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Looking for 2 rail CNJ, especially brass pieces is often a thankless task.  Hours spent searching to find nothing.  For that reason I was toying with converting a 3 rail Williams Camelback to 2 rail and adding detailing.  Finally after at least 15 years of searching I came across this item on that auction site.  To say I'm thrilled is an understatement.  While it is not an exact replica of a T38 CNJ Camelback, it is the closest I have found.  The drivers even scale out to the correct 69" which is what really set these ten wheelers apart for me.  

Now the question of who manufactured this?  Any guesses? 

I haven't been inside, but it's not hard to see that it is a large open frame motor set at an angle with the shaft gear connecting to the main gear on the center driver.  I am guessing 50's vintage as the detail on the back head, while fun, isn't very accurate.  Also the steam dome is short as is the exhaust stack.  This is minor to me though compared to the overall feel of this.

First a way back machine image of my Williams 3R model.  Not a bad rendition as the Camelbacks didn't have a ton of exterior appliances.  Just for comparision.


This is the 2 rail one I recently picked up.  




Again any thoughts on the manufacturer would be helpful.  Thank you!


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  • CNJ-03
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Last edited by GG1 4877
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@bob2 posted:

Varney/All Nation 4-6-0 mechanism.  I would bet scratch boiler, although International could have made one of these.  Tender looks kinda "International."

That was my first thought; certainly looks like it from the bottom view. Look at the pilot truck, the (2) small tanks under the cab, the valve gear...

Mark in ( a little less smokey) Oregon

Last edited by Strummer

The lead truck is definitely All Nation/General Models.    The style of mechanism is 50s as you say.    All Nation locos all used 69 inch drivers.     ON All Nation, the axles have a flat on the ends of the OD and the wheel centers have a matching flat on the ID.    The drivers install on axles with the flats placing and holding them in quarter.    Also, All Nation used a special hub nut with a slot on the end that was screwed onto the axle end to hold the driver in place.

International models I have seen, do not have any bearings on the loco axles.   In the ones I have seen, the frame is is a pressed brass channel with holes bored for the axles.    The axles simply ride in these simple holes with not bearings.    

My quess is a scratch built or custom built superstructure and an All Nation mechanism.   It could also be a kit bash using an International Superstructure with an All Nation mechanism.


@GG1 4877 posted:

This is the 2 rail one I recently picked up.  


I turned my "stock" Ten Wheeler over and took this picture, just to double-verify the Varney/All Nation lineage:


Not sure why your bottom plate was cut and has that recessed area, but it looks like it was very cleanly done. Also, your drawbar is attached to the engine with a screw; on mine the drawbar is screwed to the tender.

Anyway, just thought I'd post this...

Mark in Oregon


Images (1)
  • chassis

Mark and all,

Thanks for all your input so far.  It does seem like an All-Nation 10 wheeler frame.  The 

Now I'm curious about the shell.  If it was a scratch build, it is very professionally done.  I have been looking or seams, or anything that might show it's scratch built heritage.  I'll keep looking.    

The tender is interesting to me as it is the type of tender and does have the correct trucks as used by many of the Anthracite roads.  All very interesting discussion.  I love a great mystery.  With a little light lube on the gear I'm going to try it out on my test track tonight.

@bob2 posted:

Man, Mark - I killed a thread with a photo like that.  You are lucky.  

I think the question is, did IMP do a Camelback?  Maybe when Carey gets home he can spot an ad.  That would be an obvious swap; with the exception of the Challenger, the International mechanisms were darn near junk.


I do feel lucky, thank you.  

Mark in (now foggy) Oregon

I threw this on the test track today over 5 minutes of my 10 minute lunch break and it runs well considering I just threw it on the track and applied DC power.  Once I get it properly lubed this will be great runner once I get a layout up and running.  Now if I can just find the correct commuter cars.  Near as I can tell only Walthers has made something that is close in O.  

A facsimile of CNJ's 62' Pressed Steel coaches can be created from Walthers #9172/3 sides if you have the patience to shorten them and plate over the windows on the shortened ends to the vestibule , the head-end cars are way easier to render. Ed Bommer would know the best way to do these, as he did a beautiful post-war "Queen of the Valley" some time ago.

I'm sure there are easier ways to "get there" depending on how close you want to get that prototype too....          Congrats, excellent looking locomotive. Love the CNJ.


If you can overlook the absence of one window, the All Nation 62' "N&W" coach looks good, done up for CNJ.  The combine can be altered to also match a CNJ car, but one needs to extend the roof and floor for the baggage end vestibule. 

What I did was cut the combine sides near the coach area windows and flip them left for right side. That placed the baggage area side window in its proper location.  A pair of baggage end vestibule doors were made from aluminum roofer's flashing. The roof was extended from a scrap piece I had that matched as my kit had a Northeastern milled wood roof. Earlier AN kits had a milled roof unique to the AN line of kits. The floor was likewise extended with an additional piece of flooring glued on. The center sill strip helps strengthen that joint. 

The two CNJ coaches shown below date from when I was a teen and have been rebuilt twice since.  Champ decals were used to letter one of them. It has slanted letters which CNJ only used for a short while.  Above the car number there is a "CNJ" note, indicating ownership /registry. The second coach with vertical lettering has a "CRP' note. For a few years in the early 1950's Jersey Central transferred some of its rolling stock to the Central Railroad of Pennsylvania, which it owned, to reduce its State of New Jersey taxes. 

I have one more CNJ car to do, the club car 'plainfield' which I saw a few times at the Jersey City Terminal. Yes, CNJ did not put a capital "P" on the name in the 1950's. The junker AN car I found to do this is the longer 72' coach, which is one window too long for a CNJ car!  But I could shorten it to the correct number of windows, also trim back the roof and floor to match. Someday!  


S. Islander


Images (3)
  • 168a: Made from All Nation "N&W" combine kit 5000. Lettering is pre-WW II and could still be seen into the early 1950's. Done with alphabet sets
  • 010a: All Nation 62' coach, kit 5005.  Champ decals.
  • 009a: All Nation 62' coach, kit 5005. CNJ decals from Tom's Trains, Scotch Plains NJ - the most accurate!

Scale City I think, has the former Grace Line/Ace/Old Pullman 4 wheel sprung passenger trucks.  Also Walthers made their 'suburban' equalized trucks, which are a 4 wheel Commonwealth Steel Castings design.  Either one would do well for a 4 wheel passenger car truck.  I have Grace Line sprung trucks under my two CNJ coaches. (They were bought when I got the kits from All Nation in 1954).  Also, Walthers 'suburban' trucks, a pair of which are under the CNJ combine. I have another pair of them I got from E-bay a few months ago for the CNJ club car 'plainfield' which getting closer to the work bench. It will be another one of my rebuilt, second-hand cars. Of late, I have also been replacing the old Central Locomotive Works Delrin  couplers with Kadee's new long shank couplers on my passenger cars as they come to the work bench.  S. Islander  

Last edited by S. Islander

That is very interesting information.  The camelback shown in 1954 IMP catalog is an Atlantic.  Looks similar to the 592 which is the last surviving CNJ camelback at the B&O museum that also pulled the Blue Comet in later years.  The body looks very similar.  Perhaps I have that shell over an All Nation 10 wheeler drive to make it into the more common CNJ camelbacks that did dual service. Thanks for sharing!

Great suggestions on trucks all.  I shall start tracking those down.

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