Amazing limited production model trains.

RailSmith Development

Learning more about trains…

I love all the feedback and responses I have had about RailSmith Models and what direction to go!  I read each one and have filed them for review.

Being from the great Northwest, my passion has always been for the Hill Lines, and specifically the Spokane, Portland, & Seattle, and many of you know that.  I certainly do not know everything there is to know about the NP, GN, and SP&S, but I know enough to be dangerous.  We moved from Portland to California when I was young, and I spent about thirteen years growing up around the Western Pacific and Southern Pacific.  So those five lines are my railroad background.

With the launch of RailSmith, my railroad library has been increasing at an alarming rate.  Many of you have been very helpful, as well, as I learn more about passenger service in the rest of the country.  Thank you for that!

When I mention a classic passenger train like the North Coast Limited or the Empire Builder, you’ll see in your mind’s eye a rather pure consist of color, be it orange and green, green and green, or blue and white.  The SP&S in the late 50’s to the end (in 1970) ran its main crack train like this: sleepers and coach cars for the NP North Coast Ltd, and for the Empire Builder, and then its own (SP&S) cars for headend, diner, and short-distance coaches.

That gives you a pretty colorful and eclectic-looking consist.  The Southern Pacific’s San Francisco Overland is also wonderfully eclectic.  What has caught me off-guard are the trains in the east that went to Florida.  As I go through these books of consists and the story of name trains like: The South Wind, Florida Special, The Champion, Silver Meteor and City of Miami to name a few, I see consists of cars from many different lines that make up these trains.  I should not be surprised, but I am.

As I review the cars for the north-south ‘Florida’ trains, it seems that all of these name trains carried cars from the multiple lines that ran them.  There are Pennsy, Illinois Central along with ACL, Seaboard, RF&P, CoG and Florida East Coast.  If you model these lines, you already know this. Several of the trains named here like the South Wind and the Silver Meteor were launched with a full Budd consist. But only a year or two later, Pullman built cars like the RailSmith models were added to these trains.  As I delve into these consists, it is fun learning what happened in ‘railroading’ beyond my borders of the Northwest.  I sure hope I can do your railroad justice. 

To those of you that are new to what I do, I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  I just announced the special run in the Pullman Park Series for the Atlantic Coast Line, two heavyweight sleepers in the Royal Purple scheme.  It will take no explanation that these cars can easily be run in a consist with the Florida Special train.  Being made in the USA, the heavyweight Micro-Trains cars are just a little more money, but given the opportunity to be added into your consist, these cars will help to create more options of trains you can run!

This is the kind of stuff that drives me!

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 Comment

  1. Charles Stringfellow Jr on January 29, 2019 at 7:17 am

    Lowell,
    THANK YOU !
    I have always felt the roads of the southeast (exception Southern) have been neglected. My father worked for the ACL-SCL-Family Lines-Seaboard System, and retired on the eve of CSX.
    You can count on me to order probably everything. The Florida trains NYC to Miami and Tampa were fascinating. Add to that the trains from Chicago to the sunshine state, and you pick up IC and L&N, and others and you can have some very colorful trains. ACL and SAL were not as particular as the Hill roads with running matching consists. In season, the Florida trains could easily be 20 plus cars pulled by GG-1’s or a lashup of E units.( sometimes not matched as there were run through agreements.between the roads).
    If you have not done so, there is an ACL/SAL Historical Society that has a wealth of information on these roads.Look them up!

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