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I haven't fully downloaded all my photos from my trip yet, but here is the current configuration of the interior of the Park observations on VIA Rail.  They were rebuilt in 2014 along with the Chateau series sleepers and are on a level of service I have never experienced in the US on a train.  I will say the Vancouver crew was much better than the Winnipeg crew with knowledge of the train history, the quality of service, and overall friendliness, but overall it was the most relaxing trip I have ever taken.  Still being early in the season, the car was largely empty during most of the trip which made for more personalized travel experience.


One nuanced difference is that the new color scheme for "Prestige" service cars is now black and not the traditional VIA blue.


The number of bedrooms in the Park observations has been reduced to two cabins with a small berth for the car attendant down from four bedrooms.  One of the bedrooms is fully wheelchair accessible and has a provision for the table to be setup in the room for food service.  Note that the vestibule has a chair lift in lieu of the traditional stairs on this car as well.  Also, the door into the car has been modernized with an automatic sliding door activated by a push button.


View looking through the rear windows of the last round end observation cars operated in regular service anywhere in the world.


The dome has been redone with leather seating and updated lighting.  I noted that in the Skyline dome cars, they remain unchanged since their prior rebuilding in the last century.


Finally a view from the tail end of the car looking at the updated seating, hall to the lounge, and stair to the dome.  Each seat has it's own reading light and 110 receptacle. O ne of the nicest features of the train while riding across the "Canadian Shield" mainly in Ontario, but also partially in Manitoba was my cell phone consistently showed "No Service".


While the car doesn't look quite the same anymore, I am happy to have my version of this in O.  If I were to run across some additional cars, I would enjoy modeling the current version of the train.



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Last edited by GG1 4877
@Ron H posted:


How was the ride, and where did you embark and finish ?

Ron H


To start we rode the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver to Banff with an overnight stop in Kamloops.  The "tail end" car on that train is the generator car as the Rocky Mountaineer is powered by rebuilt GP40-2s.  We did this specifically to see the scenery on the CP transcon and the Rockies during the day.  That train was very well operated and they were constantly feeding us and giving us the history of Canada and the railroad and how the two were related.  I did not know that the CP was built with a political goal to align the railroad as close to the 49th parallel as possible so that the United States would not claim British Columbia.  From an engineering perspective the CP line was an inferior routing near the continental divide which originally was achieved with a 4.5% grade and later upgraded to the current spiral tunnels.  Grand Trunk's (later CN's) transcontinental routing through Yellowhead Pass was much easier to engineer.  The scenery was indeed spectacular in that area.

We got on the Canadian in Jasper and took it to Toronto after a tour of the ice fields in both Banff and Jasper National Parks.  The ride was four days and three nights.  It arrived in Jasper 8 hours late, but we made up three hours in Ontario ultimately arriving in Toronto at 7:30 pm instead of the scheduled 2:30 pm.  Our hotel was the Royal York across the street so we could walk to it.

What I learned from a presentation given in the Park car dome just before our station stop in Saskatoon from one of the staff was that VIA Rail was not able to obtain priority over freight trains when it was formed in 1978 unlike Amtrak.  Additionally, the legal limit for freight trains in Canada is 3 miles long.  The freight trains were mostly operated with a locomotive or two on the front, one in the middle, and one on the rear.  With both the CP and CN mainlines being single track mainlines with passing sidings, the freight trains are longer than a lot of the sidings although CN is working on lengthening them.  Interestingly enough the passing sidings are shorter on the eastern end of the route where we made up most of our time though.  There was a lot of traffic across Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  I got some fun photos of the passing freights out of the back of the dome, but they are still sitting in my SLR unlike the cell phone photos I posted to this thread.   

Overall the ride was very good.  The track quality was better than I expected.  Even at the speed limit of 80 mph the sleepers rode well and both my wife and I managed to have restful nights.  The added sound insulation in the "Prestige Class" sleepers helped with the passing freight trains.  The dining car swayed a bit more when were running at full speed, but the ride was not bad.

Probably more information that you asked for, but I was impressed enough with it to want to do the ride the other direction in a few years.  Even my wife who was highly skeptical of being a a train for that long really enjoyed it.  Even the food was decent.  Not cuisine, but good service and a different menu at every meal including the extra dinner we were served for having a late train. 

Last edited by GG1 4877

Was out and about today and came upon this up in Shohola, PA. It’s only open on weekends over the summer and there is little info on the history of the caboose, so I’ll have to keep searching. I did find one pic online that suggested that it was an NYC caboose and never really ran on the Erie. If anyone has any details, I’d love to hear them.



