Amazing limited production model trains.

Consist Chart Choices

I have found it useful to have a visual aid when it comes to passenger train consists, so when it came time to build a chart for some of the trains I plan to build in RailSmith, I found it fun and challenging. As seasons and years pass, changes would come to how a railroad would build their trains.  

Is the Cafe’ car next to the diner or is it separated by a lounge, a coach, or other car type?  

When and why were certain cars dropped or added?  

One thing that is for sure, cars were added when the need was there. Holiday seasons brought not only more passengers but also more mail. So we cannot forget to have a strong roster of head end mail and mail storage cars. (I expect to bring those to the line up in the next 16 months).

Great resources to understand how, why, and what cars a railroad ran, are the many great books by producers like Morning Sun, TLC and Four Ways West. The latter seems to be my favorite. Choose your railroad, get their books, and you will learn much about how a consist chart changed over the years, and often by season.

Speaking of consist charts, I selected the 1951 version of the GN Empire Builder because we can make those cars (see the image below), or really close to those cars and get milage for other lines. The 1947 (first streamlined version) ‘Builder’ has a particular sleeper that I am not going to produce as it was only used primarily on the ‘47 train, being discontinued on the next version of the ‘Builder’. Logically, the investment for new car bodies needs to have some acceptable use by other trains.

“Sleeper Santiam Pass awaits its guests” – Photo by JW Swanberg

I know that there are folks out there that will not be satisfied unless it it 100% accurate, so in any road where it is not, we are sorry.  But as we said when we started, they will be accurately decorated, and very close, if not one hundred percent prototype.

Did you notice the North Coast Limited consist chart I posted on that RailSmith page?  The 1951 NCL consist chart (see it here) was in the early “Pine Tree’ scheme which includes several heavy-weight cars.  (I have another survey coming soon so you can share your thoughts). Watch for the 1954 NCL chart coming soon!

Consist charts can change, but they give a great starting point as you build your train. Several new charts have been posted or updated on this site, so check those out as well. As an exampleCOSF Consist

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

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