I've managed to build up some pretty cool Consists (as the real trainset freaks say). This page has shots showing off the different Locomotives and Rolling Stock I have.
Most of my stuff is European, but in 1999 I began to collect some American rolling stock. This is a beautiful model of the Amtrak Streamliner (thanks Ed Goodnight of Modellbahn Collectors!). I think these trains are gorgeous, particularly the lighted trains when running in the dark.
Also, the TEE engine in these pictures was brought back from Amsterdam by my good friend Raffi Kazanjian, so I call my TEE Consist The Raffi Train. I want to build out a Dutch Consist at some point, exactly like the kind of trains that I used to see when I lived and worked in Amsterdam. That will be called The Harold Train, or maybe the HEVA Express.
I love this train, it rides well and looks beautiful, particularly the realistic colored lighting in the passenger cars. The Passenger Car bodies are made out of Aluminum, to get the same look as the original. And without a doubt, the double engine (both the lead and the trailing Locomotive are powered) is the most powerful thing I own.
F7 AB Double Unit Engine
American Heavy Metal
This thing is about 2 feet long, and weighs at least a pound. The bodies are made of heavy die cast metal, and then carefully detailed. The AC motors inside are High Efficiency 5 Pole Motors that can move very slowly and smoothly or speed up to the point where she'll fly off the track.
If you run her off the track and into the Cat, the Cat will definitely not be happy!
The F7's Pug Face
This engine also has a Delta decoder, which means it can be controlled by a computer. Unfortunately, its not full Digital, otherwise it would have a bunch of extra features including sound.
Note that she isn't moving right now, so you can't see the headlights and the road number lights. Those two rectangles on either side of the headlights are also lit, and show the road number for this train.
Amtrack Aluminum 6 Car Passenger Train
The Long Shot
These cars are made of real Aluminum, which gives them a great look, weight and sound when running over the tracks. In addition, the interiors are built in, and the whole train is lit with special "blue light" lighting that is supposed to simulate the flourescent lighting used on these cars.
The Dining Car
They are also "close-coupled", which means that the cars are joined with these fiendishly small plastic bars that carry current between them. Hooking the cars together is a careful process involving small tools and glasses and a lot of light, but the whole set runs with only 2 pickup shoes instead of 6, and so runs much faster. This set was produced in 1996, and I see it being traded back and forth on eBay every now and then, usually in the $900.00 plus range for both the Engines and the Car Set, except you can't get 'em together anymore. ;)
European Passenger Trains
These European trains also run well, and look good. Märklin has been making tin passenger trains for over 100 years, and their Express Passenger Trains have always been a highpoint.
TEE/IC Trans Europe Express (The Raffi Train)
The first one is the infamous Trans Europe Express, do you remember Kraftwerk? These cars are made of metal, and each one now has its own lighting set. They sound great going over the tracks, and are a hit every Christmas when the room is dark and lit only by the tree and this train.
The Raffi Train (TEE/IC)
Note: That's a very wide shot, you may have to scroll left-right to see it all. Also, there are two bumper lights shining behind the 2nd and 3rd cars, so you can see the a bit of the interiors them.
Austrian and SNCF Express Trains
This shot shows my Austrian and French trains in front of the TEE on the inner line.
European Express Trains
The Train in the middle is the Austrian Express. My Mom got me this engine, and the first two cars, in an attempt to get a kewl express running around that Christmas Tree. These cars are metal versions of a German Express Baggage Coach, a 2nd Class German Passenger Coach.
For many years, I had lit the two cars with the wrong lights, but jury-rigged to work. I later stripped the lights and used them on the TEE. Now I want to light them again. Harold Van Aalderen got me the last car, which is a beautiful Dutch Sleeper, with a lighting set.
Express Engines Taking Off
The Turquoise and Silver train on the outer line is the SNCF French Express. I got this train on eBay through Rene and Karin Gommers (eBay ID rene-gommers). They first sold me the engine, then the 2 passenger cars. In their email correspondance, they said I should take "very good care of them". I have, and have gotten another car to round out this train. I'd like to get more of them, but they are very rare. I'm going to light the car set soon, but I'm not sure if I'll run it much. I tease my French Friends with this train, saying we cannot run it because of "Les Grèves."
