Atlantic Coast S Gaugers - ACSG
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July 2022 Meeting - JJ Hill Night

In July of 2022, ten members of our local S Gauge Club met at our regular meeting and had fun operating a variety of trains remembering the three major railroads owned by James J Hill. While all three railroads had common ownership, the ICC required them to be independently managed and operated until they were merged in 1970 to become the Burlington Northern Railway.

The home layout of Larry Shughart is based on a fictitious short-line railway the Northern Florida Railway which was also owned by JJ Hill. The video opens with you coming up the stairs to the train room and watching a hot shot express train leaving Florida bound for Chicago and the Twin Cities. The train is led by a quartet of American Model F units pulling a string of Lionel Custom made Northern Florida Railway boxcars decorated in Florida colors of Citrus Orange, Palm Green, and Beach Sand White. These cars are available for sale!

The next scene features Lloyd Lippert's 1957 American Flyer Northern Pacific Passenger set racing a modified consist of the 1957 American Flyer Northern Pacific Freight set. The rare 491 B unit on the freight set belonged to Larry's father and was one of his prized pieces in his collection.

The highlight of the evening was reconstructing a model of an actual 15 car train consist that was documented in the Kuebler book on the North Coast Limited. We took some liberty substituting a second diner for the travelers lounge car and a second baggage car for the RPO car, but the train was magnificent. The power was provided by two Flyonel A units which handled the train just fine, even up the grades.

The Great Northern freight train is headed by a Custom Painted American Flyer Pacific with a Pre-war die-cast American Flyer Vanderbilt style oil tender. The locomotive was built and decorated by Larry years ago when he was in college. The train includes custom painted cars by Andy Kriswallis and Joshua Seltzer.

Many people do not know that American Flyer's Silver Streak diesel locomotives were patterned after the CB&Q Burlington Route Streamliners. We recreated the California Zephyr between Chicago and Denver, where the "Q" pulled the train and then handed it off the D&RGW which pulled it to Salt Lake City before handing it off to the Western Pacific. Flyonel correctly made 4 vista dome cars for this set, but did not make the famous vista-dome observation car. Larry modified his to make it look like the prototype and added seats and people to all of the domes.

We end the JJ Hill night with a string of Lloyd's American Flyer 921 CB&Q "Everywhere West" coal hoppers being pulled by a pair of American Models Great Northern FP-7s. The 921 hopper is a rather common car and was included in many Gilbert sets. BUT, does anyone else have an example of the car with the rare "Burlington Route" herald shown at the end of the video? This car belonged to Larry's father and was featured some years ago in the "new and unusual things seen at York" column in the TCAQ.

NOTE, this is NOT just a mis-print or a factory error. The rubber stamp was clearly different from the normal. The upper left of the herald has clear letters on a solid background while the lower right of the herald has white letters on a clear background. Was this the original design and Gilbert decided it was too complex, subject to smudging, and simplified it to what we now know as the common version? Any other explanation? Any other examples out there? Please let us know what you find!!


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