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My locomotive today is Boston & Albany USRA 0-8-0 #53, a model produced by Lionel (6-28702) in 2006 with TMCC at an MSRP of $649.99. I purchased this model from forum sponsor Trainz and it arrived here this week after nine days in transit. I’ve been wanting to buy a small B&A locomotive model that fits well on my 10’-by-5’ layout but it seems to me that there aren’t many small Boston & Albany locomotive models being made or for sale on the secondary market these days. So, when this appeared on Trainz, I watched it until it became available for general sale and then ordered it. Trainz had rated this model as C7 (excellent) and described some minute scratches and wheel wear that made me somewhat hesitant to buy but, after a day or so, I relented.

I was impressed with how securely Trainz had packed the model. I examined it carefully and found no scratches or wheel wear. Actually, upon close examination, it looked to me like the model had never been run. Certainly, the pickup rollers had never touched a middle rail and I would have rated it at least C8 (like new). I bought a Lionel Mogul from Trainz last year that was rated as C9 (new). In my opinion, both models were fairly and conservatively rated. But neither was low-priced…

The model operated properly when I began to run it. Initially there was some sound dropout so I installed a 9V battery in the tender, but cleaning the rails later eliminated the issue and I don’t think the battery is necessary. I’m satisfied with my purchases from Trainz.

B&A #53 was a U-3b class switcher built by Lima in April 1921.  It had 25-by-28 cylinders, 51-inch driving wheels, weighed 219,000 pounds, and produced 51,040 pounds of tractive effort at 175 pounds-per-square-inch boiler pressure. It was renumbered to New York Central #7725 in 1951 and ran on the Harlem Division until it was retired in January 1955.

This model was made in South Korea and, in my opinion, its design, manufacture and details are excellent. My pictures show that the boiler is fully round on the underside with a prototypical clear space between the boiler and the frame.




Images (8)
  • MELGAR_2022_0614_01_B&A_53_10X5_TRESTLE
  • MELGAR_2022_0614_03_B&A_53_10X5_TRESTLE
  • MELGAR_2022_0614_05_B&A_53_10X5_TRESTLE
  • MELGAR_2022_0614_06_B&A_53_10X5_TRESTLE
  • MELGAR_2022_0614_11_B&A_53_10X5_SS71
  • MELGAR_2022_0614_14_B&A_53_10X5_BRIDGE
  • MELGAR_2022_0614_17_B&A_53_10X5_SOUTH
  • MELGAR_2022_0614_19_B&A_53_10X5_EAST
Videos (2)

My model of Boston & Maine GP-7 #1563 was made by MTH Premier (20-2211-1). It appeared in the 1999 Volume 3 Catalog at an MSRP of $299.95 and was delivered in December 1999. This was one of the first B&M locomotive models that I purchased – at just about the time I got my 12’-by-8’ layout up and running – and it has been one of my favorites ever since, although it’s not quite as detailed as current MTH GP-7s and GP-9s. I used to run it often but in recent years it’s been run less frequently because I now have newer B&M models.

I hadn’t run #1563, a PS1 model, for at least two years – maybe longer – and its 9-volt NiMH battery was probably ten years old, so I needed to install a BCR before running it again. Aside from removing the shell, extracting the battery required loosening the internal electronic components which are secured by four small screws from the underside of the metal chassis. I prefer not to disturb locomotive electronics but it couldn’t be avoided in this case. With the BCR, the sounds began when approximately 6 volts were applied to the track. It was a little sluggish starting to move, but a slight push and it was off and running. It loosened-up quickly and ran well at low speeds. I find MTH models with PS1 to be very durable and trouble-free.

Boston & Maine #1563 was built in February 1952, one of the second group of GP-7s (#1563 to #1571) purchased by the railroad. It had 1500 horsepower and was set up to run short hood forward. B&M GP-7s did not have dynamic brakes but they did have an extended compartment at the rear of the long hood that housed train lighting equipment for commuter service. The generic MTH B&M GP-7 model incorrectly includes dynamic brake blisters atop the long hood but doesn’t have the extended electrical compartment. B&M #1563 also had a steam generator within the short hood for train heating. This is represented on the MTH model by the steam generator stack atop the short hood.

As Budd RDC Railcars replaced diesel locomotives in commuter service on the B&M, MU equipment was added to #1563 and it was transferred to freight service. So, this model of a medium-sized diesel locomotive is a good fit for passenger or freight trains on my 10’-by-5’ single-track New England branch line model railroad.

General Motors Electro-Motive Division produced 2,729 GP-7s between October 1949 and May 1954. They were powered by an EMD 567B V16 2-stroke diesel engine that ran between 275 and 800 RPM. Their weight was 246,000 pounds and maximum speed was 65 miles-per-hour. Continuous tractive effort was 40,000 pounds at 9.3 miles-per-hour and 65,000 pounds for starting. The B&M had 23 GP-7s.




Images (9)
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_01_B&M_GP7_1563_BCR
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_02_B&M_GP7_1563_BCR
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_03_B&M_GP7_1563_BCR
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_04_B&M_GP7_1563_10X5_TRESTLE
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_05_B&M_GP7_1563_10X5_TRESTLE
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_08_B&M_GP7_1563_10X5_SS71
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_10_B&M_GP7_563_10X5_BRIDGE
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_16_B&M_GP7_1563_10X5_CROSS_STREET
  • MELGAR_2022_0618_19_B&M_CABOOSE_433_10X5_STATION
Videos (3)
@Wvm posted:

What a difference a layout makes   All your locos look great and are lucky to have such a great road on which to spin their wheels


Thank you. Whether you have a layout or not, I would like to see any New Haven or other New England model locomotives or rolling stock that you have. My newer layout is 10'-by-5' and just an O-54 oval. I guess that is considered small but, for me, it's big enough to be interesting, and construction of the structures and scenery were a five-year project.


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