Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Peculiar Roadnames

Many a Lionel steam locomotive sported the road name "Lionel Lines." American Flyer adorned many of its tenders with its own name, sometimes with a real railroads road name beside it. Marx had "Marlines" as its own road name. Cabooses were often marked to match their respective toy company’s road name.

These toy company roadnames are but one quirk of the model railroading hobby. There are others. Marx trains would customize its train sets for a customer, provided he ordered enough of them. Allstate, the insurance company and brand of tires and car batteries from Sears, was one such logo. Its old logo with a map of the 48 contiguous states was imprinted on E7 and S1 diesel locomotives, tenders for steam locomotives, tank cars, gondolas and cabooses. In fact, the Allstate versions of the E7 diesel locomotive were cast in a most unsettling shade of orange. Neither Sears nor Allstate had any real-world railroad equipment bearing their marks.

Marx’s other big roadname quirk was marking some of its tenders for steam locomotives with "Penn Central". This was really funny because Penn Central came along too late for steam. Its predecessor roads. The New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroads had halted steam service of any kind in 1957.

It gets even funnier when you look at some of Marx’s Penn Central cabooses. While some are in a Penn Central / New York Central Emerald Green, many are in orange or white. Marx compounded the Penn Central silliness with those colors!

As roadnames go, the biggest fluke in model railroading has to be the Docksider. Also know as a "Little Joe" to the B&O railroad men, this small 0-4-0 locomotive worked the Baltimore and Philadelphia docks. Its tight wheel base made it ideal for handling sharp curves. The Docksiders were saddle-tank locomotives. Two eventually had the tanks removed and were given tenders. There were only four of these interesting little tank engines. Apparently, they spent their entire careers with the B&O.

The first models of the Docksider were made by Varney in HO scale. Others were made in various scales by Bachmann, LifeLike, Rivarossi, IHC and MTH, to name a few. The models of the C-16 tank saddle-tank locomotives were made in B&O markings, of course. One can also find them in roadnames for the ATSF, C&W, PRR, UP, Nickel Plate. CNJ, and even an orange one bearing a white NH. Docksiders are among some of the most popular locomotive types in HO scale. There are also N and O models.

A previous article discussed the anomaly of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s S2 locomotive. only one was built and it was a failure that was soon scrapped. Despite that, it was so popular in O Gauge that Lionel made several runs of them in four different model numbers from the late 1940s through the `1950s. What the S2 did not three-rail O gauge, the Docksider did for HO. The C16 fared better than the S2 in real life. There were four of the little tank engines and they served for almost 40 years.

One might expect an occasional goofy road name in O. HO prides itself on being more "to scale". The numerous examples of Docksiders in unprototypical road names call that into question. Fun as they may be, the goof road names reminds us that we cannot rely on the model makers to get it right. We need to do our own research.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how toy manufacturers toyed with road names.