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OT-Top bucket list item.....secured. ParkTrain nut story

dkmc

Active member
I've always had an interest in model trains. I got a Lionel train for Christmas when I was 4 back in 1964. The next summer we went to a regional amusement park (Roseland) and that's when I first laid eyes on the parks Miniature Train, and got to ride it. As any "train nut" can attest to, it was love at first sight. That train was built by the Miniature Train Company in Rensselaer IN. They were a faithful scaled down copy of a General Motors F3 Diesel.

A picture of the Roseland Park Train in Canandaguia, NY sometime back in the 1950's?

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Fast forward 40? years......

So back in the late '90's I began researching these Miniature Train Company trains again. Historic company information suggests there were 240 built, about 70 survive, and around 50 of the 70 are in operating condition. Any I found for sale were way.....way beyond my ever thinking about owning one, including the basket case abused ones. On one of the forums back in the day, I heard about there being 'some' in Mansfield, PA at a campground. I checked it out, and went there, talked to the owner and rode their train. First time since Roseland about 40 years prior. It was.... very.... cool. And since then I've been to Knobles and rode their magnificent "Pioneer" trains, a collection of steam outline and G16 "Diesel" F3 locomotives as well. Dreams live on, real possibilities fade.

But recently, a train for sale popped up on Marketplace, the usual rough condition, and with a $20k price. Yes, they do sell for those prices even in rough condition. I saw it sit on Marketplace for weeks. Then I inquired about it, and found out it is a remnant of the campground in Mansfield, Pa, owned and recently sold by the son of the deceased former owner. We conversed, and I told him about visiting the camp years ago. As we spoke and reminisced, I could tell he understood my keen interest in these trains and told me I should just come have a look. So I did. He prodded me to 'make an offer' but I said I didn't want to insult him, and declined.

I couldn't stop thinking about it, and finally actually made an offer that was somewhat less than the asking price. I thought I'd get a 'laugh off' and a 'thanks but no thanks' reply. But he came back with a surprising counter offer. Bottom line, we were actually able to meet at a middle ground figure.......

And (I still cannot believe it) but I am now the owner of a Miniature Train Co. train set, engine and 3 cars! Including the rear Observation car.

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A lot of work will be required to bring this equipment back into operating condition. But to me, that is half the fun. Some engineering upgrades and improvements along the way will be even more interesting.

The data plate is missing on this train set, and the build number isn't in the placards on the engine nose. No other way to know it's history, other than (luckily) the name on the side still being readable and not painted over or worn off.

In 1999 I sent for an information package on the Miniature Train Company. Included was a list of sales to customers from back in the day. So last night after a hectic day of loading and hauling I sat down and went thru the list. Sure enough, train set 920 was sold to Camp Baumann in November 1957. As silly as it sounds, that was a very cool and even a bit of an emotional moment to actually see it listed in the roster from all those years ago. I was very tired as well......that's my excuse. ha! To me, these trains represent Americana, and that gets me excited when I think about the past.


























 
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Milland

Active member
That is cool (we never grow up, do we?), but what about track? Did you get any, or is it easy to DIY?
 

dkmc

Active member
I didn't see any mention of how they are powered?

They picked the Wisconsin V4 purposely because of the long stroke and sound. At idle, with the whine of the oil pump gears, it does give the illusion of a real diesel locomotive idling and the sound of the turbo-supercharger "whistle". Power wise, it's way overkill. Some have been re-powered with various engines including Kubota diesels. And some have been converted to hydraulic drive, replacing the maintenance prone worm drive axle gear boxes. The wis-con is not one of my favorite engines by no means, but I will work with it to keep it as original as practical.
 

4GSR

Active member
Don't know if there is any connection, in San Antonio, Texas in Breckenridge park, they run several of these miniature rail road trains daily. At least, they used to. There's also one in Herman park in Houston, too. I don't think that one is as authentic and the one's in S.A. I've ridden on both.
 

