June 2021 Meeting - B & O Night
This all started when my friend Dale agreed to help me convert my set of Budd RDC cars from scale to hi-rail. These Budd RDC cars were imported by Charlie Sandersfeld around 1990 from Korea under the brand name Omnicon. They are made in Nickel Silver and the natural finish looks like the prototype stainless steel. These cars were only manufactured with Scale flanges and required very wide radius curves to operate in a train. I recall seeing Budd Cars like these when I was growing up on our family visits to Brunswick, MD. The B & O Budd cars routinely shuttled between DC and Brunswick, MD. My custom paint job follows the B & O on numbers and on the sides, but I added the extra "tiger stripes" on the ends like some of the other railroads decorated their Budd cars. Dale had to make a tool to adapt some American Models Hi-Rail wheels to fit on the Metric Korean axles of the Budd cars. He also modified the pilots to allow the couplers to swing wider for my 54" diameter curves. Finally, Dale inserted window glazing and American Flyer like passengers so they cars fit right in to my layout theme.
The Hi-rail Budd Cars debuted at the Monthly meeting of the North Florida S Gauge Division of the Atlantic Coast S Gaugers. The cars operated beautifully, even through the S curve turnouts. Other stars of the show that night are featured in this video and include:
Two Gilbert American Flyer Royal Blues, modified to have smoke and choo-choo and six wheeled tenders. The casting is the same as Gilbert's prewar 3/16" O gauge locomotive. We compare the two side-by-side for your reference. The custom painted heavyweight cars were Bob Connor's which I lettered and numbered following classic AF convention.
Next up is an 0-4-0 tank engine originally by Rex Models and this one assembled and sold Ready to Run by Putt Trains. It actually pulls more cars than the Rex Mogul shown in the next scene. Note the quick shot of the Mogul's train pulling all of the color variations of the AF 600 series B & O Box Cars and Reefer cars. Also featured in this series of clips is five B & O Chessie System GP9's pulling a coal train with a mish-mash of coal cars just like they used to run in the 1970's.
In 1980, Lionel manufactured the first American Flyer S Gauge locomotives since 1968. The B & O Alco PA-PB-PA had a string of B & O freight cars and was the first in a series of "Historic American Railroads". Lionel did not make the matching B & O Streamlined Passenger cars until 23 years later, and consistent with Lionel's doltishness, packaged them with a Mikado freight steam locomotive.
The B & O Parade continues with an American Flyer Pacific with a custom cast Vanderbilt tender, very common on the B & O. These tender tops were sold on E-bay as an easy "swap" for the original American Flyer tender. NOT TRUE. The casting was of very poor quality and mis-shaped. A LOT of custom cutting and fitting and finishing was required to get this model to look this good.
The B & O was such a popular railroad (maybe because of Monopoly ??) that the Japanese saw fit to produce a knock-off tinplate S gauge B & O set. This is a battery operated train that runs well on AF track, but does not go through switches. The Train is new in the original box.
Thanks to fellow member Mark Klemens, we were able to recreate a prototypical scene of having two Presidential Class Pacific Locomotives meeting somewhere on the mainline, perhaps in Ohio ?? The Jefferson and the Washinton never looked so good, pulling their consists of Blue and Gray. The video ends with a series of "Good Night" scenes from the Northern Florida Railway.
Did you know?
- The Blue and Gray B & O paint scheme was intentionally chosen to pay homage to both the North and the South as the B & O lines crisscrossed the border between the two.
- The B & O was the first chartered railroad company in the U.S. started in 1827.
- The B & O was the straightest, flattest, quickest route from Baltimore to St. Louis, two major trading hubs when the line was built.
- Unfortunately for the B & O, the Port of Baltimore became less important than Philadelphia and New York, and St. Louis diminished as Kansas City became the 2nd largest rail hub after Chicago.
- B & O ultimately merged with the C & O and the Western Maryland to form the Chessie System.
- The C & O coal business provided much needed cash for the B & O and much of the WM paralleled the B & O and was torn up to eliminate competition.
- The "Chessie Steam Special" was made to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the B & O.
- The Chessie Steam locomotive came off the Bicentennial Train as Red/White/Blue and went right back out in Orange, Yellow and Blue.
- B & O is now part of the CSX railroad headquartered in Jacksonville, FL
- CSX is currently painting their Office Car Train in B & O colors - YouTube CSX Office Car Special
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