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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Transportation Models OO, part 2: Passenger Cars?

As noted in part I, this line was introduced in late 1945. Based on the prewar/wartime products of Graceline, their kit boxes listed an extensive line of passenger car kits. These would have had the same construction details as their freight cars, being made of wood and "comprestic" (card) with cast details, and were to be supplied with one of four types of trucks (sprung four and six wheel plain and roller bearing trucks). I have never seen any of those trucks, but Allied full cushion trucks were produced -- however, it is uncertain if Transportation Models actually reissued the Graceline troop sleeper which would actually have used this truck, or if the trucks I have are actually just wartime Graceline production.

The full list of passenger cars is below. A lot of variety—maybe too much! After several years of looking I am highly skeptical that they were produced at all. The only Transportation Models kits I have ever seen as complete kits are their freight cars, which at a minimum were clearly produced in much greater quantity. In the photo below are two different, truck-less models in my collection that I believe would show what a couple of the more exotic Transportation Models cars would have looked like, but I believe are not. The wood baggage car was made with sides that Graceline sold in the "comprestic kit" format, so it does match what the Transportation Models car would have looked like, and the other is I believe a scratchbuilt steel RPO. Heavyweight RPOs are fairly uncommon in OO; they were produced by Graceline and Nason, and possibly also by Exacta.

201 12 sec Pullman, 12 wheel
202 Pullman Solarium, 12 wheel
203 Dining car, 12 wheel
204 Standard coach, 12 wheel
205 Combination coach, 12 wheel
206 Dining car, wood, 12 wheel
207 Standard coach, wood, 12 wheel
208 Combination coach, wood, 12 wheel
209 12 sec Pullman, 8 wheel
210 Pullman Solarium, 8 wheel
211 Dining car, 8 wheel
212 Dining car, wood, 8 wheel
213 Standard coach, 8 wheel
214 Standard coach, wood, 8 wheel
215 Combination coach, 8 wheel
216 Combination coach, wood, 8 wheel
217 Express or Baggage, 12 wheel
218 Express or Baggage, wood, 12 wheel
219 Mail car, 12 wheel
220 Mail car, wood, 12 wheel
223 Express & mail comb. car, 12 wheel
224 Express & mail comb. car, wood, 12 wheel
229 Express or Baggage, 8 wheel
230 Express or Baggage, wood, 8 wheel
231 Mail car, 8 wheel
232 Mail car, wood, 8 wheel
235 Express & mail comb. car, 8 wheel
236 Express & mail comb. car, wood, 8 wheel
401 Standard coach, wood, open end, 8 wheel
402 Combination coach, wood, open end, 8 wheel
403 Mail car, wood, open end, 8 wheel
411 Express or Baggage, wood, open end, 8 wheel

Quite an impressive list! Also note that the cars in the photo are hand lettered! Pretty impressive work by or for a fan of the C&EI back in the 1940s.

As already noted, this line did not stay in production for long. There were as they noted in the ad reproduced here "connoisseurs" who were active, but the OO market of the time was in decline, with the changes of ownership at Scale-Craft and also Lionel discontinuing their prewar OO offerings not helping the situation. These were also not be easy kits to build and, in spite of their advertising, not of the best quality and were not post-war style kits. The wood parts are of inferior quality compared to those of Picard, Famoco, and Eastern, and the last advertisement I know of for Transportation Models ran in December of 1947.

Finally, to go back to a point made earlier in this article, while the extensive line of passenger cars was listed on their kit boxes, it does not necessarily follow that they were actually produced. I open the question up to readers, as I have yet to see an unbuilt kit for a passenger car or a clear listing of these in dealer advertisements of the period.

For more see:
Return to Part I

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