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In May of 2010, I got a new camcorder, the newly released Canon Vixia HF S21. It records in True HD 1080p (if you choose the appropriate settings) and records videos onto its internal 64 GB flash drive. The video files that result have incredible resolution and detail! Since YouTube now supports True HD 1080p, the new videos appear on this page only in the YouTube player. While I could post them here in their native format, I've compared those originals to the YouTube HD rendering and there isn't enough difference to warrant doing so. Over the course of time, I've reshot most of my older videos in HD and they appear on this page. When you play one of these HD videos, if your hardware supports it click on the resolution box at the lower right hand corner of the YouTube player and select 1080p, then give it a try in full screen mode. This page is in reverse chronological order -- that is, the newest videos appear first.
Because of the number of videos, I've had to split this multimedia section into multiple parts. On this second page, you have older True HD 1080p videos. On the first page of this section are the newest True HD 1080p videos (CLICK HERE) and on the third page are the oldest True HD 1080p videos (CLICK HERE). In the other multimedia section are all of the older standard definition videos as well as the videos of real trains. You can CLICK HERE to go to the standard definition page. Many of the video descriptions include a link to another page within my web site that has photographs of the trains in the videos. Also, I have reviewed many of the models on my Train Reviews page. (This LINK will take you to the main page of my web site.) Enjoy!
Toward the end of 2000 (a full ten years ago now), Lionel started a new series of high-end locmotives with a bang! Called the JLC series (after Joshua Lionel Cowen, the founder of the company), the first locomotive in the series was a full 1:48 scale model of the Union Pacific (UP) Challenger #3985, which remains in service to this day. A product of the WW II era, the Challengers were huge articulated locomotives designed to haul heavy freight trains at speed, a job they did very well. The model is an excellent reproduction of the original, with a great deal of added-on detail. This locomotive came equipped with Lionel's TMCC remote control which allowed you to get away from the transformer, very convenient when you're shooting video! In this True HD 1080p video, you see the Challenger hauling a train made up of 20 Atlas woodsided reefers and a UP caboose.
Almost ten years ago, in early 2001, Lionel brought out their model of the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) EM-1, a Yellowstone-type (2-8-8-4) articulated steam locomotive. Considered the largest and finest power on the B&O, thirty EM-1's were built in 1944 and 1945 to haul coal traffic over the B&O's Cumberland Division. Even though tunnel and bridge clearances on the B&O were tight, the locomotive's designers utilized every possible square inch of space to maximize power while still operating within the clearances of B&O's main lines. This locomotive came equipped with Lionel's TMCC remote control which allowed you to get away from the transformer, very convenient when you're shooting video! In this True HD 1080p video, you see the EM-1 hauling a train made up of 20 Atlas woodsided reefers and a B&O caboose.
It's pretty unusual for me to shoot a second video of a train within a few days of shooting the original video. But, it's also pretty unusual for me to receive several email messages within those few days all telling me that I needed to zoom in closer to the train to show more detail (and less carpet)! Since I added three new freight cars (500-series Pennsy boxcar, CNJ tank car, and Pittsburgh coal hopper) for a total of seven, here once again is the Lionel Corp (MTH) Standard Gauge #400E in a True HD 1080p video that should let everyone see the gorgeous detail of the train.
On a visit to Trains & Things down in Ewing (Trenton), which is where I got my Ives Olympian Standard Gauge set, another Standard Gauge locomotive started talking to me. The 400E is the most popular and most sought after of the original pre-war tinplate engines. The largest of the Standard Gauge tinplate steamers, this engine was introduced in 1931 and was an immediate sensation. There it was, all shiny gray with nickel trim, sitting in the display case whispering "Take Me Home!" to me. So I did. :-) This is a product of the new Lionel Corp which is part of MTH and produces reproductions of of old tinplate. This repro is sensational as you will see in this True HD 1080p video. Now, that's on the outside. On the inside, it's 21st century with the full Protosound 2 sound and remote control package. I got four of the 500-series freight cars to go along with it -- a refrigerator (reefer) car, a searchlight car, a cattle car, and an exquisite Pennsylvania RR caboose. I think you'll agree, it makes for a real treat for the eyes and ears (and nose, if you were here to smell the smoke -- haven't quite figured out how to get that into the video -- yet!)
In early 2008, MTH released Premier models of the old BMT Standard subway cars. Well, old but not THAT old -- I remember riding in these when I was a child! :-) They're excellent models and run very well. In this video, you can hear the station stop announcement that's part of the software embedded in the train. The interior is well detailed, right down to the passengers sitting on the simulated rattan seats.
It's seldom that I run trains short enough to run two on the same track at the same time, something that is made rather easy with DCS. Since I converted both the MTH Premier Blue Comet G3s Pacific and the MTH Premier K4s Pacific from PS1 to PS2 and I've got both of them with their relatively short commuter trains on the same track, I thought it might be fun to shoot a video of the two of them in action. Since we have the Central of New Jersey (with the Blue Comet no less) and the Pennsylvania RR on the same track, both with 4-6-2 Pacifics and both hauling heavyweight passenger cars, why, this must be the New York & Long Branch round about 1930 or so!
