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August 2006 - Page 25

An REA expressman hooks together a train of green and red-trimmed Railway Express wagons to an electric tractor. These slat-sided wagons are similar to the one in the prototype photos at the Toy Train Museum in Pennsylvania. In some large terminals the tractor-hauled trains could run up to ten or more wagons long.

Kibris model of a self-propelled battery-powered platform transport of the type seen at large terminals. While this is a nice model it is a bit heavier than the prototype photos shown.

Self-Propelled Transporter & Baggage Tractor Models
The only self-propelled transporter model I am aware of is made by Peco Modelscene ( Merit) in England ( It is OO scale and is their item #5063 Electric Trolley & Trailer. Model tractors are hard to find since Kibri dropped t heir nice three-wheeled baggage tractor f rom their line several years ago. Fortu nately, Funaro & Camerlengo (http://www. makes a baggage tractor of a similar three-wheeled design in HO as an easy-to-build resin kit (the steering wheel is one part and the rest of the body and wheels make up the second part.) It is their item #600 Baggage Horse. JL Innovative Design ( has their set #452 that includes a nice cast-metal riding lawnmower tractor, and a rotary power lawn mower. The rotary mower is a nice accessory for residential areas on your layout, and the cast mower cutting fairing of the riding mower-tractor can be left off when assembling the model to convert it into a small platform tractor. A sheet of plastic or brass for the shield can be mounted onto the front to resemble the baggage tractors shown in the photos. In O scale, an aircraft towing tractor was once provided in some older Lindbergh 1:48 s cale plastic jet fighter plane kits. Since these are sometimes found on eBay for only a few dollars, it may be worthwhile to buy the kit for the tractor and give the plane kit to an enthusiast. I hope the photos will help you to find other kits that can be used for making baggage tractors.

Typical Paint and Decoration
The wooden wagons were identified with code numbers either painted on or engraved o n metal plates. On REA-owned wagons t hey often had a small enamel diamond p late with their emblem mounted to the front crossbar on the end stakes. While the sides of the platform of the wagon was too

small to paint the Railway Express Agency (or railroad) name, a wooden fascia (decorative strip) would sometimes be hung below the platform or mounted along the sides of the frame of the wagon with the name on it. Railway Express Agency baggage wagons and tractors were dark leaf green, and o ften used red for the wheels and some times the underbody metalwork too. Surprisingly it appears that either the REA painting standards changed frequently or were not enforced, for photos show a surprising variation in decoration of both tractors and the wagons. On wagons with more elaborate superstructures, the solid green carried over the whole upper part, sometimes adorned with a red diamond herald on the front and back, or sometimes on the two sides instead. Some of these wagons had long enamel signs on the sides with RAILWAY EXPRESS AGENCY in imitation gold with dark and light red shadow shading on a leaf green background. The signs I have seen were in three parts, each about 22" long. In some cases, a fascia panel was mounted below the side and recessed slightly and the sign was mounted to that. I have to guess that less than half of the REA wagons actually had the owners corporate name on them, either on a long sign or a herald as most photos seem to show them without signs. Railroads usually painted their wagons in their passenger train colors. Some platform w agons I saw in use recently were used by VIA. Their colors are blue and yellow, and while the wagons were painted in blue, the battery-powered tractors were yellow. Pennsylvania Railroad had their own fleet of wagons painted Tuscan Red, and most roads used either REAs Leaf Green color (nicely simulated by Tamiyas Japan Navy Green), Pullman Green or a similar industrial green. Now that more modelers are simulating REA operations and facilities on their model railroads, these baggage wagons and tractors should help add some additional detail to the overall scene, as would even a single REA

Peco Modelscene (Merit) #5063 Electric Trolley & Trailer. Courtesy of Peco

F unaro & Camerlengos #600 Bag gage Horse. Courtesy of F&C

JL Innovative Designs #452 riding mower and rotary power lawn mower. Courtesy of JL Innovative Design Typical Baggage Wagon Dimensions: Width: 40" Length: 120" Height: 79" (or 89" when equipped with roof) wagon on your passenger station platform. They should go a long way toward livening up the action on your passenger station platforms and creating a lot of interest on your model railroad layout.



Added November 17, 2010 - Share