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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tri-Ang streamliners

In the post on the Fleischmann FA’s I noted also that a colleague who collects HO felt that the Tri-Ang streamlined passenger cars were a good match for the FA and were over scale for HO.

The Tri-Ang American prototype streamlined cars were part of their transcontinental series of cars, and were also sold in the United States boxed as AT&T and Model Power products. In the photos I have included two other cars for comparison, a Schorr RDC that is full scale for OO and an Athearn HO streamlined baggage that is on the money for HO. In the first photo the comparison is pretty clear, from the side the Tri-Ang car is between HO and OO. In the second photo (008) it is clear as well that the Tri-Ang car matches the FA well. In length the cars are short, being roughly 72 foot in HO so they would be roughly 60’ “shorties” in OO, but on something like tight Lionel curves that would actually be a plus. I will let Bob O. describe them further.

Tri-Ang did two series of passenger cars, 1st and 2nd. The "Transcontinental" name comes from the fact that the second series were sold in differently colored sets with only the word "Transcontinental" in the letterboard.

Series 1 was the baggage, coach, dome coach, diner (actually a coach with a different interior), and round-end obs with the viewing bubble at the tail. These cars generally resemble Pullman-Standard cars, except for the tail car, which is taken from the one-of-a-kind tail car of Milwaukee Road's Olympian Hiawatha. They were sold in silver/gray, silver with a red window stripe, solid blue, & blue with a gray roof. The ones I've seen have "Tri-Ang Railways" in the letterboard, but some made for the Australian market had "TransAustralia" or "Southern Aurora" in the letterboard. I don't think these cars ever had the word "Transcontinental" on them, but for some reason people seem to call both sets "Transcontinental" cars. Go figure.

Series 2 was the baggage/dorm, coach, diner (coach with a different interior), and dome observation (i.e., with the viewing bubble in the roof, not the tail, and a boat-tail rounded end). These cars were all modeled after Budd cars of the Canadian Pacific. They even have a raised shield-shaped molding next to the door, to hold the beaver herald that CP mounted on the cars.

These cars were sold in many liveries. One group is lettered only "Transcontinental." These were sold in silver with a red window stripe, silver with a red letterboard, blue with a gray roof, and two-tone green. All these sets have only "Transcontinental" in the letterboard.

The same models were sold in the 1950s Canadian Pacific livery (silver with a tuscan letterboard and yellow lettering), the 1970s CP Rail livery (silver, red letterboard with the "PacMan" CP herald), the CN "new image" livery (silver, black window stripe with the "wet noodle" CN), and at least 3 sets of "TransAustralia" livery.

The second-series cars were imported into the US by American Train & Track, and when AT&T went out of business, Model Power acquired the remaining stock and reboxed them. You can find them in either box. The American versions had X2f couplers, instead of the British-style wide loops, and came in Santa Fe (silver), Burlington (silver), Pennsylvania (silver with tuscan letterboard and yellow lettering), and B&O (silver with blue letterboard and yellow lettering).

Tri-Ang also produced an RDC-2 (the RDC that combined a baggage compartment and passenger compartment), in both powered and dummy versions. This car also came in versions lettered "Trancontinental" and "TransAustralia," but the more common versions are the ones for the North American market. These were the silver/black/red Canadian National and in the U.S. (AT&T again) the Santa Fe, Northern Pacific, Cheasapeake & Ohio, and Reading. The American RDC's are all silver; C&O has blue lettering, the others black. The CN car is silver, black windowband, red ends.

Any of these things in excellent or better condition, especially with the original packaging, will command a decent price among collectors.

For more information on Fleischmann Bob suggests and for Tri-Ang he suggests, where there are a number of photos of these models. Thank you again Bob for this great information.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dear Sir,

In Australia TriAng manufactured some items in Sydney, New South Wales and these vehicles could be marked as either TransAustralia ( which was a fictitious name derived from the Commonwealth Railways Trans Australia Railway / TAR, being a standard gauge railway which connected Port Augusta, South Australia to Kalgoolie, Western Australia ) or Transcontinental which was the name of the passenger train which ran on the TAR.

The most common TriAng trains in Australia were manufactured in England, including the Transcontinental series as displayed in their English catalogues which were supplied free in Australia.

The Transcontinental series I have seen here were either silver or blue with gold lining, the latter being the livery of the Victorian Railways

As an aside the TriAng BoBo double ended diesel was based on the Clyde Engineering /EMD model ML 2 CoCo diesel electric locomotive, twenty six of of which were built as B60 to B85 for the Victorian Railways.

Regards, Philip, Melbourne, Australia.