No, I'm not kidding you, no, it's not a joke, and no, it's not SFX! It really is a 3-rail locomotive running on 2-rail track! MTH incorporates into some of their later models a feature called ProtoScale 3-2 which enables you to run 3-rail trains on 2-rail track as well as 2-rail trains on 3-rail track, using either AC or DC power. My MTH Premier Pennsylvania RR J1 Texas (2-10-4) steam locomotive is equipped with this feature so I tried it out on some 2-rail track that I usually use just for display. I took off the pickup rollers (1 screw each), threw one switch under a tender hatch, and put the J1 on the 2-rail track. I powered the track via jumpers from the adjacent 3-rail loop so that I would have it under full DCS control (plus, I don't have a DC power source so this was done with standard AC power). The following True HD 1080p video shows that the 3-rail model works quite well on 2-rail track!
In 1950 (five years before the previous set), Lionel brought out a special set for its 50th anniversary, the golden anniversary as such things are reckoned. They came close to gold with Union Pacific's yellow -- a set of yellow Alco FA A-A diesels. They had the usual mechanical E-unit for reversing and a battery-powered bicycle horn (this was the 50's after all). Fast forward to almost 40 years after my first set came out. The year was 1994 and for reasons best known to Lionel (the 94th anniversary isn't of particular note) they brought out a reissue of that 50th anniversary set. The diesels were made as the originals were, die-cast chassis and all, but with a more modern electronic reversing unit and electronic horn. The passenger cars were reissued too, but were cheapened -- no metal internal frame and chassis, trucks rivited to the body, etc. The orignal set had three cars, the reissue upped that to seven. When I really got back into the hobby in the 90's, this became my second train set and the first that I had bought myself. Though rather tame by today's standards, I thought that I'd share it with you in this short True HD 1080p video.
This is the train set that, for me, started it all. This year it turns 55 and it still runs fine. It was a gift from a long departed uncle when I was just a baby but I've had it ever since. Lionel set #1534w consisted of the #2328 silver Burlington GP-7 and three aluminum-painted short passenger cars: 2432 Clifton vista dome, 2434 Newark pullman, and 2436 Summit observation (all named for towns here in New Jersey). Over the years I've added two more cars to the set: another 2432 Clifton that has the car numbers in a different location (Lionel in the 50's was great for variations like this) and the 2435 Elizabeth pullman. These cars first came out in 1954 and became part of this set in 1955. I also still have the rest of the set, the transformer, the track, the boxes, the whole thing. Having grown up with this, is it any wonder that it became a life-long hobby? Though the train doesn't have sound or smoke or any of the other modern features that liven up most of my videos, it's a sentimental favorite, especially around this time of year, and I thought that I'd share it with you.
In 2005, MTH brought out a reproduction of an O-Gauge tinplate locomotive that had originally come out about 70 years previously. The new repro of the blue #263E went together with the blue tinplate passenger cars that came with my American Legacy set (that came with the grey enameled scale J1e Hudson) to make up the Baby Blue Comet set. The new 263E locomotive looks like the original, but it's modern inside -- powerful can motor, modern PS2 electronics with remote control, sound, smoke, the whole nine yards. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, the set looks great, sounds great, and runs great, the spitting image of a very old train running in a very modern world.
In 2002, MTH Electric Trains reproduced a very early (1925) Lionel Standard Gauge electric locomotive. This model of the #10 was done in red and green for Christmas, with three matching cars, also reproductions of those from more than three-quarters of a century ago. Together, the train was called The Christmas Express and came in a complete set with track and transformer. This is worthy of note since this set was, as far as I know, the first ready-to-run Standard Gauge set in about 75 years! As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, it's an absolutely exquisite train! Standard Gauge trains generally came in two size categories, small and enormous, and these are from the small school. Over the years, I've added the various add-on cars that MTH has brought out, and it makes for a really nice holiday train. Be sure to listen in at the end to the special passenger sounds that this set came with!
A long time ago, I had shot a video showcasing my MTH Premier models of Pennsylvania RR electric locomotives. They were all die-cast, very heavy models with great detailing. In the intervening years, MTH has continued the series and I now have eight of these die-cast gems. WIth the new hi-def camera, I thought another parade would look good, so here they are, all eight die-cast models of PRR electrics, running nose to tail lashed-up using DCS, and I have to say that an eight locomotive lash-up is the biggest that I've tried to date. The parade is led by the GG1, followed by the FF1, FF2, P5a, L5, BB1, DD1, with my second GG1 bringing up the rear. I think it looks pretty neat!
This is something that I've never tried before and it came out quite well! Someone requested a caboose train and while I don't do requests, it's something that I had been thinking of for quite a while, ever since I saw an old train video showing a steam locomotive hauling a long string of cabeese (or cabooses if you prefer) out of a freight yard. This train has just about every scale or almost-scale caboose that I have, including the nine different ones that I have from Pennsy. The weight of the train as well as the drag is phenomenal (with all the pickup rollers for the caboose lights it's no surprise) so I assigned a Big Boy (4-8-8-4) with its sixteen driving wheels to haul the load and the train runs very smoothly indeed. While you might not have seen anything quite so colorful in the real world, on my railroad anything is possible!
I did a standard definition video of these two behemoths double-headed about three years ago, so it was only a matter of time until I redid it in hi-def. Here they are, the two big green monsters of the rail, the Great Northern Z-6 Challenger (4-6-6-4) and the R-2 Chesapeake (2-8-8-2) articulated steam locomotives in True HD 1080p. They're running double-headed and hauling a long unit train of woodsided reefers which, since everyone has seen them all in previous videos, I've cut short so you can enjoy the sound and fury of the locomotives.
