S. Berliner, III's Model Railroad Continuation Page 1
keywords = model rail train Z HO scale Ztrack Western Fruit Express WFEX Great Northern GN Pennsylvania Kiesel Pennsy PRR Berlinerwerke Vest Pocket Degnon Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal BEDT Marion River Carry schnable Strombecker railroading museum
Updated:  02 Mar 2015; 12:20  ET
(Created:  09 May 2005)
[Ref:  This is mrr1.html   (URL http://sbiii.com/mrr1.html)]

S. Berliner, III's

Model Railroad Continuation Page 1

Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"
Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher


NOTE:  Page size was limited by HTML to some 30kB; thus, I was forced to add this page and a continuation page 2 to the main MRR page, et seq., and separate pages to fit the lengthy Berlinerwerke sagas (HO and Z scales).

NOTE:  I regret that some of my internal links refuse to work; if they don't, please click "Back" and scroll.


On main MRR Page:

  Sunrise Trail Division (STD) of the
      Northeastern Region (NER) of the
      National Model Railroad Association (NMRA)
  Long Island - Sunrise Trail Chapter (LIST) of the
      National Railway Historical Society (NRHS)
  Long Island Live Steamers
  Model Railroading Museum - here on Long Island!

On this page:

  Model Railroading Miscellany

On MRR Continuation Page 2:

    Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model

    Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad
        (now on its own page)

    Degnon Terminal Railroad, plus
        Murrer's Sidings
        Kearney Sidings,

  as well as (on an LIRR page):
      Blissville/Laurel Hill,     Blissville Sidings
    Laurel Hill Sidings
    and Maspeth and Fresh Pond -
    Maspeth Yard
    Fresh Pond Yard

    New York & Atlantic Railway.

    Marion River Carry Railroad Page (now on its own page).

On MRR Continuation Page 3:

    REALLY HEAVY Electrics.     Model Railroad Miscellany.     A and B vs. F (and 1 and 2) Ends.
    PRR/Wrong Island #007 Cabin Car.
    Garden Railway Scales.
    Making a Stacker from a Front End Loader.
    Berlinerwerke-ALCo RSD-1m.
    Model Railroading HELP!.

On MRR Continuation Page 4:

    Railroad Grades
    Model Railroad Photography
    More Model Railroad Miscellany, with
        Hobbytown of Boston (Bear Locomotive Co.).

On MRR Continuation Page 5:

    Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model - continued
    Atlas Terminal RR

On MRR Continuation Page 6:

    Life-Like ALCo DL-109.

On MRR Continuation Page 7:

    Oyster Bay Marine Turntable
        (moved from RR Page 3 and greatly amplified 07 Jun 2004).
    HOMABED® Roadbed.

On the Great Northern/Western Fruit Express Page:

    Great Northern/Western Fruit Express Reefers

On Z-Scale pages:

  Scale and Gauge
  Scale Conversion Table (look here - **)
  Ztrack Magazine
  and an index to much, much more, including
  Sub-Z-Scale with Z Meter Gauge,
    Half-Z Scale - 1:440 Tiny Trains, and even 1:900 Tiniest Trains!

On separate pages:

  ALCO-GE-IR Boxcab Locomotives, et seq.
  Schnable and other Giant RR Cars.
  Schnable Cars Continuation Page.
  S. Berliner, III's Pennsylvania Railroad Page, et seq.
    and PRR Modeling (Penn Line/Cary/Bowser)
  Berlinerwerke Saga (HO-Scale, included with Horseshoe Curve information)
    and continuation pages with prototype and HO/N/S scale dimensions,
      satellite photo, pictures, description of the Horseshoe Curve
  Berlinerwerke Saga (Z-Scale)
      which latter has had to be continued onto six more pages!

      including a Tour of the Berlinerwerke-Z.
  Berlinerwerke Apocrypha (tall tales of the BW and its equipment and such)
  Berlinerwerke Apocrypha Page 2 (more tall tales).
  Berlinerwerke Guest Apocrypha (taller tales?):
    CSXT AC100CBW and NSC CB100W-10 10,000 horsepower locos!
  EMD - Electro-Motive Division of GM - models, etc.,
    including the fabled BW DDP45 and other EMD engines
    EMD may never have dreamed of!
  HOW TO BOOT A STEAM LOCOMOTIVE or How to hostle without really tiring -
      (Firing up a cold oil burner - in 1:1 scale).
  The Whyte System of Classification (4-4-0, 4-6-2, B-B, etc.).


- information moved to Z-Scale page.  You might also like to look at José Lopez, Jr.'s The Scale Card, for a most extensive discussion of scales.  I have a write-up and photo of his Z-scale Scale Card and Scale Rule on my Z-Scale page 2.

