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HOW WE BUILT A CUSTOM HEIRLOOM QUALITY PETTICOAT JUNCTION “HOOTERVILLE CANNONBALL” TRAIN SET

Shop our Heirloom Petticoat Junction Train & Structure SetShop our Heirloom Petticoat Junction Train & Structure Set

hooterville-main 1Come ride the little train,
that is rolling down the tracks,
to the junction.

Forget about your cares,
it is time to relax,
at the junction...

Petticoat Junction Theme Song and Lyrics by legendary Flatt and Scruggs

Petticoat Junction is a ground breaking American situation comedy that originally aired on the CBS Network from September 1963 to April 1970. Recognizing the then huge popularity of the TV show, in 1966/1967 Tyco produced four slightly different Petticoat Junction C&FW Railroad train sets all featuring the show’s famous “Hooterville Cannonball” locomotive. (What the C&FW designation actually stood for remains shrouded in mystery. Even Paul Henning, creator of the show, doesn't remember the inspiration behind them.) Each of the four train sets included a beautiful 4-6-0 Dixie Bell Locomotive, an Overton Combine Car and two Overton Passenger Coaches. The sets were offered both with and without track and power supply.

Obviously, 50 years after their introduction, mint examples of these historic trains are very hard to find. We were fortunate, as will be the individual lucky enough to acquire our one-of-a-kind very special custom Petticoat Junction set, to find not just the loco, combine and two passenger coaches but an additional two passenger coaches as well. That was the hard part. Of course the locomotive was MRCHQ Locomotive Works serviced, tested and certified  and restored to better than new condition as we do with all of our vintage steamers. What follows is the story of the much-more-involved-than-you-might-think upgrade process which resulted  in the finest C&FW Coaches ever offered.

 

→ Let’s start at the bottom. Image#1 below is a before and after of the original trucks/wheel sets which were retained. Sort of.

  • The original trucks came stock with NMRA Hook Couplers and riveted metal coupler caps. We removed the caps and couplers, drilled out the rivets, replaced the NMRA couplers with McHenry Knuckle Couplers and reattached the modified coupler caps with screws.
  • The trucks were painted Southern Green to accent the green trim of the coaches.
  • The stock wheelsets were replaced with insulated Intermountain all-metal RP25 wheel sets.

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→Moving to the top, Image #2 Above shows four steps of the lighting installation.

  • The top image is of an original coach bottom with stock weight, trucks and couplers.
  • Next, the weights had to be cut in half with each half electrically isolated.
  • Third is a bottom view with the modified wheel sets and pickup wipers installed.
  • Last is a top view with our Custom Soft White LED Lighting Module installed using a bridge rectifier to negate track polarity. (The lights work regardless of train direction.)

→Image #3 below illustrates three steps in optimizing the coaches for lighting.

  • At the top is an inside view of a coach with our remastered Passenger Silhouettes installed. More about that in image #4.
  • The middle is a top view showing the holes created allowing the lighting system to also illuminate the clerestory windows.
  • The bottom shows the coach roof with tinted acetate custom installed in the otherwise open clerestory windows and the black-out strip to contain the interior light.

HOOT-3aHOOT-4a

→Image #4 above shows:

    • The C&FW Combine with our Custom Remastered Passenger Silhouettes installed.
    • The original faded and blurry stock passenger silhouettes.
    • Our Custom Remastered Passenger Silhouettes. To honor and preserve the original look and feel of these classic vintage cars we scanned and enhanced the original silhouettes to dramatically increase their sharpness, contrast and clarity at the same time adding black-outs to reduce interior lighting bleed through of the coach bodies. The remastered images were then printed at 9600dpi on premium semi-gloss photo paper.

→Image #5: Renumbering the Passenger Coaches.

  • Every original C&FW Passenger Coach was numbered #93. When creating the finest C&FW set ever offered, that simply won’t do.
  • Mixing paint to match the original color we painted over the original road numbers.
  • Using Woodland Scenics rub-on numbers, we renumbered the cars from 93 to 96.

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Image #6: The completed set with fully restored locomotive and reassembled cars all ready to roll in their custom foam padded gift box.

 

HEISLER - THE BULL OF THE WOODS FOR 50 YEARS

Heisler 1Moving logs was tough work in the mid-19th century and many operations began using railroads to speed production. With no need for permanent track, logging lines were built fast and cheap. Uneven roadbed, sharp curves and steep grades proved too much for conventional rod-driven engines. Loggers, engineers and inventors began developing gear-driven locos that could handle rough track and heavy loads. One of these would soon be known by the name of its inventor - Charles Heisler.

