOS ANGELES


As I work through the cabinet collection, the next E6 locomotive to be upgraded with Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 DCC/Sound, LEDs, and Sergent couplers is Kansas City Southern #4.  Like all EMD E6 locomotives previously described, this too is a Broadway Limited Imports model (circa 2013?). After upgrading eight such BLI units, this one went very smoothly and very quickly – a Friday evening to remove the coupler & modify the coupler box, carefully lift the body, disconnect the wiring (& snip the connectors off), remove the factory decoder, mount the new decoder, and a Saturday evening to solder the connections, … Continue reading KCS 4

SOU 2801

The next cabinet collection E6 locomotive upgraded with Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 DCC & Sound, LED’s, and Sergent Couplers is Southern 2801.  This is a Broadway Limited Imports model from the last batch offered in 2015 (I believe).  Funny thing though, in comparison to the Milwaukee and B&O units previously upgraded (earlier offerings), the wire colors were not the same.  Oh, the actual colors (gray, black, brown) are the same, but they are attached to different electrical components!  But the installation is very easy to figure out. SOU 2801 was delivered in March of 1941 (EMD s/n 1215).  She was lettered … Continue reading SOU 2801

B&O 63

I think the Baltimore & Ohio EMD E6’s are the most handsome.  The 63 set looks fabulous in their elegant streamliner paint scheme.  As I work through my Broadway Limited Imports E6 collection upgrading the factory decoder with Soundtraxx Tsunami 2, new LEDs, and Sergent Type E couplers, I find that it takes about 4-1/2 hours to do a fully powered A-B set (I batch prep’d all of the LED assemblies and couplers ahead of time).  A nice clean job to do.  Once I had the first Tsunami 2 locomotive programmed using JMRI DecoderPro, I copy that file to program any … Continue reading B&O 63

MILW 15/15A

My favourite diesel passenger locomotive is the pre-war Electro-Motive E6.  My last post on “Excess” got me to thinking more about my E6 Cabinet Collection, and the locomotives in two other Cabinet Collections too.  The collections are limited and mean something special to me.  They are representative of the era I enjoy most (1938-1945, especially the years 1940-1941).  There is only so much space in the cabinets and 95% of it is used or spoken for.  So, I guess, I’m not going to be buying much, if anything, in the future.  While this goes against the prevailing model railroading culture … Continue reading MILW 15/15A