Inspiration for Cary’s G scale

Cary’s been in touch with a post that is perhaps a bit of the beaten track – but I enjoyed it so I hope you do too (Cary’s last post is here).

“Hi Al,

I’m still plugging away on my outdoor G scale layout, will send you an update in a month a so with this summer’s progress.

I know you sometimes share stories and photos that are not related to model layouts but rather actual trains. I put this together and it includes some family history. I understand if you don’t publish it, it’s a little “off the tracks” from what you normally do. However your readers might find interesting and most of all I had fun putting it together!

Maybe save for a rainy day when your running low on material.

Thanks much!


The Great Steam Locomotive Chase, American Civil War 1862< In 1862 spies from the Union Army went south in an attempt to disrupt travel, communications and supplies of the Confederate Army. Their plan was to steal a locomotive in Georgia then travel north to Tennessee destroying tracks and telegraph lines along the way. The locomotive they stole was known as "The General". A group of confederate soldiers followed them relentlessly, first on foot, then by hand car and eventually commandeering a locomotive of their own. The Union spies were soon captured and executed. End Of The Run - The Stolen Engine, "The General" Abandoned.

The General eventually fell into disrepair but was never scrapped. By the early 1960’s the Louisville & Nashville railroad found itself in possession of the old steam locomotive. They decided to bring it to Louisville KY and refurbish it in commemoration of the Great Steam Locomotive Chase of 1862. They had a drawing among railroad employees to see who would get to operate the old steamer. My grandfather was an engineer for the L&N at the time and he drew fireman. During the summer of 1962, The General made runs around the eastern United States pulling a restored passenger car and meeting excited crowds wherever it went who wanted to see the old machine.

My grandfather (shown left) Bill Price Sr. 1962 onboard The General. The gentlemen to the right was known to our family as “Poppy Doyle”.

This photograph hung in my grandparents house while I was growing up. Shortly after my grandfather’s death in the early 90’s I asked my grandmother if I could borrow it to have it scanned so I would always have a copy.

Not quite the end of the story.

By the late 1960’s my dad was working for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad in the South Louisville Shops where the old locomotive was stored. I’m not sure of the exact details, but the L&N wanted to acquire track line from a railroad in Georgia. As part of the deal, Georgia would get the General, however the state of Tennessee also wanted the General. My dad told me they put the locomotive on a flatbed car and tried to ship it to Georgia only to have the state of Tennessee stop the train and make it return to Louisville. They tried again covering the locomotive with a tarp and sending it in the middle of the night. This time the locomotive made it to Georgia and to its final home in small museum in Kennesaw Georgia.

As a kid I was always fascinated by the photograph and heard the stories of the great locomotive chase of 1862. Maybe I even thought my grandfather was part of the raid, what’s a hundred years give or take when your six years old. I’m so glad I had the photograph scanned when I did, at this point I’m not sure what happened to the original.

The General shortly after restoration in 1962


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A huge thanks to Cary.

That’s all for today folks, please do do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get going on your layout



29 Responses to Inspiration for Cary’s G scale

  1. Richard Standing says:

    There are two films based on the chase – Buster Keaton’s ‘The General’, and Disney’s ‘The Great Locomotive Chase’ starring Cary Grant.

  2. David Hannan says:

    Brilliant story! I love things connected with family history! Thank you Al for publishing here!

  3. Bruce says:

    Wonderful post. I’ve seen both movies at least twice each. Then Lionel introduced the “O” general. I have it and the add on car set. Acquired another engine, made from same molds, but don’t recall the line. They’ve been in boxes for some time waiting for me to build layout in new home.
    Thank you. Thanks Al for providing Cary’s other posts.
    Bruce in SC USA

  4. Ralph Berry says:

    What an interesting story about your family Cary. Marvelous to see such an historic loco still operating.

  5. Brad says:

    Love old steamers.Glamourous poetry in motion

  6. Steve Hudacko says:

    Enjoyed your story. Interesting family history. As a model RR guy I love these stories. Thank you for sharing it.
    Steve from Toms River

  7. Brian L Staples says:

    Wonderful story Al. Always great to visit our history. These old loco’s never get old.

  8. Jim says:

    This is a nice change to see on this site, makes me think I need to find a General.
    Thank you Al for putting this together.