I've done this before, by request, but never in True HD 1080p! Here's my entire Big Green Fleet, the Great Northern (GN) Z-6 Challenger (4-6-6-4) in the lead, followed by the R-2 Chesapeake (2-8-8-2), with the S-2 Northern (4-8-4) bringing up the rear, the three of them triple-headed and working together. DCS makes it simple to do, the volumes of smoke make the basement quite cloudy after only a few times around the layout, and they have no trouble at all hauling fifty AtlasO reefers, which is an amazingly heavy load. If I had the room, I'm pretty sure they'd haul a hundred of them with no problem, but as it is they're chasing their own caboose. These are the kinds of trains that I love to run!
The Great Northern (GN) R-2, a 2-8-8-2 Chesapeake-type articulated steam locomotive was a real brute of the rails and this MTH Premier model which came out in 2001 is a very good representation of the prototype. With a loaded tender, these locomotives tipped the scales at over 1,000,000 pounds! A product of the 1920's, these were designed to be heavy freight haulers and they did that job very well for the next three decades. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see and hear the model R-2 in action hauling a heavy freight trains. It looks great, it sounds great, and it works great!
In 2005, MTH produced this RailKing model of the New York City subway Lo-V cars. These were low voltage cars (hence the name Lo-V) that were manufactured between 1916 and 1924 for use on the IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) system. The low voltage refers to the car's controller, not the voltage (600 volts DC) that came through the third rail, and was intended to protect the motorman. Being for the IRT with its smaller tunnels (it was the first NYC subway system), the cars were narrower and shorter than those found on the BMT or the IND. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, though from the lower priced RailKing line, these models are still well detailed, sound good, and run very well.
I thought I was finished shooting the original Protosound (PS1) locomotives that I refer to as the "oldies but goodies" but I totally forgot about this one, sitting undisturbed in a display case for at least the last ten years. MTH brought out this RailKing model of the UP's Gas Turbine, the so-called "Big Blow", way back in 1997. The exhaust from these was quite hot; one story that I remember is that one was parked under a highway overpass and the exhaust melted the asphalt roadway above! The model has the original Protosound system (dubbed Protosound 1 or PS1 after the Protosound 2 (PS2) system came out), which gives it sound and rudimentary remote control. Given that this is a RailKing semi-scale model, I'm not planning on upgrading it to PS2. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see it hauling a passenger train made up of semi-scale extruded aluminum passenger cars.
Though I was quite young, I still remember taking the subway with my parents to Times Square and changing for the #7 train, the IRT Flushing line, to the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadow Park. And I remember these baby blue cars! MTH brought out this RailKing model of the World's Fair subway cars in 2002. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, they still look great, sound great, and run very well indeed.
If one GG1 is good, and two GG1's are better, then how much better are two GG-1's running double-headed? Here are both of my GG1's running together, pulling an extra-long passenger train made up of 18 heavyweight cars, quite a load indeed in the real world, let alone for O- gauge models. In this True HD 1080p video, you have a perfect chance to compare both of them to see the differences in outward appearance that were engineered in the nine years that separate their manufacture -- the newer one (2006) is in front, the older one (1997) brings up the rear. You'll note that they run very smoothly together even though the older one was converted from PS1 to PS2.
I remember well when these slant-nosed futuristic R40 subway cars showed up on the F train -- the Culver line on McDonald Ave. -- in Brooklyn in the mid to late 1960's. Originally, it was quite dangerous to move between cars, so shortly thereafter they were retrofitted with the pantograph safety gates. In mid-2008, MTH brought out a Premier line model of these cars, with the added safety features. The cars are highly detailed inside and out, down to the air conditioning vents in the ceiling of the cars! In this True HD 1080p video, you can see the cars proceeding along, stopping at the station with the appropriate sounds, and then performing a fast run-by. This set is fun since I'm originally from Brooklyn and I'm familiar with all of the locations that get mentioned!
In my previous GG1 videos, I've shown my older GG1 which came out in 1997 and which I converted from PS1 to PS2 some years afterward. I recently acquired a GG1 that came out in 2006 which came with PS2 as standard equipment. As you'd expect from a locomotive that came out nine years later, it is somewhat more detailed and sports quite a few new features, such as smoke to simulate the pop-off of the steam generator (the GG1, being a passenger locomotive, was equipped with a steam generator to provide heat for the passenger cars) and pantographs that automatically raise and lower depending on the direction of the locomotive. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see these various features demonstrated as the GG1 hauls a train of classic Pennsy heavyweight passenger cars.
In 2005, MTH brought out a Premier line model of the New York City's Independent Subway (IND) R1 cars. These were the first cars that were ordered for the IND, the city owned and operated subway that was built in the 1920's to be independent of the tnen privately owned IRT and BMT. Though they were built in the early 1930s, I can still remember riding on the R1 cars when I was a child in the 1960's. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, they are exquisitely detailed both outside and inside, down to the simulated straw seats (I remember them well). This particular model is lettered and numbered for the A train, and you can hear it make a station stop as it heads southbound in upper Manhattan on the 8th Avenue line.
