Model Railoader magazine

When I was in my early teens, in the 50s, my father built an HO setup around the basement wall. Great fun to help him build the track.

Anyway, he made from scratch a brass steam locomotive. He didn't have a lathe so used a hand saw and pin vise to fashion the cab, boiler attachments etc. It took him over five years. If I remember correctly he used plans from Model Railroader magazine as his basis. I think it was a Mikado-type loco but can't really be sure after all this time. Can anyone confirm that plans were published in Model Railroader, during the 1950s, which one could use to scratch build a Mikado steam loco. If not a Mikado maybe it was possibly a Mountain (it was large). I haven't seen the loco in 30 years or so, but do know sold it here in Victoria, BC. so I guess it is scrap metal by now.


Chris. Spratt Victoria, BC

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Chris. Spratt
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God forbid. Hopefully someone is enjoying and appreciating your father's handiwork at this very moment.

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Frank Berger

Don't bet on it. Having locomotives over 30 years old is routine. Almost nothing in this world is as reliable as an electric motor, except maybe an automatic transmission, which isn't bad considering how much care and preventive maintenance either one gets by the average person.

You could search MR's index for construction plans at That'd help narrow it down a bit (maybe).

Jay CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"

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Model Railroader had several steam loco construction articles in that era. Some were aimed at experienced craftsmen with access to fairly extensive workshops, and some for the more ordinary guy. Charles Smith authored some of the latter type in a series of "Kitchen Table ---" articles. I was in grade school then, and always liked these articles as the projects seemed to be almost in reach. I looked back at my MR indices, and see that he started a series in November 1954 that ran into early 1955 for a Kitchen Table 2-8-2 based on the USRA heavy design. The loco used a Mantua Mikado frame and drive components, but most of the rest was made with more commonly available tools. Perhaps this is the article that guided your father's project. GQ

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