Read more: HEISLER - THE BULL OF THE WOODS FOR 50 YEARS

PRR E6s Atlantic No. 460, The Lindbergh Engine

RAILROAD-MUSEUM-OF-PENNSYLVANIA

atlantic-460No. 460's vital statistics:

  • Engine weight  243,000 lbs.
  • Tender weight   167,650 lbs.
  • Cylinders  23 1/2 x 26 inches
  • Driver diameter  80 inches
  • Boiler pressure  205 psi
  • Heating surface  3509 square feet
  • Tractive force  31,275 lbs.
  • Tender capacity, coal  15.8 tons
  • Tender capacity, water  7150 gallons
  • Atlantic Class wheel arrangement 4-4-2
  • Built  1914 at PRR Juniata Shops; retired 1955

Major claim to fame: spectacular race against a plane in 1927 

Read more: PRR E6s Atlantic No. 460, The Lindbergh Engine

Sierra # 3

300px-Old Sierra_No_3_DHSierra No. 3, often called the "Movie Star locomotive", is a 19th-century steam locomotive owned by the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California. Former Transportation History curator at the Smithsonian Institution William L. Withhuhn described the locomotive's historical and cultural significance: "Sierra Railway No. 3 has appeared in more motion pictures, documentaries, and television productions than any other locomotive. It is undisputedly the image of the archetypal steam locomotive that propelled the USA from the 19th century into the 20th." It has been called "the most photographed locomotive in the world." Built in 1891,

Read more: Sierra # 3

4-6-0 Ten Wheeler

image-SandDiegoArizona-Rogers-4-6-0The Norris Locomotive Works built the first 4-6-0 in North America in 1847 for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. The design was a natural evolution of the American 4-4-0. Like the American, the esthetically beautiful and often ornately ornamented Ten-Wheeler was found in both passenger and freight operations. Although larger on average than their American contemporaries, the Ten-Wheelers remained modest sized locomotives for most of their long tenure. With over 16,000 produced they were exceeded in popularity among US railroads through much of the 19th Century only by the classic 2-8-0 Consolidation. On most railroads in the second half of the 19th Century 4-6-0s were typically assigned to one engineer or “Pilot” who often kept them polished and spotlessly clean. Illinois-Central-382

By the 1880s, the Ten-Wheeler began to lose ground to the Atlantic (4-4-2) for faster passenger service and the Consolidation (2-8-0) for heavy freight service. But the 4-6-0 occupied that space in the middle that was useful for both lighter and faster freight runs and heavier passenger trains which didn't demand the fastest schedules.

Though the most well known 4-6-0 was probably Illinois Central #382 which engineer Casey Jones rode to his death, the most famous is certainly “The movie star locomotive” Sierra #3 owned by the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California. Former Transportation History curator at the Smithsonian Institution William L. Withhuhn described the locomotive's historical and cultural significance: "Sierra Railway No. 3 has appeared in more motion pictures, documentaries, and television productions than any other locomotive. It is undisputedly the image of the archetypal steam locomotive that propelled the USA from the 19th century into the 20th.

image-Burlington-Rogers-4-6-0-1

By the 1880s, the Ten-Wheeler began to lose ground to the Atlantic (4-4-2) for faster passenger service and the Consolidation (2-8-0) for heavy freight service. But the 4-6-0 occupied that space in the middle that was useful for both lighter and faster freight runs and heavier passenger trains which didn't demand the fastest schedules.

 

See the complete line of Vintage Model Steam Locomotives Works in our Store!

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image-SandDiegoArizona-Rogers-4-6-0 

 

4-8-0 “Twelve Wheeler”

image-1882-Mastodon-4-8-0CPR no. 229, the "Mastodon" of 1882One of the more unique wheel arrangements to be applied to a steam locomotive was the 4-8-0 twelve wheeler. The very first 4-8-0 locomotive is believed to have been the "Centipede", a tender locomotive built by Ross Winans in 1855 for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the U.S.A. where it remained in service for nearly twenty years. It appears to have been delivered in a cab-forward type of configuration that was modified to a Camel configuration in 1864. On a Camel locomotive the cab was mounted atop the boiler, unlike the later Camelback locomotive whose cab straddled the boiler and that first appeared around 1877.

300px-Centipede 4-8-01855 Winans “Centipede” Before and AfterThe name Mastodon for the 4-8-0 wheel arrangement was derived from the unofficial name of the first 4-8-0 locomotive of the Central Pacific Railroad in the USA, the wood-fired CPR no. 229, which was designed and built in 1882 by the railroad's master mechanic, Andrew Jackson (A.J.) Stevens, at the railroad’s Sacramento works in California.

