Mechanical Department Blog

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The PRR Middle Division in HO Scale has expanded its freight fleet through an acquisition from John Frantz who is moving to a later era.

The purchase included 22 PRR and Berwind hoppers and a single Reading box car. 

Roster reports on the web site have been updated. You may find the rosters under the Mechanical Department menu on the web site.


The last time Broadway Limited Importsran the PRR M1 4-8-2 Mountains, I was still in N scale. Actually, I had just made the decision to switch back to HO, and I scrambled to find two of the locomotives. That release was in the Blue Line series and I secured an M1a and an M1b.

M1's are prohibited on the Lewistown and Milroy secondaries that I model, but I needed them for main line service. Also, the Lewistown engine house kept a Mountain or two on standby for the mainline. So when Broadway Limited announced a rerun in the Paragon2 series, I jumped at the opportunity and ordered another M1a and another M1b.

With the Blue Line's still in the box, I learned that they had non-functional front couplers (really?) and that they were somewhat difficult to consist with their QSI or Paragon2 counterparts. That said, I opted to sell them on eBay and ordered an additional two Paragon2 units.

This week the Middle Division took receipt of all four Paragon2 locomotives -- two M1a's and two M1b's.

Next up: An Alco RSD-15 due in November.

Today I ventured to the Ted Maurer auction at Spring City, Pa. These auctions are held on a nearly weekly basis, and are always train related. Though they are usually Lionel and other O gauge stuff, they often have HO scale auctions or railroadiana. Today's was part one of three or four of a single estate and contained over 500 lots... mostly brass!

I scored a Proto 2000 Alco FA1/FB1 lashup in Pennsy livery. Though the FA2/FB2's seem to be readily available long after they were manufactured, the FA1/FB1's are a bit of a rarity. I was able to pick them up at about two thirds of what they've been going for on eBay.

I also took ownership of a SOHO brass Pullman heavyweight 14 section sleeper. It represents a Pennsy car that received the 1940 "Betterment" improvements which made the cars look more streamlined to match in consists with the 1938-40 lightweight cars. This will go on train 58/59, the Liberty Limited. One source tells me this car was used for deadheading crews. In any case, this is the only release I know of representing the betterment car.

Back in 2000, Overland Models released an HO scale rendition of the Pullman "Ferdinand Magellan". This was a rebuilt sleeper that was used for transport of the President Of The United States (POTUS). It was released in both Truman-era and Reagan-era versions.

I am seeking a Truman-era car. I believe the Overland catalog number was 3490.1. If anyone has one of these cars and is looking to part with it, please contact me. Thank you.