  9. Linda says:

    What an incredible part of history, especially for your family’s history. Love love love these old trains. Thanks so much to Cary for sending this wonderful story in and thanks so much to Al for sharing with all of us. Keep “chugging away”!
    Linda, PA

  10. David A. Massimi says:

    Cary…thats the most realistic G scale layout ivd ever seen!
    Seriously, thanks so much for sharing that piece of family and Amdrican history with us!!
    The Civil War and trains have been my biggest loves for as long as i can remember…in fact, im finally (at age 68) planning an ho layout that will combine both.
    Again, thank you !
    Dave M, in NY

  11. david loree says:

    wish people would realize what history is all about, such as this. kudos for this story.

  12. Jim says:

    Thanks for the history of this great icon and legend of railroading.

    Jim AZ

  13. Richard Scott says:

    wonderful ! There was a movie back in the 1950’s with Fess Parker about the raid. It is nice to see this piece of history saved.

  14. Dave Kyle says:

    Fantastic video. I think it would be a good idea if AL might consider posting real trains once a month. I am sure there are plenty great videos of older trains. We all love our trains at home and our layouts [ I sure do] and the great emails AL is so graciously sending to all of us, thanks AL.

  15. Thomas Murphy says:

    It is really a positive inspiration to see a monument to history preserved Such a beautiful steam locomotive should always be at the center of attention.
    Regards, Tom (USA).

  16. Gary P. Dettl says:

    Awesome. A great part of our country’s history and a great part of Cary’s family history. In addition, a beautiful restoration. Thanks for publishing this.

  17. Robert Matteson says:

    Thanks for posting that. Remember Disney’s movie when I was a kid, one of my favorites, but learned a lot from this I didn’t know. I have visited the General several times over the years.

  18. Mal says:

    Good post. Loved the video. Thanks.

  19. dave says:

    As a kid I got to ride that train in Louisville !!! My older half brother was with the L&N and later CSX were he retired We went on a loop of track that took us from the station on Broadway to the river front on top of the flood wall (before I 64 was built ) down to the river bottoms passing Campbell street the tracks went south to stock yards back to the station on Broadway crossing B way and about swan street You can see some of the old tracks still by the skate park were there is a big feed mill and the other tracks are still there that pass near the now gone stock yards to the CSX main line east and south when I 64 was built the tracks were pulled up some still are in use by the canal to the Mc Alpin locks Wow never really knew were that locomotive went !!

  20. dave says:

    OH that wood trestle I think MAY be still there have not looked in a wile it is at river road were Bear grass creek empty’s into the Ohio river its near Eva Band man park in Louisville .

  21. James says:

    Great posting. Did anyone else notice the enthusiast who was almost run over by the 25,000th diesel locomotive in his desire to get his film reccord.

  22. Denis Yates says:

    Wonderful story, thepower of steam lives on. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Rod Mackay says:

    I remember being taken by my Dad to see the Disney film at the Prince of Wales cinema in Cardiff, now a Wetherspoons pub, and being rather horrified at all those people running round wrecking railroads – practically sacrilege in our house!

  24. Jaques Shellaque says:

    Thanks so much. It is history that rail fans (in any scale) need to see and
    Jaques Shellaque

  25. Jaques Shellaque says:


  26. Fred Richards says:

    Why would he think we would not LOVE to hear that family history tied to such a rich background?
    I LOVED reading it, taking us back to a time when the Railroad was the high-tech and primary force for armies.

    I am 61 years old and have never heard the story of the race.
    If Disney were alive today I am sure this would be fodder for his imagination and imagineers.

  27. Dan Hulitt, Mn says:

    Wonderful story with great family connection. Thank you Cary and Al for putting it on line. As a friendly correction to an earlier post, I think it was Fess Parker in the Disney version, not Grant.

  28. Dave Ewing says:

    Thanks for the story of the General

  29. Jim Jerele says:

    To Cary from Crestwood, KY.
    Cary, my daughter lives in Crestwood and for a year I have been trying to locate you. I am also a g-scaler and live on Fort Myers Beach, FL. Spent 3 weeks in Crestwood this summer. Would like to meet you and see your project.

    From fellow g-scaler, Jim Jerele

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