In general, “Twelve Wheeler” was essentially a freight locomotive and was relatively rare when compared to other wheel arrangements of the time like the 4-4-0 American, 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler, 2-6-0 Mogul, and 2-8-0 Consolidation. The 4-8-0 was meant to be a more powerful replacement for some of aforementioned designs, notably the American and Ten Wheeler, and was primarily manufactured between 1890 and 1900 although some designs were built as late as the 1920s. The type never achieved great popularity, although there were four occasions when a specific 4-8-0 locomotive was considered as the "heaviest and/or most powerful in the world" upon its introduction.

thumb image-Hoffecker-Champion-4-8-0Hoffecker’s 1880 4-8-0 “Champion”

Those locomotives were the no. 20 "Champion", designed by Philip Hoffecker for the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1880, the no. 229 "Mastodon" of the Central Pacific Railroad in 1882, the G5 class of the Great Northern Railway in 1897, and the no. 640 of the Illinois Central Railroad in 1899. It is noteworthy that the Great Northern G5 had 16-inch-diameter (410 mm) piston valves, as large as the pistons of many locomotives then in service.

  

baldwin-locomotive-works-4-8-0Norfolk and Western Railway class M2 Even though, at the time, the wide-firebox 2-8-2 Mikado had much more potential as far as speed is concerned, the Norfolk and Western Railway opted for the class M 4-8-0 for its shorter wheelbase that enabled it to have over 90 percent of the locomotive's weight on the driving wheels, and the four-wheel leading truck for greater stability. Built by Baldwin Locomotive Works from 1906 and nicknamed "Mollies", the class M, class M1 and class M2 became the most numerous American class of 4-8-0.

See the complete line of Vintage Model Steam Locomotives Works in our Store! 

image-mastodon-libraryMagnificent Brass “Twelve Wheeler” on display in the Reference Room of the Main Denver Library

 

2-6-0 Mogul

Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-6-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, usually in a leading truck, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and no trailing wheels. This arrangement is commonly called a Mogul.

See the complete line of Vintage Model Steam Locomotives Works in our Store!

In the United States of America (USA) and Europe the 2-6-0 wheel arrangement was principally used on tender locomotives. This type of locomotive was widely built in the USA from the early 1860s to the 1920s.

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Although examples were built as early as 1852–53 by two Philadelphia manufacturers, Baldwin Locomotive Works and Norris Locomotive Works, these first examples had their leading axles mounted directly and rigidly on the frame of the locomotive, rather than on a separate truck or bogie. On these early 2-6-0 locomotives the leading axle was merely used to distribute the weight of the locomotive over a larger number of wheels. It was therefore essentially an 0-8-0 with an unpowered leading axle and the leading wheels did not serve the same purpose as, for example, the leading trucks of the 4-4-0 American or 4-6-0 Ten-Wheeler types that, at the time, had been in use for at least a decade.

The first American 2-6-0 with a rigidly mounted leading axle was the "Pawnee", built for heavy freight service on the Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road. In total, about thirty locomotives of this type were built for various American railroads. While they were generally successful in slow, heavy freight service, the railroads that used these first 2-6-0 locomotives didn't see any great advantages in them over the 0-6-0 or 0-8-0 designs of the time. The railroads noted their increased pulling power, but also found that their rather rigid suspension made them more prone to derailments than the 4-4-0 locomotives of the day. Many railroad mechanics attributed these derailments to having too little weight on the leading truck.

2-6-0 mogul-5The first true 2-6-0s were built in the early 1860s, the first few being built in 1860 for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The new design required the utilization of a single-axle swiveling truck. Such a truck was first patented in Great Britain by Levi Bissell in May 1857.

2-6-0 mogul-2In 1864 William S. Hudson, then the superintendent of Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works, patented an equalized leading truck that was able to move independently of the driving axles. This equalized suspension worked much better over the uneven tracks of the day. The first locomotive built with such a leading truck was likely completed in 1865 for the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company as their number 39.

It is likely that the locomotive class name derives from a locomotive that was named "Mogul", built by Taunton Locomotive Manufacturing Company in 1866 for the Central Railroad of New Jersey. However, it has also been suggested that, in England, it derived from the engine of that name built by Neilson and Company for the Great Eastern Railway in 1879.  

See the complete line of Vintage Model Steam Locomotives Works in our Store! 

2-6-0 mogul-6

2-6-0 mogul-4

About Micro-Trains Line® Co. Inc

Their roots go back to 1940, when Micro-Trains® founders Keith Edwards and his twin brother Dale started making model train turnouts. They chose the name Kadee for their new enterprise. By the late 1940s, they had designed and patented the Magne-Matic® Coupler, which revolutionized model railroading. It provided a revolutionary new realistic looking and operationally superior coupler system. This HO scale coupler system soon became the standard by choice of the operational model railroader.

By the early '60s, the brothers began to manufacture their Magne-Matic® coupler system in a new, smaller scale, called N scale (1:160). Gradually they added wheels, trucks and under frames to their line of N scale products.

