This Space for Rent

Too bad it’s just a model

The bears, the best, and I went trainspotting at the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club.

While we were there, we saw many interesting things:

More RS-[23]'s than we could shake a stick at. I don't remember when first generation Alco's were common, but when I grew up the Milwaukee Road used a bunch of them for switching and local freight duties in La Crosse, and the Chicago & North Western would occasionally run them on their local freights from Winona into western Wisconsin.

A bunch of streamlined diesel engines, including a set of F-7's painted in C&NW colors. When I was growing up, F units were everywhere -- the C&NW would occasionally run them in places I could get to, the Milwaukee Road had them on local freights, and the Burlington Northern had F units falling out of the gutters. And then, in 1977 (or sometime around then), every F unit in the LaCrosse area was shipped off to LaGrange to be converted into razor blades and to be used as tradein credit for newer GM locomotives. The last F units I ever saw on a mainline railroad were the C&NW executive F units, and they were dumped by an enginehouse on one of the C&NW lines out of Chicago (The UP eventually got ownership of them, and they were passed into the hands of the steam division, which, if I remember from discussions on the railroad list, decided they were just diseasels and cut the bulk of them up [along with the Alco PB-1 that they got when they ate the Rio Grande.]) having never had the chance to pull a train of Th*m*s the T*nk *ng*n* locomotives.

One sort of engine I've never seen, either alive or dead, was an Union Pacific gas turbine; these engines were dragged off to the scrapline at around the time when NWSL was seducing me into my lifelong obsession with electric locomotives (via an ad the put into Model Railroader sometime in the mid-70s showing a bunch of the Milwaukee Road GE 750 locomotives some time after the Milwaukee Road electrification was abandoned), so by the time I realized that there was interesting power other than electric locomotives and first-generation Alco hood units, the turbines were gone for good. From what I heard about their fuel consumption, I don't think that the accounting department would be overly pleased about seeing one used to pull a single-car freight, no matter how valuable the load.