Announcing the Ferdinand Magellan: Releasing Feb. 2016!

U.S. No. 1

This is one of those announcements that I have been looking forward to for quite awhile!

Micro-Trains has created a brand-new car for my Executive Line Series.  This project has been in the works for a very long time, and the time has come for it’s unveiling.

New car sides were created to allow a broader scope of paint schemes to be produced.  As I have pointed out before, ‘Business Cars’ or ‘Office Cars’ as they were also called, are typically each very unique to that railroad.  So, to have the exact prototype of one car, although nice, makes it unusable in other paint schemes.  But that is only true for those that count rivets and windows.

DSC_0447It is probably important for me to point out that the design of my current executive car was done to make a specific car as close as possible to the prototype by using several different platform railings and platform ceilings.  The smooth side design and the full radial roof also bring more options to model a prototype in a closer fashion.  Now, add completely new car sides to these options and you have so many versions to be made that it is beyond exciting.  The design of this new car is loosely based on Pullman’s ‘Office Cars’ of which there were six.  The car has rivets and most noticeably no vestibule on the B end.  The steps have been replaced with a utility box, as in the prototype of so many business cars.  There is also a kitchen door.

The first release of this car is almost ready to ship!  Releasing in February 2016, the Ferdinand Magellan is a car that everybody should want.  Do you know the story of this car, because there is a story to be told.

DSC_0424In 1942, during World War II, it was decided that President Roosevelt needed a more secure way to travel.  So the AAR, and the Secret Service, came up with a plan to convert an existing ‘Office Car’ that was commonly used for the president, into a Presidential Pullman.  They added steel plating to the sides, bullet proof glass, special escape hatches, and a rear platform door that is rumored to be from a bank vault.  All of these modifications, while providing a safe form of transportation, were not visible while viewing the car trackside.  The car was painted Pullman Green and intended to blend in with the other cars so as not to point out it’s special passenger on board.  Sometimes the name of the car was even removed to provide more security.  

DSC_0415The car was also used by Presidents Truman and Eisenhower all before the Boeing 707 came into use as Air Force One.  President Reagan was the last president to use the Ferdinand Magellan.  The car became a rolling White House, and during elections its use became known as a “Whistle Stop Campaign”. The obvious feature of the Magellan in the years after the war, is the loud speaker system above the rear platform, as well as the great seal of the President of the United States on the railing.  

While its use was planned for President Clinton, that trip was cancelled.  Today’s security for presidential rail travel is not realistic, as among other things, each grade crossing needs to be secure.  But, whether you are Republican or Democrat, it makes no difference.  I am sure there is no security issue on YOUR RAILROAD!

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Lowell Smith

A native of Portland, Oregon, Lowell Smith married his church choir sweetheart Barb in 1978. After a lifetime of rail-fanning, Lowell and Barb ventured out in 1992 to launch a new business in Portland, Oregon. Read more


  1. Rick on January 9, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Lowell, This is really exciting news! Got to have one.

    • mark brereton on December 12, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Need more!

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