Though most of my locomotives are MTH Premier, I do have a few select RailKing pieces. RailKing is MTH's lower priced line, with less detailed and often smaller than scale pieces. Way back in 2001, I got the RailKing Pennsylvania B6 switcher. This small 0-6-0 steam locomotive, which normally served as a yard switcher, was a full scale piece, albeit with less detailing that I was used to in the Premier line, and, as a switcher, had remote controlled couplers front and rear. For the price, it was a bargain so I got it. I then gussied it up a bit, adding real coal on top of the cast-in coal detail and painting various parts to make it look more like a Premier steamer and I think it came out quite well. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see how good it looks, how good it sounds, and how well it operates. You'll also see that it has the charming tendency to puff out smoke rings!
Here's the last of my oldie but goodies, the last of the PS1 diesels that I have never before shown in one of my videos. This MTH Premier model of the EMD BL2 diesel came out in 1996 in EMD's demonstrator colors -- it was one of the first in MTH's series of diesel demonstrators. It still has the original Protosound system, and I will convert it to PS2 in the new year. The BL-2 came out in the years after WWII. The BL stands for "Branch Line" as it was intended for use on light branch lines. It was a transitional locomotive and helped in the design of later diesels. In this short True HD 1080p video, you can see the BL2 hauling a short freight train, much as it was designed to do.
Here's one more blast from the past, an oldie but goodie that I think will surprise a lot of people. Having come out in 1998, it too still has its original Protosound system that I will convert to PS2 in the new year and it also has never been in one of my videos. The locomotives are an A-B-A set of EMD E8's, which were designed for use with fast passenger trains, and it's hauling a set of matching streamlined passenger cars. This is a model of the Orange Blossom Special which the Seaboard ran from NYC to Miami. The Pennsy handled the train from NYC to Washington, where it was taken over by the RF&P to Richmond, where it was handed over to the Seaboard for the stretch from Richmond to Miami via Raleigh, Columbia, Savannah, and Jacksonville. This deluxe train started out in 1925 and was so striking that a song of the same name was written about it. It last ran in 1953. In this True HD 1080p video, the seventy-fifth HD video that I've posted, you can see the model E8's hauling the Orange Blossom Special around the track. I think you will find the colors to be quite striking; imagine standing trackside when this beauty thundered past! With PS1, you can either run just the leading A-unit or all of them together; when I convert them to PS2, the A-units will be independent locomotives.
Here's yet another oldie but goodie, dating back to 1998, that I've never before shown in a video. It's the MTH Premier model of the GE AC4400CW, the AC version of the Dash 9, and it too has the original Protosound system. In the new year, it too will be upgraded to PS2. This was the first AC locomotive developed by GE and it came two years after those from EMD. The advances in technology in the 1990s allowed the use of AC traction motors (DC had been used from the inception of diesel-electric locomotives) which can start a heavier load with the same horsepower diesel engine. The AC4400CW came out in 1993 and this model is decorated as GE's demonstrator. The name is pretty straightforward: AC is obvious, 4400 is the horsepower, C means it has three-axle trucks, and W means it has a wide cab. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see this modern diesel running under conventional control and hauling a (mostly) modern intermodal freight train.
Here's another blast from the past! This is one of my old Protosound (PS1) diesel locomotives that I haven't run in years and have never before shown on video. It's another from 1999 and is the EMD demonstrator for the SD-90MAC, a 6250 HP very modern diesel that uses AC traction motors. Serious efforts to use AC (alternating current) diesel-electric engines began when General Motors introduced its 4,000-hp SD-60MAC in 1991-92. While the AC power increases an engine's adhesion, allowing it to start far heavier trains than a DC-powered locomotive of the same horsepower, the heavier load prevents AC-powered engines from reaching track speed. To solve that problem, locomotive builders have raced to design and deliver AC engines with ever-larger horsepower. Hence, in 1996, EMD delivered the SD90MAC. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see it running under purely conventional control (using one of my 50+ year old classic ZW transformers). While not up to today's standards, for 11 years old it's not bad at all. Since it's a very modern locomotive, I have it hauling a freight train made up of (mostly) modern intermodal and other freight cars.
In the Nickel Plate Berkshire #765 video down below, I did say that I'd run them together, didn't I? Even for a heavy freight hauler like the NKP Berkshire, if the train is long and heavy, two locomotives are called for, so here they are. Reminder: #765 was originally Protosound (PS1) converted to Protosound2 (PS2); #779 was originally PS2. As you can see, functionally, they're very much the same and work very well with each other. A note about the long freight train: most of the cars have never been in one of my videos before so you've got something new to look at. Enjoy!
