In this multi-part post I'll take you along my adventure of building a Locomotive Workshops E9 kit. Interest in building a locomotive kit occurred after I signed up to be a digital subscriber to O Gauge Magazine. Alan Arnold has given us access to an incredible research tool and I would recommend all forum members sign-up to be an OGR digital subscriber. I began reading these early OSR magazines cover-to-cover to learn more about our hobby. Starting at issue #1, I learned about some of the different obstacles facing model railroad hobbyists at the time. It seems during the late 60’s and early 70’s O scale trains were going through rough time. The HO train market was getting huge and taking over the hobby. There wasn’t a lot of O scale manufactures at the time and only a few of them made scale sized locomotives. 50 years ago if somebody in our hobby wanted a "scale sized" diesel locomotive in a specific style or paint scheme, they had to build it.
By the time I hit OSR magazine issue #14, I read an advertisement that stated Locomotive Workshop was going to have an E9 diesel kit available in the near future for $59.50. The ad's description read: The E9 kit was sold basically complete except for the mechanism. Includes basic body and soft metal trucks. Brass engraved - photo engraved brass - brass photo etched body. The nose section on this E9 kit was a lost wax brass casting.
For me, building a locomotive from an unassembled kit was a completely different aspect of our model railroading hobby and I was willing to give it a try. Looking online I found an unbuilt Locomotive Workshop E9 kit for sale and clicked Buy-Now. The kit arrived at my house a few days later. Here's what the parts look like laid out across my table.
The literature that came with this kit said it could be built as O – ON3 – Hi Rail. I'm going to try and build this diesel locomotive for Hi-Rail so it can run on my layout. An article in the OSR magazine mentioned they made small production runs of only 25 to 30 units at a time and shipped orders from this inventory. The business location on the box’s original shipping label and all paperwork included inside the box showed Avon Lake, Ohio. That’s interesting because Locomotive Workshop's mailing address changed in the January 1973 issue #31 of OSR issue to Englishtown New Jersey. At this point all the clues showed this E9 kit was from their pre-1973 inventory or maybe their first production run in 1971.
The best I could figure, the original owner paid $59.50 for this kit. That would calculate to around $399.00 in today’s dollars. That seems like A LOT of money today for an unbuilt kit. But times were different back then... and building a kit was the only way they had to get the exact diesel locomotive they wanted.
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