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In 1972, they took the next logical step and introduced a complete freight car to the N scale line. At that point, Micro-Trains® Line, was formed as a separate division. Soon, Micro-Trains® was in full swing, specializing in N Scale model trains, Magne-Matic® couplers, and accessories. Eventually added to the product line, were cars and couplers in Nn3 scale, (narrow gauge N scale) and the even smaller Z scale (1:220).

In 1990, after continued growth and expansion, the original Kadee Co. was physically divided into two separate corporations.

Micro-Trains Line® Co. Inc., one of the two new companies, retained manufacturing rights to all products in N, Nn3 and Z scale.

In the 90s, interest in N scale model railroading grew dramatically, as more and more people found entertainment and fun in the operation and collecting of this ideal scale. The phenomenal growth in the popularity and quality of N scale can be attributed to a great degree by Micro-Trains® efforts.

Today, Micro-Trains® is the only model train manufacturer of any scale that offers more than 80 different styles of prototypically correct model train freight cars. The company's uncompromising standards of excellence are reflected in the uniquely accurate features, and exacting fidelity in the micro-fine printing and lettering that each freight car offers. The fit, finish, and detail of each item produced is celebrated throughout the railroad modeling community.

Micro-Trains® distributes these freight cars in a variety of forms; including single car releases, multi-packs, and complete train sets.

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In addition, the company specializes in providing 'Special Run' releases, customized to the exact requirements requested by clubs, organizations, and businesses of all types.

To compliment the full line of prototypically correct freight cars, Micro-Trains® also produces a line referred to as 'Special Editions.' These cars capture a variety of popular, and fictitious schemes & heralds on freight cars that would otherwise never appear on the rails.

So, whether you're a model train operator, a collector, or someone who simply enjoys the highest quality models of any type, Micro-Trains® is the source, both today and tomorrow!

Made in U.S.A.                      ©2013 Micro-Trains Line Co., Inc. All rights reserved

Take a Tour of the Micro Trains Factory!

This fascinating video, produced by Micro Trains, takes you inside the Micro Trains Factory and highlights the many steps required to produce the finest N Scale products on the market today. Not to be missed. Run time about 16 minutes.

The History of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Trains

Circuses have been a part of American history since the founding of our country. Small circus troupes dating as far back as the the late 1700s would eventually give way to larger shows that began using freight cars to travel from city to city. Those circuses that transitioned from wagons to rail were able to reach far more cities in much less time which, in turn, generated more revenue.

In 1881 P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey decided to combine their shows, creating the Barnum & Bailey Circus, which also carried the moniker The Greatest Show On Earth. Just a few years later, five brothers with the last name Ringling would embark on starting their own circus and, in 1889, they began traveling their growing show by rail. In 1907 the Ringling Brothers purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus but operated them separately until 1919 when they combined to form Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey now maintains two separate trains that visit different major cities each year; the "Blue Unit" Train and the "Red Unit Train". Each train is a mile long with more than 50 passenger, freight and stock cars to transport their workers, performers, animals, supplies and vehicles. Both of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey trains are very similar to each other with the only real distinguishing feature being the different color logos. These trains and cars, along with all their circus predecessors small and large, have become a major part of railroad history.

(For more information, the definitive resource on the history of circus trains is "The Circus Moves by Rail" by Chappie Fox and Tom Parkinson available for a limited time in the Carnival Themed Gifts area of our web site.)

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The images above are of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey "Blue Unit" and "Red Unit" trains distinguishable only by the Red and Blue RBBB&B "Globe" logos. Notice the proprietary "RBBX" Road Numbers for the cars.

Beginning in the late 1950's, various model railroad equipment manufacturers began offering Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey themed train products and several, like Bachmann, Micro Trains and Lionel, continue to do so to this day. Sadly, many of the original model railroad companies have passed on into history but their circus products, like those still produced today, are some of the most beautiful model trains ever produced and remain highly collectible. If one searches diligently these vintage models can often still be found in new or mint condition. We here at MRCHQ are nothing if not diligent and we have spent literally hundreds of hours searching for, acquiring and assembling one of the worlds largest collections of vintage and new HO and N scale model circus and carnival train products. Debuting hand in hand with this new, radically upgraded web site, new product categories and hundreds of other model, circus, carnival and amusement park products, we proudly offer you this magnificent collection of historic and collectible model railroad products.

Our mission always has been, and remains, to introduce the joys and benefits of scale modeling to a new and ever growing hobbyist audience of all ages. Whether you want to build our models just for the joy of building them or if you want to assemble elaborate model circus, carnival, or amusement park scenes complete with ALL the goodies, you will find everything you could dream of only at MRCHQ, your model carnival, circus, amusement park and, now, vintage and new circus/carnival model train, Superstore. Welcome aboard!