American Freedom train

Arnie’s (Hall of Fame member) has been in touch with his American Freedom train video:

“Hi Al,

I finally finished my video on the American Freedom Train (AFT).

I created my own replica in N scale of the original 1947 AFT locomotive and added to it 6 passenger cars of my own original paint scheme and my custom designed decals.

I created the passenger cars as a commemorative and tribute to the heroism and swelling pride of Americans following the World Trade Center attacks of 9-11-2001.

(These cars have their own 2001 Freedom Train locomotive I designed in 2002 to complement them in the style of the 1947 loco. But, if I can find the time, I am now thinking of creating a 2001 loco using a more modern diesel style.)

But here is my video of the newly created AFT loco of 1947-1949.

Once again, I am continuing the story line of Heritage celebrations and having the restored 1947 AFT loco lead an Excursion Train on a one day run through the Susquehanna Valley region.

I hope you will find it interesting and enjoyable.

Thanks again to you Al and the readers for all the support and encouragement to continue my modeling efforts.


“Hi Alastair

I enclose photos of my first attempt at a layout. It is the result of the last three winters.

It started out as 6 ft by 4ft and has grown into 10×4 with a 6×3 spur.I know it is not correct in time frame but with with the exception of the track and controllers 90% of everything has been from Ebay or Gumtree so it has evolved rather than planed.

I have found your Emails a great source of information.

As I get pleasure out of the creation of the layout rather than running it, I am now at a loss of where to go from here. I could always start again.











“Hi Alistair

Have been getting all your mails since I started my N Scale Layout about 2 years ago and really enjoy seeing what is possible on a layout and also how ingenious modellers get to create their vision – sometimes on a shoestring budget.

My layout is nowhere complete and as it is basically a U shape unit about 30 centimetres wide and about 5 meters long running around our study. I ended up with situation of how to get sets from one level to the next as I don’t have space for the magic Helix. My layout (The St Matthews Island Railroad – named after my son, not a saint all the time but mostly!) depicts the seaside town on Moreton with some industries and a plateau above it. The trains need to move goods to and from the industries in the town and port up onto the plateau and interior of the island.

So after some investigation I came across those wonderful things called cassettes and the attachment shows a concept I am fine tuning to allow me to run trains “around” my island.

My layout is DC and is pretty hands on – no electric points, all hand operated with push pull mechanisms under the layout and the “finger of my Lord and Savoir” un-couplers . I want to play with my trains and not just watch them moving from one place to the next holding a consul like the kids of today in front of their computers….

Cassette concept for N Scale U Shape layout:

3 cassette mounting points to allow for sets to be moved onto next level or line
Created using Electrical Ducting mounted onto 1’ x 2’ timber plank.
Created Girder Beam Bridge set up just to create a decent effect.

2nd level.

Wooden block mounted to the wall is support for the lowest level which is set up under the frame holding the middle and top levels.

Relief buildings in foreground will be fixed to a removable panel which will give access to the lower level in case of derailment.

Electrical connections using paperclips soldered onto main rails, these have been tested and work fine.

One rail will be slit at one end to break circuit and stop the engine as it comes to the end of the cassette. When cassette is reconnected the other way around the engine will again pick up power to operate.

I will need to work on the rail alignment for finished product but this is just a prototype to see if concept works.

Problem is that all cassettes I make need to connect perfectly to all 4 exit points (3 on one side of layout and one on the other). This is going to be fun…..

Main rail end point.

I used an L shaped piece of aluminium channel to form a lip under which the end of the cassette slides to secure the cassette in place.

The rails are raised off the aluminium to prevent any issues with current.

Keep up your postings as you are indeed helping many of us modellers bring to life something we have dreamt of and obviously spent many hours of work on.






A huge thanks to Arnie for sharing his American Freedom Train video. And to Colin and Tony.

I found Arnie’s video educational and fun – a joy to watch.

That’s all this time folks.

Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you fancy rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in.

Please do keep ’em coming.



26 Responses to American Freedom train

  1. Brian Messenger says:

    Nice layout Tony and well detailed. Colin, with regards to your “cassettes” you have possibly come up with a solution for my double deck layout where I also don’t have space for a helix but do have for a “cassette” or two. Thanks for the idea. (Especially across the doorway) Keep them coming. Brian – RSA

  2. WOW! Fantastic layout! Love the rocks, water and bridges, so realistic!
    Magnificent video, well done!!

  3. Rod Mackay says:

    Tony, very pretty job, well done. Other things you could do might be lighting, and full signalling, also you might like to gradually replace kit buildings with ones you make yourself based on your locality, I’d never tried buildings before having to for my home layout, but found modelling a real structure very satisfying. If you’d rather a completely new project for a break, someone I know slightly builds new little N gauge layouts and sells them on eBay!