This is another locomotive that I've not shown running alone in a video before. In 1999 (hard to believe it's already been 11 years), MTH brought out a Premier model of the Nickel Plate Berkshire (2-8-4) #765, a heavy freight hauling brute of a locomotive that remains in excursion service today. This model came with the original Protosound system (now called PS1) that gave it some realistic sounds and rudimentary locomotive control, though it was still very much a conventionally operated model. By the time they reissued the Berkshire as #779, it came with the Protosound 2 (PS2) system which had a very rich set of sounds and full remote control with DCS. When I could, I upgraded #765 to PS2 and it made quite a difference in the operation -- and enjoyment -- of the locomotive. In this True HD 1080p video, you will see #765 hauling a freight train. If you compare it to the video of the #779 a bit down the page, you'll see that #765, which I converted to PS2, sounds every bit as good and runs every bit as well as #779, which came with PS2 in the first place. Hmmm -- perhaps I should run them together! :-)
Way back in 1996, MTH brought out a scale model of the EMD GP-20 diesel. Advanced for its time, it had the original Protosound system which provided realistic sound and rudimentary engine control. Though not a fan of diesels, I got one (the EMD demonstrator colors appealed to me) and have had it all this time though I seldom run it, the original PS1 being a lot less fun than the current PS2 system with it's far more varied sounds and remote control capabilities. I've upgraded most of my PS1 steamers to PS2 and will upgrade the diesels in the coming year, so thought that perhaps as a change of pace I'd show a few of them before their conversion. This is a locomotive, an entire train actually, that I've never before shown on video. Here's some background on the GP-20. In the late 1950s, railroads were looking for locomotives with high-horsepower output. General Electric and Alco obliged by releasing units with 2,400 and 2,500 HP capability. General Motor's ElectroMotive Division (EMD), at first was reluctant to chime in. They figured that turbocharging their 567 diesel engine would drive up maintenance costs and that was to be avoided. Yet in 1959, EMD outshopped the GP20, a 16-cylinder, 2,000 HP road switcher with a turbocharged 567D2 engine. Union Pacific fostered EMD's change of heart. It was only after the road experimented with and found success with turbocharging EMD's 567 engine in the GP9s on their roster that EMD recognized the engine's potential. GP20's closely resembled earlier Geeps, such as the GP7, GP9 and GP18. The increased power made the difference. As a result of that power, one feature of the GP20 that distinguished it from prior Geeps was its short exhaust stack, located just behind of the first fan behind the cab. These units were produced until 1962. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see the PS1 GP-20 hauling a train of double-stack cars. It bears a striking resemblance to what I see at some local railroad crossings, though those trains can be 100 cars long!
Back in 1999, MTH brought out a Premier line model of the Pennsylvania RR G5s Ten-Wheeler (4-6-0) steam locomotive. When the first G5s rolled out of the Pennsy's own Juniata shops in 1923, the Pennsylvania Railroad hadn't built a 4-6-0 in more than two decades. At the time, the reigning monarchs of mainline passenger service were high-speed E6s Atlantics and K4s Pacifics; lesser duties like commuter runs were delegated to hand-me-down locomotives serving out their last years before retirement. In the early 1920s, however, the need for secondary passenger power outstripped the supply, and the Pennsy found itself in need of a new commuter engine. In response, its Mechanical Engineer William F. Kiesel, Jr. took the boiler from an E6s Atlantic and designed one of the largest and most powerful ten-wheelers ever built. Smaller drive wheels than an Atlantic and the lack of a trailing truck concentrated more engine weight on the drivers and produced an engine with great power and acceleration but a lower top speed - ideal qualities for the constant stop-and-start duties of a commuter engine. Like the I1s Decapod, the G5s was infamous among enginemen as a rough-riding steed. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg is home to restored G5s No. 5741, which was built in the Juniata Shops in November, 1924. You can see photos of it on my Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania page. The model, though going on twelve years old, has great detailing, great sound, and runs very well as you can see in this True HD 1080p video. Originally equipped with the Protosound system, I later converted it (with some professional help -- the inside of the boiler has very little clearance for all the electronics) to the Protosound 2 (PS2) system that gives it the great sounds and remote control that you see demonstrated in the video, where I have it hauling a short commuter train exactly as it would have in real life.
While the 1350 HP EMD FT was the diesel that retired the steam engine, this little boxcab was the diesel that started it all. The 300 HP Alco-GE-Ingersoll Rand boxcab was the first production diesel-electric produced in North America. General Electric had been experimenting with internal combustion rail power for nearly two decades when, in the mid-1920s, it formed a partnership with Ingersoll Rand and Alco to manufacture diesel-electrics. GE made the traction motors and generator, IR supplied the diesel motor, and Alco built the mechanical parts. In the summer of 1925, the Central Railroad of New Jersey (Jersey Central) bought the first boxcab demonstrator, and CNJ #1000 became the first production diesel-electric owned by an American railroad. In December, the second engine in the production run became Baltimore & Ohio #1, and orders soon followed from the Chicago & North Western, Reading, and Erie. The diesel revolution had quietly begun. CNJ 1000 had a three-decade career switching the Bronx Terminal Yard, acquiring a Jersey Central Lines "Miss Liberty" paint job along the way. In 1957 it went to a well-earned retirement at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. In 2007, MTH brought out this fine Premier line die-cast model of the CNJ 1000, which I have seen at the museum in Baltimore. In this True HD 1080p video, you get to see it hauling a very prototypical consist of Jersey Central freight cars and in the slow-speed run-by, you can see all of the detail packed into this little model. If you look at the photos on my B&O Museum page, you'll see the prototype and from the video you'll see just what a good model of the prototype it is.
In late 2003, MTH delivered this little gem for members of their Railroader's Club (MTHRRC). Over the years I've used this locomotive quite a bit at train shows for one particular purpose. When demonstrating DCS, I tend to use the large die-cast steam locomotives and there would always be one or two jokers at the demonstration to complain that the hobby was just too expensive. When they did, I'd break out this little guy, the MTHRRC Consolidation (2-8-0). The locomotive body is die-cast, albeit with less detail than the big guys, and the tender body is plastic rather than die-cast. However, it has the same PS2 electronics as the big locomotives, providing the same great sounds, smoke, and remote control. The biggest difference is that where the big locomotives can cost more than $1000, this little guy cost all of $179! When this was pointed out, those complaining about the cost of the hobby usually shut right up! :-) Locomotives like this are currently found in the MTH starter train sets. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see the Consolidation hauling a train made up of the RailKing MTHRRC cars that were issued between 1998 and 2007. As you can see and hear, it's a fine little locomotive and hauls the train with no problem at all. While you might not have seen a purple and silver locomotive hauling purple and silver freight cars in the real world, I think it looks just dandy!
