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THIS booklet was designed to provide a brief, running commentary on the country along the trail of The Milwaukee Road between Lake Michigan and the Pacific Coast for the great streamliner – OLYMPIAN HIAWATHA.
The Comet was a diesel electric streamliner built in 1935 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company. It was initially placed into service between Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island on a 44 mile, 44 minute schedule as advertised. Between 1947–1948, Baldwin built three unique coal-fired steam turbine-electric locomotives, designed for passenger service on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O).
The Milwaukee Road has long been noted for its awesome scenery; particularly on the Pacific Extension, which traverses several mountain ranges.
The Pullman Company, with noted Industrial Designer Brooks Stevens, came up with a stunning variation of their standard boat tail observation car. There were so many things to look at… Not just the trains, the engines and cars, but all the figures, cars, animals, and details in the layout.
And then you’ll need to make at least one more trip looking at the vintage railroad engines and cars displayed on the walls and on the side of the layout! The bubbling oil rig lights that look like vintage bubble light Christmas tree ornaments were a complete surprise. You can delete the comment if inappropriate, but I was pointed to this site a year ago by someone, and there were so many train layouts under Christmas trees that I spent the twelve days of Christmas looking at them. In 2003 the BBC created a documentary celebrating the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World. The SS Great Eastern: Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Great Eastern is an iron sailing steam ship and was considered to be the largest ship ever built at the time of her 1858 launch. The Brooklyn Bridge: Taking over 13 years to construct and completed in 1883 at 5989 feet long, made the Brooklyn Bridge at the time the longest bridge in the world. Bell Rock Lighthouse: Located in the North Sea across from the coast of Angus, Scotland is the Bell Rock Lighthouse, which is the oldest sea washed lighthouse in the world.
The London Sewerage System: During the early 19th century, London used the River Thames as an open sewer which due to the city’s growth, became outdated and started causing a foul stench and disastrous consequences for public health in London.
The Panama Canal: The Panama Canal is one of the largest most difficult engineering feats ever to have been built in the world.
The First Transcontinental Railroad:Also known as the “Pacific Railroad,” the First Transcontinental Railroad was the first rail system to connect the Eastern and Western seaboards. The Hoover Dam: Located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, the Hoover Dam was considered to be the largest concrete structure ever built in the world.
A model train passes over a replica of post war State Street in Schenectady as part of the large, highly detailed HO Scale layout of the New York Central Railroad track from Rensselaer to Amsterdam in the basement of Jim Cesare of Niskayuna.
An assignment this week took me to Jim Cesare’s Niskayuna home where he was hosting rail buffs from around the country in town for the weekend for the NY Central System Historical Society’s annual convention. K McGrath: Fantastic photos and narrative from my friend and consummate professional, Lori Van Buren!
The Huckleberry Railroad began operating in 1857 as part of the Flint Pere Marquette Railroad Company. The Alaska Railroad was a three-foot gauge railroad and ran out of Fairbanks to the coal mines of Nenana, and the gold rush town of Chatanika.
After restoration was completed on #2 locomotive in 1976, it was put into service at the Huckleberry Railroad.


After proudly serving the Huckleberry Railroad for 14 years as the primary locomotive, #2 was in need of a major repair and overhaul. Locomotive service #464 was built in 1903 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. In 1981, the Huckleberry Railroad acquired #464 from Knotts Berry Farm and immediately started restoration.
The Huckleberry Railroad operates seven locomotives, two cabooses, one hopper car, and motor car (Speeder). Smaller than the other streamliners, it was a three-car, double-ended train that could operate in both directions and thus did not need to be turned at destinations. This service lasted until the beginning of World War II, when increased traffic volume overwhelmed the capacity of the Comet, after which it was placed on local commuter services around the Boston area. The 6,000 horsepower units which were equipped with Westinghouse electrical systems were 106 feet long, making them the longest locomotives ever built for passenger service. The lower part of the rear end, up to just below the window line, is standard in all respects.
He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc.
I don’t recall word for word, but it was so alarming that I indeed remained glued to the station and watched the news especially for that report.
I myself was completely smitten with the Lionel Madison Hardware Shop model — there was a miniature model train set in the miniature store window!
A civil engineer by the name of Joseph Bazalgette took over the job of building this underground infrastructure. Jim’s model details the NY Central tracks of the 1930’s and 40’s from Amsterdam to Rensselaer and I can vouch for its accuracy as I immediately recognized my home town of Schenectady.
A person could jump off the train, pick a few huckleberries, and jump back on the train with minimum effort.
Of the seven locomotives, #2 and #464 are the primary locomotives that serve the Huckleberry Railroad.
Once the standard gauge main line of Alaska Railroad was completed, the AEC dissolved, and its property transferred over to the Alaska Railroad. In January of 1990, #2 went down for service, and the newly rebuilt locomotive #464 went into service.
The cab was mounted in the center, with a coal bunker ahead of it and a backwards mounted boiler behind it. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. It’s not just the rush of the choo-choos, the excitement of their woo-woos, but the chance to build the whole miniature world! But if you consider the years you can take to build and grow your set, it’s achievable to do it piece by piece. I guess it’s like looking at photos of the interiors of General Stores from the past. He built a modern sewer system that purified the city and resulted in the end of the epidemics of cholera and typhoid that had sickened the population. I came along a little later than steam engines but that view of State Street is right out of my childhood.


Each 40-minute journey behind our authentic Baldwin steam locomotive takes you along the shores of Mott Lake, down a stretch of the historic Pere Marquette roadbed, and back into the heart of Crossroads Village. The branch of the Pere Marquette from Flint to Otter Lake (15 miles) was constructed under the Flint River Railroad Charter and opened in 1872.
Of the locomotives operating since the beginning of the Huckleberry Railroad, #2 is the only locomotive still in active service. The cab was stained with a deeper color to give it a more realistic look, and the red paint on the locomotive was changed to black to give the locomotive cab a more traditional appearance.
During its time with the Rio Grande, it also served in the Rio Grande Southern in the 1940s and was used as the yard switcher out of Durango, Colorado, in the 1950s. In January of 1990, #2 went down for major repairs, and #464 became the Huckleberry’s primary locomotive.
The rental fee includes a 40-minute ride that takes you past some of the most scenic areas around Mott Lake, Crossroads Village, and the Genesee Recreation Area.
While these problems could have been fixed given enough time, it was obvious that these locomotives would always be to expensive to maintain and were complete failures. The areas between the frame members are fitted with glass, resulting in a lounge that is nearly 90% transparent. Grab the kids or your favorite travel companion and listen for the call of the engineer’s whistle. The Huckleberry Railroad #2, formally known as #152 locomotive, is a 4-6-0 (wheel arrangement) built in June of 1920 by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC). It was purchased by Hal Wilmunder, relocated to the Antelope & Western in Roseville, California, and renumbered as #2. Later in its life, #464 was again converted to its third set of cylinders, now with Walschaerts Valve Gear and piston valves. In 1973, Knotts Berry Farm, in Buena Park, California, purchased #464 and used it for one year. There were six identical cars ordered in 1946 and delivered in late 1948 and early 1949 for the Olympian Hiawatha Route between Chicago and Tacoma, Washington. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today.
There are those who know, by looking at a photo of a train layout not only when the photo was taken, but where the whole shebang came from. The AEC purchased #2 and the Tanana Valley Railroad to further its task of building the Alaska Railroad.
Due to low clearance of the counterweights, along with a declining mechanical state, #464 was sidelined. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. In 1975, the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission purchased #2 and began the restoration process.



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