The BERLINERWERKE SAGA, the story of the HO Berlinerwerke pike,
is now combined with the story of the Horseshoe Curve on its own separate page.

The full Z-scale pike story, the BERLINERWERKE-Z SAGA
now appears on its own page, as well, but has had to be continued onto two more pages.

Visit these courtesy and official home pages:

Sunrise Trail Chapter
NRHS (National Railway Historical Society)

Ztrack Magazine
The Newsletter for Z Scale Model Railroading
Z-Scale is only 1:220 with rails only ¼" apart!
It is about 2½ times smaller than HO!
Please Note:  This courtesy home page has been moved to a new Z-Scale page!

Long Island Live Steamers

Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad

Degnon Terminal Railroad, plus
    Murrer's Sidings
    Kearney Sidings

    Marion River Carry Railroad Page (now on its own page).

New York & Atlantic Railway

You may also wish to jump to SB,III's RAILROAD Page


Jeff Scherb's great "The Model Train Magazine Index (new URL) - An index to Model Railroad magazines from 1933 to the present", formerly sponsored/hosted by Accurail and now by Kalmbach.

Accurail produces among the finest HO and N freight car models, Kalmbach is one of the two top RR publishers, and Jeff gives us an unparalled access to old articles on models and prototypes; I strongly recommend Jeff's great work to you.

Because much information about railroads is in German, you might find Chris Ozdoba's Eisenbahn- und Modellbahn-Wörterbuch - Deutsch-Englisch / Railroad and Model Railroading Dictionary - German-English of value.


Model Railroading Miscellany

  (moved from the main MRR page on 09 May 2005.

Here's an oddity, more toy RR than model RR, but a puzzlement to me nevertheless; a contractor tearing out our kitchen for a complete rebuild found these pieces between walls of ca. 1950 and ca. 1980:   new.gif (02 Dec 08)

(02 Dec 2008 photo by and © 2008 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

It's clearly British (or at least European) and the coal tender from a battery-operated, spring-wound, or hand-powered steam loco; probably from a Christmas set from the "snow" over the hood and load; and the name on the side is "ANASTASIA".  The track section is marked "17" underneath and has lightly serrated rail heads.  The tender drawbar swivels.  There are no other identifying marks or features.  Can anyone identify this toy?

** - This North American P-51D Mustang model, NL51PT Petie 3rd, clearly was built to 1':12" scale but is equally clearly a 1:87.1 model:

(photos from, courtesy of, and © 2006 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

This photo, reproduced by specific written permission, is from Brian Lockett's fabulous virtual Goleta Air & Space Museum, which I strongly recommend to you that are "air-minded"!

My first "model" railroad was a gigantic, two-level Lionel O-scale monstrosity (with no scenery) my dad built "for me", hinged over my bed and too heavy for me to raise and lower; my mother was afraid it would drop on me one night and crush me!  Here are two 1941 photos of it I found in an old family album:

MyFirstLayout3 MyFirstLayout4
(1941 photos by S. Berliner, Jr. and © 2006 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

These must have been taken by available light, just before it was sold.  That sure doesn't look like it folded!

When someone saw it and wanted it badly, Dad sold it on the spot for $1,000, a simply-staggering amount ca. 1940 or 41!  Between Pearl Harbor and Christmas, 1941, he drove me down to Woodbury Junction, New Jersey (due east of Philadephia), to John Tyler's (thus the later TYCO) Mantua* plant, where we picked up their HO starter set for a whole $25!  That included an oval of flex track on black fiber ties, with black-oxide steel rails (I still have two halves of one section), a primitive power pack, a brass-and-Zamac Roundhouse Goat 0-4-0 camelback (so-called - it's actually a Mother Hubbard), a string of wood-and-metal freight cars, and a brass bobber caboose/crummy/hack/cabin car.  The cars were a silver Texaco single dome {?} tanker, a reddish Baby Ruth boxcar, a blue-and-white old Dutch Cleanser boxcar, and my pride and joy, a yellow Great Northern/Western Fruit Express (GN/WFEX) reefer with Rocky, the GN Mountain Goat, in a circle.  The box was about 18" long by 12" deep by 1½" high, blue with red piping, with an off-white label in the center with black and red printing.  In addition to the track, I still have a few bits of the old Mantua loop-and-hook couplers in my junk box, (plus an O-scale dummy knuckle coupler); all the rest is LONG gone.  The track was set up on the carpet on occasion and did not bear up well under that punishment.  I have since replaced the loco and the bobber (NOT second childhood stuff - I never left the first one) and the GN/WFEX reefer led to "reefer madness"; I'm not a collector, as such, but see my GN/WFEX page line-up!