Here's an old favorite! Back in 1997, MTH brought out a Premier model of the magnificent Pennsylvania RailRoad GG1, a massive electric locomotive that ran under the catenary on the Pennsy mainline, now the NorthEast Corridor, which is less than a mile from my house. When I was little, I actually rode on a train pulled by one of these beauties. It took Pennsy two decades of experimentation to come up with the design for the GG1 and the beautiful body was designed by the famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy. From the day it first rode the rails in 1934 to the day it was finally retired in 1983, it was admired by all who saw it. Here in New Jersey, on the New York & Long Branch, a GG1 would haul a passenger train from NYC's Penn Station to South Amboy. There, the GG1 would switch out (it was the original end of the catenary that provided power) and a steam locomotive (probably a K4s) would hook up to the train to take it the rest of the way to Long Branch. In all, there were 140 of these locomotives, and many had more than five million miles on them by the time they were retired. With 18 heavyweight passenger cars in tow, they could easily reach 100 mph on the Pennsy mainline. This model, the first scale GG1 done by MTH, came with the original Protosound package. I later converted it to Protosound 2 to give it a much better set of sounds and remote control. The entire body of the model is die-cast, one of the first in MTH's series of PRR die-cast electric locomotive models. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see it hauling a set of streamlined passenger cars. While they aren't full scale, they are made of extruded aluminum and are in a style more typical of the toy trains of yesteryear and just seem to go well with the GG1.
The 2-8-0 Consolidation wheel arrangement for steam locomotives was one of the most widely used and copied variants of steam motive power because its attributes made it an excellent choice for mainline, branch, freight and even passenger work. First appearing on the Lehigh Valley in 1866, 2-8-0s continued in service well into the 1950s with the Pennsylvania the leading user of all railroads. The Pennsy created seven classes of Consolidations with the earliest being the 1885 H3. These 50 inch driver locomotives were the first Pennsylvania steam locomotives to utilize the road's trademark Belpaire firebox. Hundreds were built over a ten year span and were utilized in all levels of service before being replaced with the more common fat boilers of Pennsy's H4 thru H10 series of consolidations. The last H3, #1187, was discovered in a stone quarry and reclaimed for restoration by the Pennsylvania. It was displayed at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair and now resides in the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. In 2005, MTH brought out an exquisite Premier line model of #1187. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, especially if you pause it, the level of detailing on the locomotive is incredible and, as you can see and hear, it sounds great and runs very, very well.
Way back in 2000, MTH brought out a Premier-line model of the C&O Greenbrier, a fast 4-8-4 steam locomotive that was called a Northern on many other railroads. At the time, it came out with the original Protosound system that gave it some pretty good (for the time) sounds and smoke to go along with great operation. I later converted it to the Protosound 2 system (PS2) to give it even better sound and allow remote control using the MTH DCS remote contol system. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see the model under full DCS control hauling its matching passenger train. During the slow-speed runby, if you pause the video, you can see all of the detail on the locomotive and cars. The prototype came out in the 1930s, ready to assume passenger service duties. Featuring a cleaner, more streamlined appearance than the F-19 Pacific it replaced, the Greenbrier utilized a USRA-designed cab that both Alco and Lima had employed for freight power. Each engine was decorated in white trim and gold lettering and featured the name of a distinguished Virginia statesman on each side of the sand box. The engine quickly established itself as a famous and significant name along the C&O right-of-way as it whisked famous and aristocratic passengers to the C&O's own resort hotel of the same name in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. This super-powered locomotive easily hauled long passenger trains through the mountains. In the late '80s and early 90's, the prototype 614 hauled excursion trains from Hoboken NJ to Port Jervis NY, and I'm happy to say that I had the pleasure of riding on those excursions twice. You can find several videos from one of those excursions down toward the bottom of this page.
In the late 1920s, the Great Northern received eight Alco-GE boxcab electric locomotives, classed Y1. They were used over the heavily tunneled and steeply graded Cascade Mountains in Washington, where heavy freight had to be muscled to the coast. The line had been electrified to keep crews and passengers from being suffocated by steam locomotive exhaust in the many long tunnels. Two motor generators in each unit converted 11,000v AC to 550v DC for the six axle-hung GE motors. GN ended electric operations in 1956, and the Pennsylvania Railroad bought all eight Y1's a year later. The Pennsy reclassified the engines as FF2's after shopping them for operations on the Pennsy lines. Used mainly in helper service between Philadelphia and Paoli and Thorndale and Columbia PA, these eight electrics did the work of 15 diesels, which were transferred elsewhere. In the spring of 2003, MTH brought out an excellent Premier-line model of the FF2. It's another in their line of die-cast Pennsy electric locomotives and is deceptively heavy and powerful. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, it is a very powerful model, easily hauling a 27 car all-Pennsy freight, the longest such that I've ever run. It is a well detailed, great sounding, and great running model, and is one that I've used for hours at a time at train shows.