Newman109

Active member
What a lucky break for the OP! I also love model trains, but my budget won't permit the scale of the OP's setup. I have to be satisfied with G Scale, 1:22 with mostly LGB rolling stock. I have aout 150 feet of track in the second floor of my barn with12 locomotives, everything from 0-4-0 switchers to an F-7 GM Diesel. Lots of fun it is.

There is a club in Sacramento that has a layout of track in a park and they run trains of the OP's scale periodically. I also know a machinist in the Sacramento area who builds scale steam engines to order. He has the wheels and other iron parts cast locally and machines them to suit. They are way out of my price range, though, like starting around $25K and up.
 

cnctoolcat

Active member
Awesome stuff dk! Keep us posted on your rebuild progress.

I’ve always had a “thing” for HO-scale model trains, thus the full-basement, double-deck layout that I’ve been building since 2012.

It takes 12+ guys to fill all the jobs during an operating session — which can last 6 hours or more!

The railroad has about 90 locomotives (in 3 and 4-unit consists, most with onboard sound), 500+ cars (mostly coal and empties), is operated with wireless DCC (digital command control), and the single-track (with passing sidings) main line is a 400-foot run.

Some recent scenery work:

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Dante Yard:

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Dante engine terminal, with EMD oil and grease leaks everywhere:

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dalmatiangirl61

Active member
Don't know if there is any connection, in San Antonio, Texas in Breckenridge park, they run several of these miniature rail road trains daily. At least, they used to. There's also one in Herman park in Houston, too. I don't think that one is as authentic and the one's in S.A. I've ridden on both.

I rode that train many times as a child, we lived about a mile away. It is also the last train robbery in Texas:D
50 Years Ago, There Was A Great Little Train Robbery In San Antonio | TPR
 

Superbowl

Member
The OP did not say track was $10 per foot, he said rail was $10 a foot. It takes two rails per foot, plus cross ties, plus gravel, plus grading and installation. I would guess $35-$40 per foot all in.
 

dalmatiangirl61

Active member
Tried finding some images of the original Brackenridge Eagle (matches op's train), not much out there. I think it was still at SA zoo about 20 years ago, but maybe its been longer. I wonder where it is today?
 

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alphonso

Active member
Very obnoxious guy who used to be local had two 2 1/2 foot steam engines he bought from the Westfield sugar plantation in Louisiana. 0-6-2 "Bertha' and 0-4-2 "Rosa". Half a dozen cane cars, a couple of complete switches and extra frogs, about a half mile of track, a stationary steam engine, an 0-4-0 standard gauge diesel switcher, and several extra wheel sets.

Bertha had a bad boiler, Rosa was operational. I made a bunch of small replacement parts for Rosa.

He left it all here when he moved back to Denver.. His folks sold it all to a collector.
 

dkmc

Active member
Nice!! Track gauge? L7

This is a G16 so 16" gauge. They offered 14 and 15" as well. The near by track is 15 and there is at least one G15 there. As worn as some of the wheels are, I will be needing new ones anyway, so since there is more 15" rail on the ground than 16, I'm leaning to re-gauging it to 15"


No track available at the campground you bought it from? At $10 per foot a mile of track would be quite expensive.

I have land for maybe 1000-1500ft of track.
I should clarify the campground was sold and is still in operation, including the railroad. There are (I think) two S16's there (steam locomotive outline same chassis and power plant as a G16) and one G16....the one I rode years ago. This train I got was a spare and never ran at the campground. No rail available from the campground. However, the seller that sold me this train said he has around 8000 ft of rail at another location, and it is for sale at $4 per foot.

Awesome stuff dk! Keep us posted on your rebuild progress.
I’ve always had a “thing” for HO-scale model trains, thus the full-basement, double-deck layout that I’ve been building since 2012.

I have seen the threads you've posted before on your railroad.......empire, and it is totally awesome!
 

dkmc

Active member
Tried finding some images of the original Brackenridge Eagle (matches op's train), not much out there. I think it was still at SA zoo about 20 years ago, but maybe its been longer. I wonder where it is today?


When I get a moment, I will look thru the sales list and see if I can find it.
 








 
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