HO train freight loads

Dan’s been back in touch again with a video on his HO train freight loads:

“This video follows a reefer train.

When various seasonal crops came in the railroads ran solid blocks of reefer cars.

An interesting thing about the blocks of produce. Often the produce was not sold until on the way east. For example, a carload of oranges could go to Chicago, St Louis, Pittsburg, or other large cities for distribution.

Produce was not the only thing shipped in freight reefers. The Great Northern Railway had “silk” trains. The pupa of silkworms was shipped from the west coast to mills in New England for the silk to be removed and woven into cloth.

During the winter apples, potatoes and other produce the cars had to be kept warm to prevent freezing. In the ice bunkers, they place charcoal heaters to prevent the loads freezing.

In the HO video where the train passes the Swift plant, notice the long piece of rail along side the track. This is a point of interest. The railroad is going to replace a section of welded rail here sometime later.

The ties (sleepers) have already been replaced and a track gang will come along later to change the track. This is an easy way to have visitors ask, “what it is for?” I can now teach them about rail work. Once a teacher, always a teacher.


 HO train freight loads

model railroad locomotive

HO train freight loads

model train loco

HO train freight loads

ho model railroad

 HO train freight loads

HO train freight loads

A huge big thanks to Dan for sharing his HO train freight loads. I did enjoy the video with trains running at realistic pace.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

Got a model train question?

15 Responses to HO train freight loads

  1. Ross Charles Johnston says:

    Thank you, Dan, for sharing your video of your layout. I really enjoyed watching it and to see your excellent scenery. Cheers Rossco, Adelaide, South Australia.

  2. Rich B. says:

    Yes Sir, just mesmerizing. Transition from the mountains to flatlands flawless. Perfect amplification of the clickety-clack from the reefers. Still can’t quite put my finger on it but must be painted backdrop. Now this is well done and looks the part for some modeling… don’t think here, overpowers the flatlands. Might look good fogged in like early morning, leave exactly as is…

    Thanks on this follow up from yesterday. Also liked that one scene with the autos and people more of a static quality than everything supposedly in transit and going no place.

    Rich, regarding

  3. Jon Webb says:

    Amazing train lengths! Wonderfully researched layout, especially re reefers.

  4. Rob McCrain says:

    This is a great running and looking layout. Those 30-inch curves make the trains look very realistic as they wind their way along. I can see that the switch controls are well thought out. I noticed the panels with the track plan along beside where the switching takes place. Nice railroad, Rob

  5. robert dale tiemann says:

    very nice layout. love the scenery.

  6. Robert Brady says:

    Very good layout watched the entire vid.
    The Critic

  7. Kevin Stetson says:

    Dan, Absolutely Jaw Dropping! Such a beautiful layout, I have been on Alastair’s site for about 3-4 years now. I’ve saved a lot of posts as I’ve begun to get back into the Hobby. Yours is no exception! All it does is inspire me to keep working on the layout and create the realism such as yours.

    Alastair, Thanks for all you do, in passing along wonderful posts from skilled craftsmen

  8. Benny Rosario says:

    So far the best it’s clear with lots of open space and lots of realism, smooth running not clutter and the right layout, keep up the good work it looks great even with the flickering of the video still looking good.

  9. JBird says:

    Wow…beautiful work. Looks full scale.

  10. Jim M says:

    This was a very relaxing visit thru a superbly crafted landscape. A perfect tour through a lengthy but easy to enjoy panorama as the freight moved at a realistic rather than frantic dash over the rails. (I realize pulling all those boxcars necessitated leisurely travel). It gave plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful countryside and I especially enjoyed the large collection of vintage autos I recall from my youth. I hope I will be able to put this into a file where I may enjoy many times when I need escape the stress of the politics of today. I have to admit a little satisfaction when I saw a couple of boxcars jiggle a tad near the end. There should always be one more task ahead.


  11. santafedan says:

    Rich B., it is a painted backdrop. I was thinking I was about done showing my layout and about to move on to three others to show. Now, I think I will work on showing how I did the backdrop and why I did it the way I did.

  12. Andrew Aves says:

    Hi Dan,
    A superb layout (one I have greatly admired in your previous posts on Alistair’s site) and a delight to watch.
    One query – Do goods/freight trains in the USA still have a guard/break van (caboose?) or is this due to the time period of the layout
    Best wishes from Down Under
    Andrew in Oz

  13. Claude Hawks says:

    Very nice! Like s yravelogue wit narrative.

  14. santafedan says:

    Andrew, caboose/guard vans are practically gone. They are used for transfer moves. (For example between yards or shove moves involving highway/road crossings.) Also, they were needed when the trains had full crews. As many as 7 crew members according to union and some state laws. Now two crew members handle over the road trips.
    Short line RRs often have just the engineer on the train and a conductor driving a vehicle and ding the switching wherever needed along the line.
    You can email me santafedangoins@comcast.net

  15. Douglas Schembs Jr says:

    Very impressive. Great scenery & trackwork. Realistic operation. AAAAA+++++

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