In previous videos, I've shown my original model PRR K4s Pacific that I converted from PS1 to PS2, my two later PS2 K4s's in prewar and postwar models, and the locomotives running double- and triple-headed. What I've never shown before is those two later K4s's running individually, each hauling a commuter train as you'd have found them on the Pennsy mainline not far from my home. That's an omission corrected by this True HD 1080p video, in which you see K4s #1737 (prewar) and K4s #1361 (postwar), each hauling its own commuter train, both running on the same track at the same time. They aren't lashed up with the DCS remote control system; rather, they're both just set to the same speed and they maintain the separation between the trains by themselves. Enjoy!
In the middle of 2007, MTH brought out a Premier model of the Pennsylvania RailRoad's class L1s Mikado, a 2-8-2 freight hauler that was one of the most reliable locomotives on the railroad. Built between 1914 and 1919, the Pennsylvania Railroad's fleet of L1s Mikados hauled freight through two world wars and served until the end of steam in 1957. Designed by the railroad's own mechanical engineers, the Mikados replaced 2-8-0 Consolidations as Pennsy's main line freight power. In total, there were 574 Mikados built and they shared the same boiler and many other parts with the Pennsy's K4s Pacific-type passenger engines. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, this model of the Mikado is superbly detailed, has great sound, and can really haul a freight train. You'll note the absence of the large tether between the locomotive and the tender; this model is equipped with the wireless drawbar. I've matched it with a nice string of Pennsy freight cars.
In July 2007, MTH brought out an absolutely exquisite Premier model of the Pennsylvania RailRoad's six-coupled (0-6-0) B28 USRA steam switcher locomotive. What's USRA? During World War I, Uncle Sam nationalized the railroads when they proved unequal to the task of moving massive amounts of men and materiel for the war effort. The agency that ran the trains was the United States Railroad Administration, or USRA, and one of its chief accomplishments was the creation of 12 steam engine designs that lasted for decades. According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, USRA locomotives were "the first successful standardization of American motive power" and the only standard designs until the diesel era. With 255 engines delivered to 23 railroads, production numbers for the government-issue 0-6-0 were the second-highest of any USRA design. And more than any other USRA engine, the six-coupled switcher was found from coast to coast, from Maine to Texas, and on railroads large and small. Owners were generally quite pleased with the quality of the government's design, and many 0-6-0s lasted into the 1950s. This model incorporates very fine detailing with technological advancements such as the wireless drawbar -- the wiring harness between the tender and locomotive is now only a memory as it's been incorporated into the locomotive drawbar. With the magic of True HD 1080p and a slow-speed run-by, you can see all of the incredible detail present on this gem of a model.
In December of 2001, MTH released a Premier model of the Nickel Plate Berkshire (2-8-4) #779. This was the second model of the Berkshire that they did (#765, which still runs in excursion service, was the first). This second model had even more detail than the first, and the sounds are exquisite! Best of all, purchase of this locomotive helped with the funding of the rebuilding of the prototype #765, owned by the Fort Wayne Railway Historical Society. As far as the prototype goes, the Nickel Plate Berkshires belonged to one of steam's finest family trees. The first 2-8-4, Lima Locomotive Works A-1, inaugurated the superpower era in 1925. A four-wheel trailing truck allowed the A-1 to have a larger firebox and boiler, producing a combination of power and speed never seen before in a steam locomotive. Initially tested on the Boston and Albany Railroad, the new wheel arrangement was dubbed the Berkshire after the mountain range it conquered on the B&A. One of the best examples of such superpowered locomotives was the Nickel Plate Berk, introduced in 1934 and called by steam historian Eugene Huddleston "the greatest 2-8-4 ever to take to the rails." Engineers loved its looks, speed, power, and wonderful sound. Intended for fast freight, the 700-series Berks could also take off with an 18-20 car WWII troop train. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, the model lives up to the prototype, with great detail, excellent sound, and wonderful operation.
In 2000 (hard to believe it's already been ten years), MTH released a Premier line model of the N&W Class-A 2-6-6-4 articulated steam locomotive. This locomotive, a product of N&W's own Roanoke shops, was designed to haul heavy coal trains and could also do service on fast passenger trains. One of the last steamers on the last major American railroad to drop the fires of steam, the Class-A holds a special place in railfan's hearts. The model was released with the original Protosound system and I later upgraded it to Protosound 2 with the full panoply of sound and remote control features. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, it's a great looking, great sounding, and great running model locomotive. I also upgraded the auxilliary tender that you see in this video. The prototype of the model, #1218, was still running as part of the NS steam program as late as 1992.
Toward the end of 2002, MTH brought out a Premier line model of the Pennsylvania RailRoad's DD1, another in their line of die-cast Pennsy electric locomotives. The prototype DD1's were designed to run through the then-new tunnels that Pennsy drilled beneath the Hudson river from New Jersey to New York City. They moved the trains from Pennsylvania Station in NYC to Manhattan Transfer, which was located in Harrison NJ (east of Newark) via third-rail power. At Manhattan Transfer, the DD1 would switch out, and a steam locomotive would take its place for the run down south to Philadelphia and other points. (This was long before the electrification of the Pennsy mainline.) Built in 1910, it's no surprise that the DD1 is a jackshaft electric, with siderods very much like a steam locomotive. The model is a very good representation of the prototype, right down to the third-rail pickups. As you can see in this True HD 1080p video, it looks and sounds great and runs very well.
