Friday, March 21, 2014


I found a bunch of older Trains magazines at a local antique shop last weekend.   I bought about 11 or so, all dating from the late 1940's to the late 1950's.   Although all the photography is black and white, I found these magazines to be super interesting.  They span the steam to diesel transition era which I model.  There are many ads by a variety of railroads and the news items are neat.   With the dieselization of American railroads the competition  between manufacturers  of these locomotives was at it's height.    The boys from the New York Ontario and Western might have been a bit optimistic about a buyer coming forward for their railroad.

One of the 1959 magazines profiled the Union Transportation Railroad, a little know farm line, and subsidiary of the PRR, just a dozen or so miles from my house.  This little line became famous as the last holdout of PRR steam around the time of this magazine.   Besides the usual rural farm traffic, the line served Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base.  The photo that I'm showing here was titled, Paradox.   The paradox being the flat car load behind the steam engine - a launch rail for a CIM-10 Bomarc long range surface to air missile.  These supersonic ram-jet missiles were part of a late 1950's, early 60's state-of-the-art air defense system.  They carried a 10 kiloton plutonium warhead, detonated in proximity to a Soviet bomber stream - like fishing with dynamite.   The installation at McGuire was the first operational in the United States and many of the materials to build it were transported by this little steam powered railroad.

A side note - the McGuire Bomarc launch facility would be the site of a significant cold-war accident less than a year after this photo was taken.  A fuel tank on one of the Bomarcs exploded and the fire melted the plutonium warhead (without detonating the explosive initiator - some first rate engineering)  contaminating the site with weapons grade plutonium.   With the Cold War at full speed, the launch shelter was quickly encased in concrete and the remainder of the installation (55 missiles) was kept operational.   In another railroad connection, the site was finally cleaned up between 2002-2004 and contaminated soil was shipped out via the former CNJ Southern Division line.

Unrelated - the complete ST&D hot metal car as built from kit.  To be detailed further,....


Vince Altiere said...

Since you've painted the bottle car silver, I assume you are showing this as having just left the manufacturer en route to (or already arrived at your mill.Or will you weather it to show use??
Also,did you encounter any quirks/problems in assembling the kit?
Vince Altiere

Jim Musser said...

Hi Vince - The car is unpainted. That is the plastic color it is molded in. Basically the result of assembling the kit as-is. The only part that I didn't use was the shield that fits around the spout, which I took to be a more modern appendage. I have to add more detail and then will paint and weather.