All of the big manufacturers were at the 2023 NMRA National Train Show in Grapevine, Tex., with announcements of new products that will appear on hobby shop shelves in the coming months. Here’s a rundown of what was announced. —RMC Staff
As expected from hints dropped in recent Athearn advertisements, Athearn officially announced at the 2023 NTS its intention to produce multiple variants of Union Pacific’s CA-11/CA-12 cabooses, including contemporary “Snow bus” conversions used to transport train and maintenance crews in the winter time. CA-11 cabooses first entered service in 1979, with examples used for snow bus and shoving platforms still in operation today. Details for these top of the line Genesis cabooses will include full interior details, extensive LED lighting including end markers, interior and all-new walkway lighting over the stepwell areas and optional sound provided by Soundtraxx.
The surprise announcement from Athearn is an All-New Genesis Republic Locomotive Works RX500AC Light Industrial Switcher. Unknown to most, these little two-axle switchers utilize the latest in AC traction technology and low emissions prime movers to deliver astounding levels of tractive effort that enable this engine to punch well above its weight. Countless examples of these little engines have been produced for more than a decade serving large industrial complexes, grain facilities, coal plants and steel mills. Athearn’s rendition will be offered in multiple versions with owner-specific details, and a precision drive system including a precision motor with flywheel, helical gearing with both axles powered.
For the first time in N scale, and returning with new features for HO are Berwick Bathtub Gondolas. These rotary gondolas were built in the 1970s for unit coal train service to numerous power utility companies across North America. These cars will feature all-new tooling with upgraded details including full brake rigging, different end ladder configurations and more.. An all-new high-capacity 6100cf scrap gondola version with high side extensions will also be offered for both scales.
Preproduction samples of Atlas Master CNCF 5000 Boxcars in several paint schemes were on display at the Atlas booth. Over 1,500 of these 5,000 cubic foot boxcars were built by CNCF for a variety of US railroads during the incentive-per-diem boxcar boom of the late 1970s, with thousands more of this design built for Mexican roads during the 1980s. Many of these cars still roam the rails today. Paint schemes for this first release include Ann Arbor, Atlantic & Western, CP (ex-MCSA), Moscow, Camden & St. Augustine, Columbus & Greenville, Ferromex and NdeM. These models are expected to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2023. MSRP $59.95 each.
Also coming soon from Atlas are Mobile Office Containers. These repurposed intermodal containers meet the need for portable, on-demand office space at construction sites, railyards and other uses. The Atlas model represents a 40-foot long version complete with windows and doors and air conditioning unit. $24.95 for N, $28.95 MSRP for the HO version.
Development samples of Bachmann’s all-new Amtrak Acela II “Liberty” High Speed Train were on hand at the Bachmann booth, along with samples of Siemens Venture passenger cars including cab car versions and Siemens SCV-42 Charger locomotives for VIA Rail Canada. Also new is an entirely retooled HO GE 44-tonner.
Amongst its many offerings, Broadway Limited Imports displayed a development sample of its new 4-truck Shay locomotive. Shay locomotives were geared Steam locomotives that were designed and built by the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio. They were a popular type of geared locomotive used primarily for logging and industrial applications during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Class D Shay locomotives were an improved version of the earlier Class C Shay locomotives, featuring several design enhancements. This is an early test sample with a 3D printed shell, subject to future refinements.
ClassOneModelWorks.com unveiled its latest freight car – a series of 86-foot Boxcars based on Thrall-built prototypes. Samples on display included double-plug door versions for CNW, Grand Trunk Western, Milwaukee Road, Penn Central, Conrail and others. An undecorated test shot of a quad door version of the Thrall 86-footer was also revealed. MSRP $59.99 each. Delivery TBD.
Home Shops LLC
Coming soon from Home Shops LLC are Pullman-Standard High Cube 40-foot boxcars produced by Tangent Scale Models in a variety of paint schemes of actual freelance model railroads. Order direct from homeshops.net.
InterMountain Railway Company displayed samples from its latest release of HO General Electric ET44ACs decorated in special heritage liveries for Canadian National, including this heritage scheme for Elgin, Joliet and Eastern. MSRP $319.95 with sound, DCC/non-sound units for $229.95.
