The "North Woods" ....

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ALL right, so Alan and others don't like my cutting up old cars to make more "little" passenger cars. I saw that in a Walther's catalog, and thought it looked cute. Some day I was going to build a set of those cars - but not out of Oscars and Pikers. Thus the set of cars I made.

Thinking, this project could continue. Looking in my passenger car books I found this item -

2nd class car.jpg

This is a couple of the small cars built into one unit. However, you cannot find kits like this so either you kit bash or start getting creative. I have several more Walther's kits in house - so - time to get creative and build a car out of what I have.

Stay tuned, this could get interesting!

The Aerojet
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Active Member
Planning a car can be fun, or it can be a major pain in the ---- You really do not have much to go on except the basic idea and then you get to figure it out from there. I guess that is part of the fun of craftsman kits - the actual making it work part in the space you have available.

What to put where, what colors to paint stuff, how to get the final arrangement of the interior parts. I really doesn't matter to the outside world what you do, but it is important to me. So we work away at the project. This is a trial arrangement of the car plan above. It covers most of the thing but in an 80 foot car.

Where the previous projects come in is seen below - this makes up 4 little cars as it was in one body. You will see as this progresses how that will work out.

So now if you wish to run a "combine" at the end of the freight - here is a real working combine with a bit of everything inside. Coach seats, a Pullman section, a small snack bar, and a freight section at the front.

Like? You can build this out of any combine car. Plastic or wood / metal - all you need to do is insert some kind of interior like this in the car and you have one like it. This kit is being made out of total Walther's old interior parts. I have tons of them as you see here. Palace Car has nice interiors which are more modern and look perhaps better - but that is my choice - to use old parts for an old time craftsman kit look.

Just a f/y/i - the car being used is a more modern wide window unit, not the older smaller window unit. You will see later on.


The Aerojet

AND if you are asking why "North Woods"? Looking at a railroad atlas there is tons of tracks, today being serviced by the CN which cover a good part of the Wisconsin north woods. How about running a passenger service up there? If you are going to freelance, why not? Model railroading is just for fun isn't it anyway?

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Active Member
So this is the next phase of construction. After the layout and a lot of measuring and setting up the parts, it is assembled.

I see we have a passenger already in the hopper!. This is the car in the first drawing with a few additions.

As far as the "eating end"? This came from an Amtrak Cafe car idea

Yes you can buy vending machines on line. Look for them.

Just an overall look before I assemble the final car --


And here you can see the whole thing. Like I said above, it is 4 little cars built into one big one.

Final assembly and wiring over the weekend. I may or may not post that out.

The Aerojet


Very cool! Neat way to pack the necessities into a branchline combine. Always wanted to do something like this with an RDC or two.

Not that it matters on YOUR layout mind you, but The Milwaukee Road already had their North Woods Hiawatha Service serving Northern WI from its connection with the main Hiawatha fleet at New Lisbon, and which on summer weekends for many years and until its end in 1970, was a separate Chicago to Minocqua/Wausau train.


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Well I'll be ..... It just shows what I have been saying for ages about rail -- things are needed. Thanks Dave for the tip off. At 70 I never knew about the North Woods Hiawatha service. Just too concentrated around the SE corner of Wisconsin.

MY idea came from sitting in the can and looking at my railroad atlas and all the lines up north - now run by the CN, and was wondering what if?? Passenger service could be revived in that area? WHAT kind of equipment would be needed? Who would run it? Many of the old Milwaukee Road and C & NW lines have been reactivated especially by the WSOR, now WAMX and they are making tons of cash off them. So I guess I am just reviving an old idea which I knew nothing of except I could see an opportunity to serve the public with local trains thru the north woods.

I really wonder if this would work out today? Say a Chicago to Wausau? Or beyond? Say to Rhineland? How about to the UP someplace? Perhaps a service from Milwaukee to the Twin Ports of Superior / Duluth? With a connection to the Twin Cities? Get me going on ideas and my cup runs over with places to run a train and perhaps make tons of cash.

The Aerojet
Anything could be justified in the summertime. With all of the inactive, cast-off or abandoned lines in that area, a dream routing could be devised to serve the busiest tourist areas.

Amtrak for a few years in the late 70's ran the North Star, a short train which ran CHI-DUL before being cut back to a St. Paul to Duluth local and eventually dropped. I remember seeing it in 1979 on the Watertown-Madison branch near my house in the mornings before school while being re-routed due to flooding of the Reeseville Marsh on the Milwaukee Road. I can still smell the bacon frying in the diner as it passed, but I
The Northwestern ran their Flambeau 400s using bi-levels that looked for all the world like their Chicago commuter cars but were outfitted differently with longer distance amenities. They even had a bi-level diner! These cars eventually made their way to Amtrak and spent their last years in Chicago Hub service.
I don't remember exact details, but one could purchase tickets and ride in the caboose on a modern mixed train on the SOO around Rhinelander into the 80's.
I've tried to justify a train running CHI-MSP via Green Bay and Eau Claire. Just have to build that section of never built trackage between Abbotsford and Wausau to avoid backtracking, or serve Green Bay/The UP via connecting train or cars at Appleton. The train would be able to run Milwaukee to Green Bay either via Sheboygan or Oshkosh. From Green Bay, west to Stevens Point, North to Wausau, west on that never built track to Abbotsford, then west to Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and on to the Twin Cities. RDC's or DMU's could connect with this train and head further into the woods. It would connect quite a few University of Wisconsin campuses with the network as well. As I enjoy modeling the Amtrak Mail and Express era, and this routing serving many Postal Sectional Centers, including some of this traffic could help the bottom line.

Lots of possibilities.....


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Staff member
As far as prototype examples go, the owner of MRL in Montana and SRY in British Columbia (now retired) was investigating reviving a passenger service on Vancouver Island IIRC. Whether it came to anything I didn't hear. There are loads of model "what if's" railroads in existence. Chet's is one such.


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Dave - Since my Royal Point and Western is headquartered out of Stevens Point, this could really be A BIG OPPORTUNITY. Alas, it is just a freelance model pike, and my budget is rather limited. But, if it was real this could be something to consider.

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