This is a letter I wrote to MR magazine.
Since Terry Thompson is a gutless weasel he naturally didn't publish it. =======================================================================
As a New York Central fan I have a few words to say about the choice of the Niagara by Broadway Limited. While it's a very nice model I think that the money spent for tooling for a prototype that only had 27 locomotives ever built is wasteful. The only thing less useful would be a model of one of the Boston and Albany's Boston area commuter steam locomotives.
There are several locomotives that we New York Central modelers really need that are much more deserving of being manufactured and ought to have been produced before the Niagara was.
The New York Central owned over seven hundred mikados. A mikado in one of the myriad H-5 two dozen sub-classes would have been much better choice. The Central owned twelve H-5s for each Niagara they owned. The H-5 was used nearly system wide on the Central. In addition, they were on the road for four decades versus the Niagara's one.
Next would be a H-10 class. The H-10 was the locomotive that touched off the superpower era of steam. The Central had 302 in three sub-classes. The New York Central owned over eleven for each Niagara they owned. In addition, they were on the road for three decades versus the Niagara's one.
For the Central's Lines West crowd a H-7 is not unreasonable. There were 130 in five sub-classes. That's almost five for each Niagara owned. In addition, they were on the road for three decades versus the Niagara's one.
Next, the Central's big freight and multipurpose locomotive, the Mohawk. The Mohawk is also a better candidate for a model than a Niagara. The Central had six hundred of them in four classes.
The L-1, with four subclasses was the second most numerous Mohawk on the road. The New York Central owned nearly seven of them for each Niagara they owned. In addition, they were on the road for four decades versus the Niagara's one.
Likewise the L-2, with four sub-classes, was the most numerous Mohawk in the Central. It rivaled the H-5 and H-10 Mikados for the honor of being the most numerous freight locomotive. The New York Central owned over eleven of them for each Niagara they owned. In addition, they were on the road for three decades versus the Niagara's one.
Even the L-3 and L-4 Mohawk's with rosters of 65 and 50 locomotives respectively outnumber the Niagaras at around two to one. They were on the roster for a longer time then the Niagara.
I could go into the Central's vast collection of pacific types but I think I've already made my point. Making the model of a Niagara, a locomotive of limited use and extremely short time frame of usage on the Central just isn't smart. I wish manufacturers would consider such things much more carefully before deciding to make a new model.
This should be especially obvious in the case of the Niagara given that there is a Bachmann model, while not a outstanding model but at least available, of the prototype already available. Instead of two useful models of two different prototypes we have two models of one. If you're going to pick a prototype to cut new tooling for at least pick one that has many examples built