About a year and a half ago, MTH brought out a Premier line model of a Jersey Central camelback in the ten-wheeler (4-6-0) configuration. I actually have video of the prototype of this particular one, #774, racing back and forth on the Jersey Central's mainline here in New Jersey. The camelbacks, with their Wooten fireboxes, were designed to burn anthracite waste (called culm), a very cheap fuel source for railroads that hauled lots of anthracite from the mines in northeastern Pennsylvania. With a very wide firebox, the engineer's cab had to be placed astride the boiler so that he could see where he was going. The fireman still had to be at the back, shoveling coal through the usually twin firebox doors; on at least one occasion, a fireman was thrown off the locomotive and the engineer didn't know until he ran out of steam! These were not safe locomotives (the engineer was sitting just above the whirling siderods where one break could send shards of metal shooting through the cab, hence the nickname "widowmakers") and none were built after 1927. This model is quite a good representation of the prototype and runs quite well as you can see in this True HD 1080p video in which it's hauling a short local freight train. In real life, these locomotives hauled both freight and passenger trains.
Back in 2001, MTH brought out a Premier line model of the New York Central Niagara, a very powerful 4-8-4 steam locomotive. On other railroads, these were called by a variety of names, including Northerns. This was one of the very early models that had the then-new Protosound 2 package of sound and remote control electronics. The prototypes were used for both heavy freight service and fast passenger service as part of NYC's Great Steel Fleet including the 20th Century Limited from NYC to Chicago and were built in the mid-1940's. Unfortunately, it wasn't that long before diesels replaced steam, and their lifetime was all too short. Sadly, none were preserved. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see the model, which though ten years old and used quite often has held up very well, hauling its matching passenger cars. Back then, the cars came with silhouettes in the windows rather than with finished interiors that you could populate with miniature people, but such is life.
I thought that I'd show you just how powerful the MTH Premier models of the PRR K4s Pacific steam locomotives really are. In the previous video, I showed seventeen heavyweight passenger cars (a very heavy load) being hauled by three of these models. Since the cars were still on the track, here they are again, this time being hauled by just two of the locomotives, #1737 and #1361, which were the original PS2 models that came out in 2004. As you can see, no problems at all hauling that load with just two.
I often get requests to see more of my layout and how it operates. This video, the longest and most complex that I've ever attempted, is the response. In the previous two videos, you've seen some of my Pennsy power moving around passenger cars. In this video, you get to see all three models of the K4s Pacific-type steamers (#1737 = prewar, slotted pilot, early decoration; #5400 - prewar, slotted pilot, later decoration; #1361 = postwar, solid pilot) moving between mainline tracks in order to form a triple-header that is used to haul all of my seventeen heavyweight passenger cars. The K4s was Pennsy's premier passenger hauler and in real life, for a train of this size, you would have seen at least a double-header and quite possibly a triple-header. This True HD 1080p video is made up of 14 segments that I've edited together with captions as well as explanatory scrolling credits at the beginning and end (you don't want to know how many times I actually had to shoot things before I got them kind of the way I wanted). As you can see in this 10 minute long video, the K4s that I converted from PS1 to PS2 is functionally the same as the other two models that originally came with PS2. All operations were performed using DCS remote control. Putting this one together was a lot of work and I hope that you enjoy it.
Here's a small True HD 1080p video of a small model of a small prototype. In the middle of 2005, MTH continued bringing out a series of die-cast models of PRR electric locomotives with a Premier line model of the BB1. This diminutive model, an excellent replica of the diminutive prototype, looks and sounds great and performs very well. The prototypes, all 42 of them, were built by the Pennsy itself in its Altoona shops. They were originally run in pairs, hence the BB1 designation, though in later years they were split up and ran singly as B1's. You could also find them on the Pennsy-controlled Long Island RR. Only 31 feet long and capable of a maximum speed of 25 mph, they made quite a racket due to the fans cooling all of the electrical equipment. These little yard switchers, known as "rats" to railfans, could be found in PRR's electrified yards moving cars around and were a fixture in the Sunnyside yard in Queens, NY. In this video, you can see the models under DCS remote control moving a few cars to get them ready for the next train out.
As you can see in all of the videos that came before this one, including the previous 50 in True HD 1080p, the majority of my motive power is from the Pennsylvania RR. So it should come as little surprise that this next video is also Pennsy. In 1996 (hard to believe it's already been almost 15 years), MTH brought out, in their Premier line, a model of perhaps the most famous locomotive on the Pennsylvania RR -- the K4s Pacific (4-6-2). Starting in 1917 and continuing to 1928, a total of 425 of these heavy passenger and freight locomotive were built, all using a common boiler design with Pennsy's legendary Belpaire firebox. They were built both by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and Pennsy's own Juniata shops. The K4s was Pennsy's principal passenger hauler, often double-heading on very long trains traveling between the major cities of the Northeast and Midwest. After WWII, their appearance changed but the locomotives stayed pretty much the same right through to the end of steam. Though this model is now almost 15 years old, it holds up well against more modern models, and shows the K4s in its prewar incarnation. Initially equipped with the original Protosound system, it was one of the first I upgraded to Protosound 2 so it sports the full panoply of modern sound and control features, including DCS remote control. In this True HD 1080p video, you can see my first K4s hauling a good-sized passenger train. Since I have two other K4s models (representing different eras), you can look for double-headed and, yes, triple-headed trains in future videos.
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