* - on 13 Dec 2001, I reported that Mantua had gone out of the model railroad business (per MR, Jan 2002, p. 47, Industry News); well, Model Power has brought back Mantua as their Mantua Classics line and, further, as of 2014, Model Rectifer (MRC) bought out and subsumed Model Power!   rev.gif

Speaking of old Mantua models, ooops!  At the Great South Bay Model RR Show on Sunday, 07 Dec 2007, I was wandering the aisles and spotted this for $10:


08/09 Jan 07 photos by and © 2007 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved

Only $10?  I scooped it up without haggling and even brought it home and took these photos before I realized it was a GN "BOXCAR", NOT a reefer, let alone a WFEX reefer, which I collect:

23 Oct 04 photo by and © 2004 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved

Oh, well; it is an original Mantua (even if it does have dummy knuckle couplers in lieu of the loop/hook Mantuas) in its original box and the detail's not bad:

MantuaBoxcarBox2 MantuaBoxcarBox1

08/09 Jan 07 photos by and © 2007 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved

Note that it came only as an undecorated kit; you had to get the sides from your dealer, although the price included them! The price sticker was pulled off long ago; wonder what the price was (and when).

Ca. 1959, my dad decided to build his own little layout with which to putter but he lived in a moderate-sized apartment in New York City and had no room for a decent model RR, so he devised a fold-down pike that nested in an alcove in the dining room:

Dads5960layoutA Dads5960layoutB
(ca. 1959/60 photos by S. Berliner, Jr. and © 2006 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

[Minox 16mm micro-camera photos, thumb and all!}

This appears to be HO, 3' x 4', and it was hidden by a venetian blind when folded up; there was a photo-mural on the back that was a view of Manhattan which could be glimpsed through the blind, so it seemed to be a window looking out on the city.  You can see the blind cords.  An MRC Golden Throttlepack is fitted into the front right corner and the demountable control panel, with block and turnout toggles, is held on two ¼" studs by wing nuts.  When he became ill in 1963 and too weak to lower and lift the layout, it went to my nephew; since it lacked operational interest, it languished and died.

When he was in the hospital in 1963, I made Dad a lap-top layout in early N scale, mounted on a 2' x 3' piece of "fluff" board (like ceiling tile), with a thin layer of cardboard to hold spikes, which he could hold on his lap in bed.  When he recovered, he brought that gem home, beefed it up, and made friends with Charlie Merzbach, the importer of Arnold Rapido (see MRR page 3), and the Rapido and some Treble-O-'Lectric stuff kept him busy for many delightful convalescing hours.

Now, as to that ancient (62 years old) section of steel Flextrack, here it is, still spiked to a piece of ¼" x 1-5/8" x 18¼" pine (still true as a die!) with the ends turned up for use as a display track at shows:

1941 Steel Flextrack
(13 Jan 03 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
{sorry, I can't find my missing close-up lenses}

There's a wee bit of rust on the sides, where the staples touch, but that only makes it look even better!  Wonder where the other half is?

I (SB,III) bought my first brass locomotive from Willis Hobbies founder, the late Karl Boehringer, for a whole, whopping $7.50, ca. 1961.  Here she is today, configured as an 0-6-0T yard goat, still cranking on her original brushes:

ca. 1960 Ken Kidder Convertible Tank Engine
(photo by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - All rights reserved)

Note the price stamped on the original box ($10.75);
now THAT was a bargain for brass, even at full price!
By today's standards, at that deep discount, it's a miracle
(and a testimony to his outstanding service)
that Karl survived in the business!

The front and rear steps were solid, full width, and plain, so I bought and soldered on a set of fancy brass investment castings.  The driver wheelsets had large, solid, coined brass wheels so, while out in Denver, Colorado, one day ca.1965, I stopped at their Caboose Hobby Shop and picked up a set of geared spoked drivers for the Ken Kidder Mogul (I theenk), slightly smaller but far better looking and far better suited to a yard goat.   rev.gif I suppose I should blacken the frame one of these days.

The only problem I have with this engine is that the phosphor bronze wipers I fashioned to replace the originals keep burning off.

The engine was called a "Convertible" because it could be configured as a (take your choice):

0-4-0T 0-6-0T 0-4-2T 0-6-2T 2-4-0T 2-6-0T 2-4-2T 2-6-2T

but the lead and trailing trucks were quite "ungovernable" and not worth the trouble of rerailing constantly; thus, the 0-6-0T configuration.

I heard from a member of the Large Scale Central who is building a freelance boxcab in 7/8"=1' scale; their site has almost 700 photos posted that took up quite a bit of my time - I heartily recommend it to you.

Don't forget to look at the continuation page to this page, et seq.

If you like model railroading nonsense (and good tips), take a gander at Jim Wells' incredible
[The AW NUTS Magazine site of the A.W. N.U.T.S. Garden Railway Society is no longer available.]

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