Hey Guys,

I picked these up recently,and wanted to know if anyone could tell me more about these Passenger cars.

The Boxes say:Rail Chief Products Co.NY,NY.

Their Boxes also indicate this company sold telephone poles,Water Towers,Platforms and Signal Towers also.

These kits just seemed to be different,so I picked them up.

The bottoms of the cars are made out of an old masonite board type material. 

There is no provision on the truck for lighting,although I think I will put some LED's with a battery and switch inside of them.

I would just like to know more about the history of this company,a Google search came up with NOTHING.

I assume they were a smaller company in New York,trying to capitalize off of Lionel not having any Aluminum Streamliners,like AMT did,while offering a few other O gauge accessories as well. Any information on these kits greatly appreciated.

I know someone on the forum here will have seen these before,or perhaps owned a set.I'm guessing these are from the late 1940-s-Early 1950's,the cars and boxes have that magic"old" smell to them.

Thanks In Advance,

Kenny B

 

Nothing feels as good as something you"ve done with almost nothing.

Bringing a train back from the dead, is better than any NEW one money can buy.

Be happy and RUN what you have, and share your Passion with the World!!!

Be thankful,and good things will come your way.

Put The Lord First, and the GOOD LIFE will fall into your hands.  

 

 

RUNNING O GAUGE ON A HO BUDGET!!!

Attachments

Photos (2)
Original Post

I have some of those car kits, but mine are of heavyweights.  They were produced, I think through WWII and later, by a woman who ran a hobby shop in New York City (I talked to a guy at Wheaton once who had met her.  I can't now think of her name, but she was widely known)   During the war little was made of metal.  Supposedly she ran a good shop and was competent in model trains.  I used several different brands of kits to build combine coach cabooses, so may have built one from one of them, but would have to look at them.  My kits, too, found at a TCA meet in Norristown, Pa. years ago, where I found other "oddball" passenger car kits. had/have that musty smell.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Herkimer OK trains,  maybe.  I remember a company with a name like that from maybe Elmira NY.  I know they did HO.

I remember a guy named Clark Benson from early York days that did aluminum cars.  I think he was out of Conn.

 

Thats all I have.

 

 

TCA-79-13758

T.T.O.S.-3057

LCCA-28444

LOTS-RM-4833

MTH Railroaders Club-17209

MTH DCS and Wi-Fi  Beta Tester

MTH Factory  Certified Technician-6 schools.   Repair Technician #990284

LIONEL Factory Trained Certified  Repair Technician #10140

Member Mid America 3 Railers and NJ HiRailers

 

 

 

Like Todd said, the Rail Chief line was produced by MR Equipment Corp. on W. 45th in New York. They made everything from rolling stock to track laying supplies, to structures and even farm animals under that brand.

Here are a few ads that appeared during the late forties and early fifties. The first ad is the oldest when they were located on 42nd St, before they moved to their more famous basement location on W 45th.

I wouldn't be surprised if the aluminum extrusions were made for them by the outfit Marty mentioned in Herkimer, New York (east of Utica), more famous for the Herkimer OK Streamliners in O and HO and/or Kasiner.

rch1

rch2

rch3

Jim

Attachments

Photos (4)

WOW! Is all I can say.This is the greatest hobby in the World!!For me,finding stuff like this and learning the history behind it,is why I'm into it. 

I knew someone here would know something about these passengers,but to actually see an old ad,IS Amazing. It must have been a great time to be alive and in New York City back then!!! 

I gotta ask a few more questions now!

Where these kits made for 2 rail or 3 rail use?(I guess it wouldn't matter?) Was there a vista dome available ?A baggage car?

What years did they offer the kits for sale?,I see in the ad,it looks like you could only buy them from Hobbyshops?(Is this what"Available only from our jobbers"mean?)

And of course,what year did the Company stop it's Rail Chief line,and when did they Open and when did they get out of the Business?

I had never seen these cars before,who knows how many of these kits were sold?

And from the advertisement ,it looks like you could buy them put together already as well.

Lionel lost perhaps MILLIONS of dollars(in todays market) in revenue,by not having their #2500 passengers ready when the First #2343&#2344 F3's went off the assembly line.

And because of that,modelers had a lot of choices between AMT,Rail  Chief,and Lionel Aluminum Streamliners to make up their 'Crack"Passenger trains with.And so do we!!!!

 

Anyone know of any other companies around that time making Aluminum Passenger Cars?

My best guess is there probably were a few more,but once those #2500 Series Cars hit the shelves,they probably all gave up,because Lionel made up for being late by introducing the FAMOUS set we all know of.  

Thanks for the replies,I look forward to learning more about THE RAIL CHIEF Passenger Cars!!!

Kenny,

It really was great growing up in NYC as a kid who loved trains in the fifties and early sixties. I made weekly trips on the subway to Manhattan from our apartment in the Bronx just to make the rounds of the train stores. MRE Corp was always the highlight with shelves of brass locos in HO and O and a back room where it seemed they had anything you could possibly need for the layout.

Too bad my main interest was in HO at the time. I hate to think what I missed on the Lionel side of the store. Didn't have much money as a HS kid, so I guess it really didn't matter that much.

As far as the history of the  Rail Chief streamliners is concerned, I couldn't find out much. MRE Corp cut back on their big ads just about when those cars probably came out. I'm guessing late 40s around the same time as the AMT cars became available. Being kits, they were probably a few bucks cheaper than the AMT which would have been a big selling point.

Lots of kits in that era came without trucks making them suitable for 2 rail or 3 rail. Several companies made diecast, non-sprung trucks that were available with either scale wheels or large 3 rail flanges.

From your photo, it appears that you have the 2-rail wheelsets with that kit. "Scale" flanges were on the large side back then. The builder would then add body-mounted diecast non-operating scale or tinplate couplers.

Kasiner Hobbies of Rochester New York advertised their streamline kits starting in 1946. I believe it was they who moved and became Herkimer Tool and Model sometime in the early to mid 50s. The Rail Chief cars were probably produced in that same time frame. I'm not sure when the Rail Chief brand was dropped.

Although late to the game, the Lionel cars really moved to the front of the pack with their very detailed plastic ends and reliable trucks that provided interior lighting.

I believe the early Kasiner kit cars had either rough wood or stamped steel ends with little or no detail.

The ends in your RC kits seem nicer too. What do the other side of the ends look like? Do they have cast in detail or are they meant to be just about covered by the foam diaphragms?

It's really fun thumbing through the old magazines even if for nothing other than the ads!

Jim

 

 

Full length scale aluminum extrusions were available from Kasiner and CRC, both smooth side and with Pullman style corrugations.  It is possible that these were Kasiner extrusions, packaged with better ends.

More recently, Clark Benson got Lionel to extrude some aluminum bodies, but they all had those horrible letterboards about midway up from the floor to the windows, making them unusable for a scale model railroad.  Had he (or Lionel) chosen the baggage car extrusion, he would have captured the O Scale Budd carbody business.

Then Haynes Mac Daniel had three fairly accurate Budd extrusions done. For years, if you wanted Budd cars in 80' lengths, Mac Shops was the only game in town.  And for a very short period of time it looked like we were going to get reasonably accurate Daylight extrusions, but that fizzled.  I captured about ten of those.

Now, if you want aluminum extrusions, K-Line and Sunset produce finished cars that are light-years ahead of the 1950s stuff.  At $75/car, I stocked up on K-Line, and am still pleased with them.  Had I waited, Sunset would be my cars of choice.

Probably 25 years ago, I bought the HO version from an antique shop - same exact box and the car was made the same as the larger O variant. The foam diaphragms were pretty much crumbled away (surprised to see the foam still in good condition here).

Peter

TCA 07-61694 "The faster you go, the longer you'll wait"

Mine are heavyweights, and I have never seen Rail Chief aluminum kits/cars before  (but that car looks familiar, as though I've seen it under another brand), although I have seen other heavyweight kits than mine.   Yes, Carmen Webster was the name; she was described to me as very knowledgable in model trains, well known in the business, and, as, also, having an, uh, "active" love life.  I vaguely seem to think that one of the train collectors magazines, or maybe it was the old Railroad Model Craftsman, did an article on her.  If not, the TCA mag or somebody ought to.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Jim Policastro posted:

Kenny,

It really was great growing up in NYC as a kid who loved trains in the fifties and early sixties. I made weekly trips on the subway to Manhattan from our apartment in the Bronx just to make the rounds of the train stores. MRE Corp was always the highlight with shelves of brass locos in HO and O and a back room where it seemed they had anything you could possibly need for the layout.

Too bad my main interest was in HO at the time. I hate to think what I missed on the Lionel side of the store. Didn't have much money as a HS kid, so I guess it really didn't matter that much.

As far as the history of the  Rail Chief streamliners is concerned, I couldn't find out much. MRE Corp cut back on their big ads just about when those cars probably came out. I'm guessing late 40s around the same time as the AMT cars became available. Being kits, they were probably a few bucks cheaper than the AMT which would have been a big selling point.

Lots of kits in that era came without trucks making them suitable for 2 rail or 3 rail. Several companies made diecast, non-sprung trucks that were available with either scale wheels or large 3 rail flanges.

From your photo, it appears that you have the 2-rail wheelsets with that kit. "Scale" flanges were on the large side back then. The builder would then add body-mounted diecast non-operating scale or tinplate couplers.

Kasiner Hobbies of Rochester New York advertised their streamline kits starting in 1946. I believe it was they who moved and became Herkimer Tool and Model sometime in the early to mid 50s. The Rail Chief cars were probably produced in that same time frame. I'm not sure when the Rail Chief brand was dropped.

Although late to the game, the Lionel cars really moved to the front of the pack with their very detailed plastic ends and reliable trucks that provided interior lighting.

I believe the early Kasiner kit cars had either rough wood or stamped steel ends with little or no detail.

The ends in your RC kits seem nicer too. What do the other side of the ends look like? Do they have cast in detail or are they meant to be just about covered by the foam diaphragms?

It's really fun thumbing through the old magazines even if for nothing other than the ads!

Jim

 

 

AMT's first streamlined passenger cars were smothsided models.  They came out in the late 40s, were sandcast aluminum and weighed a ton; they were available as coaches and observations.  They were painted for PRR (tuscan with gold Pullman lettering) and NYC (gray with Pullman lettering).   The Deluxe fluted AMT cars appeared in 1950 and initially had smooth roofs, thick one piece extruded aluminum bodies and a separate underframe.  A later change involved making the sides separate parts (the roof had channels that the sides slid into); the cars weighed less, and I'm guessing it was easier to stamp the windows out than the one piece bodies.  I have a hunch that the Korean War might have spurred the switch to thin walled sides to save on costs or production restrictions on using aluminum from the government.  

A less expensive version of the cars called the Companion Line was introduced that came with corrugated roofs - no time spent polishing the roofs to a shine like the deluxe cars equaled a less expensive car.  Initially there were coach, vista dome, and observation cars.  When the AMT/Auburn line was sold to Kusan (KMT) it seems as if Kusan went to the corrugated roofs for the cars; the handful of cars I've seen that were set up for Duo-Trac operation (Kusan's 2 rail version of the cars - AMT never offered a 2 rail version of their products) all had corrugated roofs.  There's no way to know for sure if KMT used the smooth roofs for their production, or if they just used the less expensive corrugated tops.

Kaisner ,Midland Reproductions, Clark Benson as well as E P Alexander made aluminum cars. the Alexander cars were an interesting design as they were a roof and upper sides and a floor with lower sides and a metal window stripe that fitted in between. I have a  PRR congressional set made of these cars.

JC models made aluminum heavy weight cars which were latter made by all nation.

I forgot about Alexander and Midland.  They were the other option for scale Budd cars.  Both used the separate window idea, but I am told they were different extrusions.

OK is still doing extruded cars - Bob Delbridge can tell you more about them. I had no idea Carmen Webster was that attractive.

I have a few "O" gauge Rail Chief products. I have a kit to build a wooden station platform, a kit to make telephone poles, and several different types of cast metal animals. I believe I have cows, horses, pigs and sheep. As I recall the cows come four pieces to a box. Probably the horses too. There are more pieces in the pigs and sheep boxes.
I have never owned any of their rolling stock.

C.W. Burfle

Jim:

This thread prompted me to get out my 144-page 8½” x 11” book dated 1950 from Carmen Webster’s Model RR Equipment Corp. titled “Manual and Catalog of All Gauges” to see if I could find any references to those Rail Chief passenger cars.  The book is primarily a catalog of their products for scale model railroading but the last seven pages show toy trains with the first few pages in that section identified as “Tinplate” to distinguish it from the scale products. 

I looked for references to Rail Chief and found it listed in several places but ironically not as a supplier of O gauge streamline passenger cars.  In the O gauge section they are listed as a supplier of “Open End Passenger Train Cars” with photos of cars which look like early 1900’s passenger cars with a small platform on each end.  But in the HO section they are shown as a supplier of Streamline Passenger cars.  Also in the Toy Train section there is a small ad for a “Rail Chief Vinylite (Unbreakable) Train Sound Effect Record” along with a drawing of the record.  It was priced at $1.00.  There is no mention that Rail Chief was owned by MRREC.  So perhaps as you suggested they had cut back their advertising and offerings by 1950.  The suppliers listed in the O streamlined passenger car section are Central Lines, Kasiner and Walthers plus it also mentions that “Alexander streamliners are custom built to order”.  

In the tinplate or toy model train section there are two pages each devoted to Lionel and American Flyer plus and 3 pages for other manufacturers, primarily accessories although there is a photo of an AMT Streamline Vista-dome car.

That section was probably so small because they put out a separate catalog for toy trains in 1950 which I also have.  It is a smaller 8½” by 5½” format 76-page catalog and has separate sections for Lionel and American Flyer plus they also show products from other manufacturers including drawings of the AMT passenger cars plus accessories from Plasticville, Skyline, Minitoy, Colber, Dinky, Authenticast and Tru-scale.  Makes for interesting reading of the history of this hobby. 

Bill

Fantastic collection of catalogs above.  I have one Rail Chief open platform passenger kit I can find quickly (others are in a larger box as kit boxes were falling apart), and, from that same era, I also have open platform combine kits by "Hawk" and "Sycamore Hollow".  Hawk, better known for airplane models,  made car kits lettered for the Denver and Salt Lake, so are interesting to me, and that means the kits were made prior to the mid 1940's, when the D&SL merged into the D&RGW.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

bob2 posted:

I forgot about Alexander and Midland.  They were the other option for scale Budd cars.  Both used the separate window idea, but I am told they were different extrusions.

OK is still doing extruded cars - Bob Delbridge can tell you more about them. I had no idea Carmen Webster was that attractive.

Bob,

A dealer had about a half dozen Midland dome car and sleeper  kits for sale at the October 31st Cleveland 2 rail show. I think the asking price was about $50 per kit.

Thanks Everybody for all the great info!!

I do believe these O gauge cars I have are RAIL CHIEF passengers.

Here are a few more photos of the End Pieces and The Vista Dome,which I think I am going to be able to bring back from the dead.

These ends have the same type of ends that the HO Rail Chief passengers,from what I've seen in photos of the HO cars.Maybe they did not do many cars in O gauge,but the ones I have are definitely O gauge.

From all the great knowledge posted on this thread,I imagine that someone else actually did the extrusions,and then they were sold under the RAIL CHIEF name.Anyway,here are the photos of the end pieces and Vista Dome.

Attachments

Photos (4)

Mr.  Rheil,,  You Would Hopefully remember who this dealer is?   Name anything?   steer me towards the right direction as I need a couple domes of rare configuration which Midland  May have produced.   Need NP domed sleepers.  2 to finish North Coast Limited.  

    I learned more about who did what in extrusions here and that is Grand.

     I realize that was then and this now,  Hopefully somebody  ? anybody? 

     Chime in Please!!!!

Jim Policastro posted:

The internet is amazing!

A photo of Carmen Webster and her dog Puddles - 1949.

cweb

I think that article was in the TCA Quarterly.

Jim

Yep,That lady looks like a real firecracker for sure!!Ah,a woman who owns/runs a trainstore!I can tell just by looking at her,you DO NOT want to make this lady mad!!Actually,I've read that she was very nice to her customers,but she did not put up with any 'Monkey Business" from the customers.

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×