Oh, in the two shots above, I removed the brushes from the motors, and turned the track voltage up so the headlights would show.
German Branch Lines
This is one of Frank's first shots of my trains, from Christmas 1998. The engine is dusty, but the closeup is still beautiful. In fact, the dust only highlights the detail (I've long since cleaned it off). Note the driving rods on the engine, and the wheel arrangement -- all that slides around as the engine is moving.
A Local Running Around the Christmas Tree
This is the Märklin "Steppenpferd" engine, a model they've made for many years. Its pulling some newer plastic cars that I haven't figured out how to light yet. However, they seem to have holes with plastic knockouts in the frame, and nice interiors, so now I'm trying to figure out how to rig a light set inside them.
My beat up Tin Plate Express
This is my first passenger train, the classic 3000 engine, two 4040 passenger cars and a 4003 baggage car that many people know. This train has been attacked time and time again by the Cat, but it still runs every year around the tree. The last car came with a light inside, so I put interiors inside the passenger cars and lit them after drilling a hole in the bottom. Märklin later changed the model so that lights could be installed anyway.
Everyone starts off with a freight train. There is some magic to the idea of the train bringing food and goods to your town in the middle of the night. In addition, an entire genre of American Music (Boogie-Woogie, or 8-To-The-Bar) was defined by the sound of Steam Freight Trains rolling through town. Here are my freight trains:
American F7 Santa-Fe
A Short American Freight Train
I always wanted American stuff for my Märklin layouts, but all they had when I was a kid was some very expensive Freight trains. Now I have the Engines and cars for that train, and some newer pieces as well.
I was in the American Desert in 1999, and I saw 2 trains like this, but much much longer. I calculated that each of those trains was about 5 miles long, no joke. So this consist is nothing for the power of a pair of F7s. By the way, both Engine pairs were in this exact paint scheme.
American Muscle in front of German rolling stock
Again, these bodies are die-cast metal, and can kill the Cat if you run them off the track right into Fluffy. Note the detailing on the raised bodywork, and yes, those rectangular Road Plate lights work quite well.
Boxcars Running The Swtiches
This shot was very hard for Frank, but he got it. It doesn't really do justice to the paint on that car, the scanned resolution is too low and the original print is far better. All that writing is clearly legible, if you use the right magnification. Still its one of the best shots he got, look how he's zoomed us in on something about the size of a hairbrush.
German Steam and Freight Consists
Of course I have quite a few German freight cars, and some German Steam Engines including a really kewl big BR 53 with 2 working Smoke Stacks. Designed in 1943 by Borsig, a major locomotive builder, the BR 53 never saw the light of day; but would have been the largest steam locomotive ever in Europe.
German Freight in the Yard
The Borsig is the Big Black Steam Engine, the medium sized one is my DB 24 Steppenferd, and the small one is the classic DB 89 that came in my Starter Set. The Blue diesal is a DHG 500 Industrial Switcher. The cars are various classic pieces of Märklin freight.
Notice the small green Electric Switching locomotive behind the Black DB 89 and the Blue DHG 500. That is the oldest piece of rolling stock I have, an electric class E63 switching engine, it dates back to 1959. This is model 3001, but repainted by me when I was very young and very stupid. It has many seperately applied details, which means the metal piping and ladders applied to the body, those parts are put on by hand.
Angle Shot showing detail
Another low-angle shot, this time of the front of the German Freight. Despite the low resolution, note the crisp lettering on the number plates in front of each Steam engine. Also note the handrails on the DHG 500, and the top of the Box Car behind it, and the lights from the signals in the background. Those signals shine red, green and orange from the front, depending on if a train can pass and at what speed.
Long Shot of Yard with Working Crane
A final shot of the German Freight, with some action by the Crane. This shot is close to what you see when you put your head down on the floor at one end of the layout, its beautiful macro photography work by Frank.
And, can you see the Steinway Grand Piano in the background?