The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Look at Two Models from the Newton & Northern

The American OO layout of Newton Guerin was featured in an article on the North Jersey Midland Model Railroad Association in the February, 1947 issue of Model Craftsman. The article itself focuses on operations and the club (the most active OO club in an area that was the hotbed of Amerian OO activity), but with the article are 11 photos of the layout along with helpful captions. I have quoted from the article in two previous posts, here focusing on the clubs of the time and here focusing on this club more specifically.

But then we get to the layout itself and the host, Newton Guerin. His road was the Newton and Northern, a good choice of a name, and recently I have been able to acquire a couple models from his road.

The more impressive model is the 2-6-0. His layout featured 24” minimum radius curves so he kept his locomotives small. The largest was a consolidation and then you can tell he has modified several S-C 4-6-0 models various ways. There is one for example that has been cut down to a 2-4-0, and three Moguls are mentioned specifically in the article text, numbers 23, 24, and 29.

While none of these models appear to be in the article, here is number 23 today. Shortening the model was a bit of a job! The front truck is a modified Nason part (and there are Nason trucks on the tender, for better electrical pickup), but the big change is the frame and boiler and weight. They have all been cut down, cutting a section of the boiler out behind the smokebox. The visual effect I think is really rather nice, as the smaller locomotive is a better match for the tender that has always looked a bit small to me with the standard locomotive.

By the time #23 came to me I suspect Newt had done a few updates over the years. As built I believe it had a manual reverse lever (the hole in the back of the coal area of the tender is difficult to see in the photo), but he had updated it with a modern rectifier in I bet the 1970s, perhaps at the same time updating the trucks as they look relatively freshly painted.

As it came to me one wire was off the motor, but with fixing that and some oil the model came to life and runs very nicely on DC with the big S-C universal motor. Newt knew what he was doing.

There are a number of nice details that one can see, I particularly like the ash pan details under the cab.

One thing mentioned in a photo caption is that every N&N engine has a Lionel smokebox door. That door was actually missing from this model when it came to me, but, fortunately, I had one in my parts box that with some paint is a good match for the engine. It is a nice “family” detail he wanted on his engines, helping unify the layout.

A baggage car is the other N&N model in my collection now, and one exciting thing is it is likely in the photo at the upper right corner of page 28 in the 1947 article. The car number is hard to read in the photo, but it appears to be the same, although it has a different roof now and likely he added a few other details later, including the Famoco generator and diaphragms.

I think the most notable thing is on the model you can tell the decals you see are actually the second set of decals, he originally lettered it for his road but differently, then painted over them and decaled it again! The original lettering is centered between the doors. There is also hand painted lettering on the bottom that says “BLT 1-28” but the “2” is sloppily drawn and is likely actually a 3, with the model dating to 1938. The article indicates that Newt had a working OO layout by 1938, so this would be among his first models.

There must be other of his models around, Newt was in fact still active in OO well into the 1980s and he may be seen in the second of the articles I linked at the beginning of this article. I don’t expect I will be running these models much, but they are nice examples from an era that has passed.