Hello O scale world .

We return to the Museum of Science and Industry layout .... opened Jan 1941 built by Minton Cronkhite ( and helpers) laid out in Q gauge .

Passenger trains numbered two ... heavy weight set and the Chief pulling the streamlined cars made of Montel metal ( looks like aged stainless) . Minton had montel cars on his home layout as early as 1938 ...also used on the SF Treasure Island layout in 1939. The Montel cars are lovely with operating vestibules .. ( akin to Crovan passenger cars ...as Minton was one of the initial partners in Crovan) . Montel passenger car set was run as a 7 car set due to passing siding lengths. (freights trains limited to 15 cars).

Post war Bob Smith provides PA's to run in the layout as Santa Fe (owner of the layout) wanted to keep up to date with actual equipment being used on the railroad . Unknown if passenger cars were changed as this time . MRC article from 1950 covering the layout uses old stock photos and description of layout ..so of little use.

Bob Smith rebuilds the layout to O gauge 1952/3 ... adding FA's ... ( All Nation ? or his own? ) running as ABA .....now pulling 8 cars ... so passing sidings may have been lengthened or eliminated/not used ? ... Two postcard exist from this era ... yes taken from 50' away ...but you can see two sets of ABA pulling 8 passenger cars each gleaming under the spot lights. Note the length of the passenger cars compared to the FA's could those cars be 17/64ths?

As a kid in the mid / late 60's -70's ... fond memories of the glorious layout with the shiny Santa Fe passenger cars that reflected like mirrors in they passed .... refer back to the postcard images you can see the high glow of the cars even at 50' .

Last passenger cars on the layout included double decker type cars also of the high shine finish .. no photos that I've found yet ...

Last week an unusual collection of passenger cars was found ....including 4 of the Montel , 3 Exacta in chrome finish , 9 Exacta's paint silver , and one Pomona car similar to the Minton set found in the San Diego museum.

Bob Turner in a prior posting mentioned that Bob Smith had plated the PA's .... so would it make sense that the passenger cars they pulled would also be plated? CLW produced the PA's in 46/7 ... high time when Exacta was ramped up to provide their 90% correct cars in both 1/4" and 17/64ths ... the PA's that ran on the MSI layout were lashed up as a ABA ...and are bigger then the later used FA's ...so would the choice of 17/64ths be a better match ? ...Has anyone ever measured the CLW cast bodied PA's to see their actual scale ?

Hopefully in time more photos will surface from the millions of folks who saw the layout over the decades...to help fill in more details .
Cheers Carey
Cars were found without trucks .... so cast Lobaugh trucks on the cars as shown are all wrong ... but better than dragging the cars around the layout without wheels at all .  The cars are built for commercial use and have signs of heavy wear ... 


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I'll repeat this here - hope the locals don't mind.  It is from Wikipedia.

Monel is a group of nickel alloys, primarily composed of nickel (from 52 to 67%) and copper, with small amounts of iron, manganese, carbon, and silicon. (Alloys with copper contents 60% or more are called cupronickel.)

Stronger than pure nickel, Monel alloys are resistant to corrosion by many agents, including rapidly flowing seawater. They can be fabricated readily by hot- and cold-working, machining, and welding.[2]

Monel was created by Robert Crooks Stanley, who worked for the International Nickel Company (INCO) in 1901. Monel alloy 400 is a binary alloy of the same proportions of nickel and copper as is found naturally in the nickel ore from the Sudbury (Ontario) mines and is therefore considered a puritan alloy.[i][3][4] Monel was named after company president Ambrose Monell, and patented in 1906.[5] One L was dropped, because family names were not allowed as trademarks at that time.[1] The name is now a trademark of Special Metals Corporation.

As a kid visiting the MSI I was always thrilled to see the fantastic 1/4' scale Santa Fe layout.  That layout was a miracle of ingenuity.   Seeing the hand built passenger cars from that museum layout in such a sad state is a shame.  But just seeing them is a treat.  I can't believe they weren't kept together.   Wonder where the bi-levels got to.  Those cars were also a beautiful sight as they made their way around that huge model railroad.  I used to walk all the way around to view the action from all sides and then make my way to the balcony for an overhead view.  Thanks for posting the photos.

Carey you are indeed a lucky guy finding those historic cars, what a treasure. Growing up in Chicago I used to harass my parents to take to the MSI and then when we got there only  thing I wanted to see was the train layout. I spent hours staring at those cars on the ground floor and from the balcony. On a field trip from grade school went there and got"separated from the group" when the nun found me her face was redder than the nose of the diesel. You will never guess where she found me. Great find my friend!!!

The California Museum of Science and Industry (now the California Science Center) had an O scale railroad exhibit that ran for quite a while. It was created by several modelers and run by the Troxel Brothers who had a model railroad store in Los Angeles. It modeled Southern California points of interest. The railroads of focus were Santa Fe (ATSF), Union Pacific and Southern Pacific. They did make it into Amtrak. The museum funded the maintenance by charging 10 cents to see the exhibit upstairs in one of the pavilions. It was an around-the-room diorama approximately three feet deep with the trains in the foreground and forced perspective into about 1/64 in the background with cars moving along the highway (a lot like Route 66). They took it down in the late 1980's as I recall and didn't replace it. I've also included an article about the exhibit.



Matt Jackson
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I went to the MSI numerous times in the 50's and early 60's, and the Santa Fe layout was my favorite exhibit. I was very struck by the blue and yellow freight f-units, that looked so different than my Lionel 2353s (in my eyes, anyway).









Thanks for posting the info.  The train layout at The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago was a fascinating favorite of mine also as a child during the 50's and later.  I have seen via YouTube that there is a contemporary world class replacement exhibit and layout there.  I hope to visit it later this year.  Have not been to the Museum since the late 70's.

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