    Colin, that doesn’t look like a huge gap between levels, six inches is it? If the layout runs for five metres you probably have length for a simple gradient, might be quite steep but that can be more fun, you can add a helper (banking) engine, or split the train into portions and come back down for the rest, or have a zig-zag up a hillside, all real ways railways climb steep hills, and I haven’t even mentioned rack railways, although such things exist in N – although I grant you that sounds like more trouble than it’s worth!

    Happy modelling.


  4. d j howarth says:

    Nice one Arnie …a great theme to follow in model …well done … and well done to tony …Dangerous Dave

  5. JOE SEUBERT says:

    very cool freedom train–that was the year i was born! nice layout. thanks for sharing!

  6. Rob McCrain says:

    Another big winner for Arnie. The Freedom train he built is great! Rob

  7. SHELDON PHX. AZ. says:

    Well done ! Love Nscale.
    What are the over all dimensions of your layout? Are you using DCC. So many questions….
    Sheldon. Phoenix

  8. Hap Cummings says:

    Great detail. Beautiful!

  9. Lester Larrew says:

    Tony, you hit the nail on the head when you said you had great pleasure in creating your layout. That’s what this hobby is all about. Having fun !!!. I have fun on several different aspects of model railroading. The most fun for me is watching trains move cargo (including people) for one place to another.

  10. LLOYD NUNNERY says:

    Enjoyed the video and pictures. Thanks

  11. Tom Sawyer says:

    Enjoyed seeing the vid of the Freedom Train! Wonderful!

  12. NJ Mark says:

    Excellent work. The attention to detail is amazing. Cheers! NJ Mark

  13. C.J. May says:

    Amazing!! I want to make my layout like that one!

  14. Ennis Hackman says:

    It should have a moose horn instead of the 5 chime in your sound system
    Beautifully done sir!

  15. Ennis Hackman says:

    It should have a moose horn for that time period ?
    Beautifully down !

  16. I lost the spirit of America locos and cars to a garage fire over 20 years ago and have not been able to replace it since then , at that time I ran the HO version and have not found the same thing in N scale as of yet but I am still hoping to find or replace it by building it by my own hand !
    Thank you for the ride from history ! Be well and stay safe Sir !!

  17. Jeff says:

    I salute you Arnie for the wonderful video. So well done I thought I was watching National Geography Station. Really entertaining and educational. Thanks for sharing. Pops

  18. tom in az says:

    Can anyone tell me what a cassette is? Sorry for being so dumb. I sure agree with the comment that running trains is like these teens and there games!!!! Sorry but their missing the real fun. Thanks to all, as a navy vet from the vietnam war I love the video. God bless this Great country. Tom in Payson AZ

  19. Linda says:

    Wonderful display. Keep up the fine work.

  20. Linda says:

    WOW Love the Freedom Train and all it represents. Your display is totally awesome and like Dave your video skills and presentations are stunning.

  21. Soren Lippert says:

    To Tom:
    Being a kind of a beginner myself, I recently discovered the “cassette”. Basically, it is a box with a track inside and an opening in at least one end for connecting to a railway. Also great for transporting rolling stock if you close the open end.
    Best, Soren ES

  22. Jim Sherman says:

    I believe that layout is more than outstanding, it’s the greatest to behold. You are so talented.

  23. ARNIE STEINER says:

    Hi Al — Nice work done by both Tony on his detailed and eye-catching layout and Colin on his creative use of cassettes on his layout. And I want to thank you and all the viewers of my video on the American Freedom Train of 1947 for their praise and supportive comments. Glad everyone enjoyed the video and learned a little bit about the AFT’s history. — Arnie

  24. Ross Johnston says:

    Thankyou for sharing your model railways. Arnie your video was awesome. Thankyou so much. Cheers Rossco, Adelaide, Australia

  25. Marklin ed says:

    thanks again for the wonderful information for railroad modeler. i look forward to your email
    thanks again

  26. Helmut Eppich says:

    Beautiful! Wonderful job and layout!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *