Skip to main content

Plastic Fantastic!  WOW!  A pity there isn't a RTR model on the market.  I'd puchase one just to put on display.  The late great Bill Lenoir* scratched built an O scale wooden ACL caboose out of wood, in O scale.  Bill owned and operated Lenoir Locomotive Works of Tampa, Florida.  He scratched built hundreds of locomotives (brass) and some equipment for many years in his North Tampa shop.  I met Bill, thanks to another late great modeler, Chester THE MOST Holley.**  Chester owned and operated Chester Holley Model Railroad, a train shop, in Palma Ceia, a section of South Tampa, not far from McDill AFB.

There were quite a few AF men who were model railroaders who frequented Chester's shop.  The original shop on South Himes Blvd. was a concrete block building.  Not large by any means, but still well stocked.  Later, a large prefab metal building was built at the same location (next door to Chester's home) which totally engulfed the old building.  It became the stock room if you will.

Chester operated the O scale Moon Valley Lines which never saw a layout built but it was 2-rail just the same.  Chester was scratch building a wood model of a business car for the MVS, which he never completed.  I don't know what became of the unbuilt car.  I imigine his daughter, Diane, retained it after Chester passed.  Where is it today?  Good question, but I may be able to find out from a good friend, who still lives in the area and also was a long time friend/customer of Chester, his wife Margo, and daughter Diane.

Bill's model of the wood ACL caboose is now owned by another friend of mine, who lives east of Tampa in Valrico.  It, plus a brass ACL GP7 in the attractive purple and silver color scheme (painted by Bill  with honest to goodness real bonified ACL paint no less!), are the only models in O scale that my friend possesses.  He is a long time HO scale modeler.

Bill had a paperback printed, titled "201 Steam Locomnotives", which featured photos of the models he had built up to the time the book was published.  Copies of this privately printed book are very rare and highly sought after today.  I purchased a copy from Bill back in the 1980s.  He personally signed it for me.  I am also the proud owner of a signed copy of the paperback that Chester had printed, as well as, a personally signed copy of Bobbye Hall's book, "From Texas to Tokyo".  Bobbye was owner of Bobbye Hall's Hobby House in Dallas, TX.  She and Chester and Margo were long time good close friends.

Truly a great bunch of people in the model railroading field, sadly all having departed, having riden First Class on the Heavenly Express, their final destination: The Roundhouse in the Sky, which can be found just beyond the Big Rock Candy Mountains!  I miss them all!

Joseph Toth Jr.

*Bill's 2-rail scale layout, in his two car garage no less, was based on the Chicago Great Western.  Bill grew up in Iowa along the CGW.  After Bill's passing, the layout was donated to a museum in Iowa.  I've forgotted the name and location, however you can probaby find it if you Google.  After serving in WWII, Bill worked for Walthers before relocating to Tampa, joining his sister who was married to a RBB&B circus clown.

**Item: Chester, with wife Margo, founded the Southern Division of the TCA in Florida.  It should also be noted that Chester was a long time advertiser in O Gauge Railroading's magazine.  Look in the rear of back issues and you'll find his ad in the dealer directory.  More about Chester and Margo can be found on the TCA Southern Division site.

...and don't forget: "Thanks for Using Coast Line", y'all!



P.S.  I forgot to silly of me.  Are your M-5's going to receive fine scale or 3-rail trucks?  Even if you don't model in Proto 48, all construction photos of this pilot model which you have shared with O Gauge Railroading modelers thus far should be posted on the Proto48 Modeling site anyway! 

Great work, beautiful model, which deserves an award!  I'd be proud to be the owner of one!

Joseph Toth Jr.


Bob, I checked out your comment and attached photo regarding your Mullett River caboose conversion.  I must admit that you really did a great job modifying a Southern Railway caboose into an honest to goodness bonified Atlantic Coast Line stand-in waycar.  I just hope the Seaboard boys won't get upset enough to wanna jump across your work bench and clean your clock though,

and..."Thanks for Using Coast Line!"

Joseph Toth Jr.


Bob, I checked out your comment and attached photo regarding your Mullett River caboose conversion.  I must admit that you really did a great job modifying a Southern Railway caboose into an honest to goodness bonified Atlantic Coast Line stand-in waycar.  I just hope the Seaboard boys won't get upset enough to wanna jump across your work bench and clean your clock though,

and..."Thanks for Using Coast Line!"

Joseph Toth Jr.


Yeah I know, I strayed.  Bound to have happen though. Wait until I get some SCL stuff to run on the layout then we'll really see a reaction

The kit was not the easiest thing to put together, but once the interior was out of the way it wasn't that bad.  Had to fit those replacement steps in but the windows awnings were easy, just cut some aluminum strips, bend, and glue in place.

The windows actually open on this model!

Brother Love: I just noticed that you posted your ACL caboose on the 2 rail forum.  Are there any photos of your layout to be found here on the OGR site, or somewhere else?

Bob: I never possessed the skill to built wood kits.  I checked out the LaBelle site recently and was shocked to see they haven't added any new kits in the O scale line for years and years.  The current owners are located in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  I always loved the passenger car kits they offer.  Also, do you have any layout photos posted somewhere for us "Family Lines" fans to enjoy?

Joseph Toth Jr.


Bob, OK, a Seaboard modeler modifying a Southern caboose for the ACL?  Any photos displaying your SAL layout would be appreciated. 

I'm sure you know about the Proto48 Modeler site.  Perhaps one of the modelers, whose models are featured there, can assist you in finding the trucks you are seeking?  Another place would be the Protocraft site with their link to layouts.  Those guys really impress me too.  Maybe one of them can help you as well?

I railfanned Tampa and environs with my late best friend, Robert E. Taff (RIP) back when I took my annual vacation from Germany.  I'd visit my folks and friends, which also included Chester Holley.  Chester ran a train shop in Tampa.  He ran a dealer ad in OGR, as well as MR and RMC, for years.  It was simple and read: The Most.  He was known internationally.  Chester served with the US Army in the UK during WWII.  It was in Merry Olde England where he met his wife Margo.  Their daughter, Diane, born in Margo's home of Scotland, returned to Tampa after the war, where he started his business. 

I'm interested in the ACL, SAL, and SCL, up to the time Family Lines consolidated all the railroads that had been part of these railroads, even including the Georgia shortline, Gainesville Midland.  What, a displaced Dallas born Texan who follows Family Lines railroading?  Why not?  My old home road remains deep in my heart too of course: The Katy...Serves the Southwest Well!  But that's another story...

See OGR issues 119, 120, and 121.  Featured in them is where you will find a three part series of articals about Chester.  It's worth reading.  Sadly, daughter Diane, who continued to operate the shop after Chester passed away, is no longer with us either.  Memories of them and the unique shop remain though. 

Keep up the fantastic modeling Bob, and please share more of it with us!


Joe Toth Jr.







Joe, Have you joined the ACL/SAL Historical Society?:

They send out a quarterly magazine with a ton of photos and articles.  They were doing an online magazine for modeling but that's been absent for some time, not enough articles submitted to make it viable.

Only photos I have of my layout are generic, it could be any RR.  I haven't done anything to it but lay down some very basic ground cover.

Back to Malcolm...I think someone has cloned him based on how many cabeese he's pumped out the past couple of years.  My attention span isn't long enough to come close to what he has done.

Scratch building is tough enough, but when you model a RR like SAL, who had a lot of oddball rolling stock, it's almost impossible to find drawings and material to make them.

No Bob, I never have joined the ACL/SALHS.  Living overseas always meant additional postage plus the possibility of issues being lost or mutilated by the postal people. 

Item: I used to "hop their freights" as Hobo Joe so I could read the free online modeling issues though......LOL  The society is currently undergoing a rebuild to their website, thus not everything has been transferred from the former site yet.  An online digital membership would be great.  Since I took out my recent digital subscription to OGR I've been having a blast of a time reading all issues of OGR which go all the way back to issue No. 1! 

I used to collect O gauge but never constructed a layout.  My compact basement room wouldn't handle much in the way of O gauge as it is anyway.  I came close to modeling in Z scale several years ago.  I bet (...and lost!) to my good friend and owner of *Modellbahn Ritzer, Rainer Knoch, that Z scale trains wouldn't run properly without derailing all the time.  Boy, was I ever wrong!  He loaned me a silver plated (!) Märklin Z scale California Zephyr to try out, and I admit, I was quite impressed! 

A silver plated Seaboard Silver Meteor in Z would make my day indeed!

Rainer's shop is located in Nuremberg, Germany.  The annual international toy fair is also held there every year.  I don't know about the 2021 show yet of course with Corona's continued deadly spread worldwide.  Nuremberg is also the home of a fantastic rail museum which is within walking distance of the Deutsche Bahn's Hauptbahnhof! 

*Rainer sells new, preowned, as well as collectable trains and vehicles, in all scales.  This includes German and international brands, including O gauge!  Rainer's new shop is a short walk from a U Bahn (subway) as well as strassenbahn (streetcar) line where both share the same station stop.  A visit to his site,  ( which is in German and English, is well worth a look.  Note the double l's in the word modell when you look it up.





Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.