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Well T.E.T. fans, I am a bit late today and my post is no big deal, but its something that I came across while digging through some of my storage boxes for something else.  So here it is, a Jersey Central caboose, Lionel # 9069 from 1973-74 as a catalogued item and continued in 1975-1976 as an uncatalogued car.  Obviously early days of MPC  and this one is nothing to brag about, mostly plastic and non-illuminated.  But she is 46 plus years old and still is capable of running around the track.

Lionel JC caboose side

This was a quick shot and I didn't notice its a little out of focus, sorry.

Lionel JC caboose end

Best wishes everyone.  Apples 55 - great 1:1 caboose, let us know if you find out the RR it actually served on.  Steve - wow two "tin" Japanese trains on what must be 5 rail track, neat.  I also see what seems to be a Hubley horse drawn fire truck in the background - NO?  Rusty / Sitka - great scenes perfectly suited to "tail end" Tuesday.  Thanks for posting.



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It's still Tail End Tuesday out here on the west coast and Paradise rail station is a hoppin' place. The Santa Fe Chief is leaving for New Mexico and Southern Pacific SW8 is picking up a boxcar left on the other side of the tracks. That SW8 crew better hustle it up, the Daylight will be rolling into the station very shortly. The dispatcher already has the Daylight down to a crawl to give the SW8 crew some extra time to move the bothersome boxcar.

If you look closely between the SP boxcar and the SW8, you can see the cab of the lead Warbonnet F3 pulling The Chief.


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Well hello, T.E.T. fans, here I am again jumping the gun!  I have a full day tomorrow taking the wife to Ft. Worth for her medical treatments so I will spend most of the day / evening away from home.  SO...I thought I would post early (on Monday night).  Luckily I can still see/read everyone else's posts on my phone, I just can't post myself from my phone at the medical center (just not skilled enough and there is only very weak wi-fi).

So here we go...I thought today you might like to see something a little out of the ordinary.  In Europe / United Kingdom, the "tail end" was , in the US era of the caboose, equipped with what they called a "Brake Van".  In this the brakeman rode and observed the train and made sure that the cars were braking when the engineer applied the brakes.  Candidly I am not sure how the control system worked exactly or if he had actual control of the brakes.  However the "Brake Van" was about as close to a freight caboose as you might get.

Hornby trains, of course, manufactured Brake Vans to go with their freight (or "goods")  trains and today I am posting one of their post nationalization brake vans.  This one, from the No. 50 line up of freight wagons was just about the last of the 0 gauge line as through the 1950's O gauge sales were dropping fast and OO gauge (HO in the US) was climbing to take their place.  The No 50 wagons were a last ditch attempt to both lower the cost of O gauge to compete and to keep the line open. (Remember Lionel's strategy in this same period with Scout sets etc was not too different).

Here is the Hornby, No 50 BR (East) Brake Van. It was only made in the East regional British Rail color, brown.  It was introduced in 1957 and it stayed in the line until the end of Hornby O gauge in 1969.  Note, unlike Lionel for example, this modeled a "bay window" car but the window bay is not actually made it is just suggested via the tinprinting on the side of the car.  This was obviously done to control cost as actually adding the side cupola's would have been quite expensive but they could be suggested in the tinprinting for almost no additional cost.

Hornby No 50 Brake Van side

Here is the forward observation platform, where I would assume the conductor or brakeman observed the train.  The center portion of the car is enclosed much like a US caboose.

Hornby No 50 Brake Van end 1

Here is the opposite end.  The small "L" shaped brackets are actually lamp holders, the crew would attach various oil lamps to these brackets marking the train.  Hornby sold these little lamps (simulated) as accessories and today they are very hard to find.

Hornby No 50 Brake Van end 2

Here is the top showing what I expect was the smoke stack for the coal stove used the heat the car in winter.

Hornby No 50 Brake Van top

Well, I hoped you enjoyed our "foreign" excursion today.  Best wishes for a great T.E.T. (even if its Monday )

Best Wishes



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Well "Tail End" fans, here it is Tuesday again...Memorial Day has past with remembrances, prayers, flag displays, and an afternoon family picnic with relatives, grand kids, and too many hot dogs (expertly grilled by guess who?).

Here is my contribution to this fine Tuesday.  Its a Lionel Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) #6219 work caboose from 1960.  Lionel made quite a number of these type cabooses, the cabin and tray front, were a plastic casting and the frame / trucks were just a re-used sheet metal flat car.  By changing the color of the plastic used for the casting, Lionel could make any number of other variations economically.  I liked this one because it came with a matching C&O Alco diesel and they make a handsome pair.

Lionel 6219 C&O work caboose sideLionel 6219 C&O work caboose frontLionel 6219 C&O work caboose rear

Well that's my T.E.T. for this week.  I wish everyone a happy and healthy rest of your week.