Now available from InterMountain Railway Company are a series of EMD F7A and F7B boosters for a number of different paint schemes including this pair of MKT units.
Jacksonville Terminal Company
On display from Jacksonville Terminal Company are a series of Class 8 Day Cab Tractors in several versions that follow common contemporary prototypes from Hino and International Truck with either one or two drive axles, different chassis lengths and additional options. An official announcement with paint schemes is to follow soon.
Also announced from Jacksonville Terminal Company are VTTX container cars – the first release in a series of 60’ flatcars based on Pullman-Standard prototypes yet to come.
The Viewliner II is Amtrak’s newest addition to its fleet of single-level rolling stock, with planned rollouts of Baggage cars, diners, and Sleeping cars all expected to enter standard service through the next few years. Kato USA previewed development assembly samples of Amtrak Viewliner II cars in multiple styles including baggage, baggage-dormitory, diner and sleepers.
Logic Rail Technologies
The latest release from Logic Rail is the EFX-16 light board. This board provides on-layout lighting effects with sixteen JustPlug compatible outputs. Each output can be individually configured via DCC/LCC for different lighting effects, brightness, random on/off and triggers. Resistors are not needed. The EFX-16 will be available by the end of 2023. Pricing TBD.
Several all-new tooling projects for N scale streamlined passenger cars are in the works from RailSmith. Soon to arrive are blunt end sleepers with working rear light, to be followed by new smooth-sided designs for a diner, coach, duplex sleeper, and Western-series sleeper. New fluted-side passenger cars will include an RPO, diner and Budd dome car. Also announced are E7A passenger locomotives for the MKT/Frisco Texas Special to be produced by Broadway Limited and sold exclusively by RailSmith.
EMD/GMD GP40 in multiple road- and era-specific versions. Road names for the first release will include Cotton Belt (SSW “as-delivered”), MKT with available powered road slug, Canadian National, RF&P, Union Pacific with available powered road slug, Wisconsin Central and Western Pacific.
The C-40-3 Caboose was the final cupola caboose design to serve on the Southern Pacific Railroad. With its first examples entering service in the 1940s, these cabooses served all the way to the end of the caboose era in the mid-1980s on the SP in road service and on locals. Rapido will be offering this caboose in multiple paint and detail versions specific to era and reporting marks, including second-hand owner – the Sierra Railroad. Each car will also include LED lighting for the interior and rooftop markers.
Rapido’s HO F30 flatcars are returning in a number of new versions and liveries. All-new for this release are F30 flats with Conrail/NS Camp trailers in multiple configurations for maintenance of way crews and BN/BNSF cars configured to haul concrete ties. Simulated tie loads included. Release date TBD.
The biggest news at ScaleTrains was the debut of its next premium HO diesel locomotive model – an EMD SD45X as part of its top tier Museum Quality product line. Equipped with a 20-cylinder 645-series prime mover turned up to 4,200 horsepower, 600 more horsepower than standard SD45s, the EMD SD45X was the most powerful evolution of the EMD SD45 model family. With a total of six cooling fans on the long hood, the SD45X series served as the test bed for new component designs such as the HT-C truck that later became part of EMD’s most successful line of locomotives – the Dash-2 series. Entering service in 1970, examples barnstormed the US during testing. Most eventually served on the Southern Pacific with the final EMD-owned example retired in the early 1990s. ScaleTrains SD45X will be offered in multiple versions and liveries, each with era- and road-specific details, full LED lighting, and optional sound and DCC from ESU. Paint schemes include EMD Demonstrator (blue/white), Southern Pacific (delivery and repaint), and SP/Patched EMD Demonstrator. Multiple road numbers where appropriate. Reserve at your favorite authorized dealer or direct.
Unveiled for the first time as part of Walthers’ Cornerstone product line are HO scale kits for a mid-century brick interlocking tower with flat roof based on a prototype at Bricker, Ohio on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Also new is a brick combination station based on a Pennsylvania Railroad standard design (#55704) in a prototypical, yet layout-friendly size.
New N scale structures from Walthers include a large warehouse and two styles of residences including an ornate farmer’s house and a split-level home.