Best Wishes



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Here's my rears for this fine Tuesday!   "Tails from the Tail End"

MA & PA engine and caboose rears.  Did this on my I phone ... two rears with one phone!  F130BA3D-CB89-4330-8C99-35B4C704C008

Stake body truck rear end and possibly some pigs rears too!


The boss catches Larimore sampling a beer at the rear of the truck.  Boss: "Gotcha!! You're fired for theft of a customer's product!"  Larimore: " But boss this is not an act of stealing, it's an act of quality control!"  C42C24BF-810D-48DA-809F-5D878C82CB15


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Last edited by trumptrain
@trumptrain posted:

Here's my rears for this fine Tuesday!   "Tails from the Tail End"

MA & PA engine and caboose rears.  Did this on my I phone ... two rears with one phone!  F130BA3D-CB89-4330-8C99-35B4C704C008

Stake body truck rear end and possibly some pigs rears too!


The boss catches Larimore sampling a beer at the rear of the truck.  Boss: "Gotcha!! You're fired for theft of a customer's product!"  Larimore: " But boss this is not an act of stealing, it's an act of quality control!"  C42C24BF-810D-48DA-809F-5D878C82CB15

your phone is better than my digital camera LOL Looking good Pat, God Speed!

Another real tail end.  This time from Globe, AZ in 2011 during the brief period the Arizona Eastern was doing short day excursions prior to being sold to Genessee & Wyoming.  This observation lounge car was rebuilt by the IC from a heavyweight steel car.   As you can see from the drum head, this car has been around a bit.







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Well here I am again, posting early.  Tomorrow is another medical trip for the wife to Ft. Worth so I will be gone all day but I can't miss T.E.T.  So I will follow GG14877 from last week and that fabulous IC Observation lounge those were the days of TRAVEL ... not shoved 3 to a row with barely enough room to breathe and fed canned soda and a bag of peanuts!

Well my "tail end" this week is also of a bygone era, its the American Flyer #1117 caboose (which by the way was also numbered 1114 ... why - who knows?)  This is the 8 wheeled car (it was also made in 4 wheel) offered from 1919-1929.  This makes her from 93 to 103 years old but she is still around and can perform her end of train duties.

First a "portrait" picture of her sitting by herself waiting to be picked up and put in a train.

American Flyer 1117 caboose side view on layout

Next a somewhat closer view, including the neat American Flyer "winged engine" logo.

American Flyer 1117 caboose side close up

Here is the front quarter view .  Note the brown cupola sides - for reasons best known to American Flyer these cabooses were made two ways, with brown or red cupola sides, all in the same time period.

American Flyer 1117 caboose front quarter

Here is the rear quarter view.  The car is pretty symmetrical and came with couplers on both ends, so front/rear sort of your choice.

American Flyer 1117 caboose rear quarter

As you can see, this girl is a long way from being in perfect condition but I think for around a century old she is not doing too bad.  Sort of makes her look "Played with" which I like.

Best wishes everyone.  Happy Tuesday



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Sitka, leapinlarry thank you for your comments on my caboose.  I get a kick out of the "old" ones, they sort of tell us how far the hobby has come in the last century!  Patrick - the "rear" cab shot is really imaginative, I don't think anyone has done that before, its a great picture!  Larry - super shots as always, love that "theater" car.  Sitka - nice views of the WM train, one of my personal favorites.  Wife and I lived some 10 years in Md so its one of our favorite RR.

Best Wishes everyone


Well here we are again at T.E.T. and I guess I am starting out this week.  Today I have a car with a very convoluted number history.  Mr. Marx must have liked the number 18326 because he used it a lot!  Likely knowing Marx, he liked the fact that he could use the stamp for lots of different cars and not face the expense of making another .

Here is the Marx NYC #18326 caboose in tuscan,rust or brown (all three words were used by Marx to discribe the color).  Besides this NYC car, this same number was used for several various color "twisted worms" Penn Central cabooses including one in the same color as well as white, red, and tourquoise.  It was also used for other NYC cabooses, one in red , one in white with a black "Pacemaker" livery and black stripes along the bottom (this was part of a set but may have also been available as a separate item), one in yellow and one in black with white and tourquoise stripes.  This caboose (at least this number caboose) had a long life, beginning in 1956 and lasting until the end of Marx trains in 1974. The Marx set reference lists this car in brown, tuscan, or rust in 9 sets over the course of Marx production.  While 2 of these references appear quite late in the flow, its most popular period including appearing in some Sears sets seems to be the early to middle 1960's.  At any rate, here is the long lived and often used number #18326 caboose!!

Marx NYC 18326 tuscan caboose side

Happy Tail End Tuesday everyone!

Best Wishes



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