Tom's Model Trains


Since I've closed the shop, I no longer take custom work on a commission basis. I now only build models of prototypes in which I'm personally interested. I work for the enjoyment and challenge of the build. Most times I'll do multiple pieces, keep one for myself and put the remainder up for sale or auction on eBay. Virtually all the models shown in the sections below have been sold. If you would be interested in purchasing one of my pieces, it is best to look in on my eBay store about once a week as the model will be offered through that venue.



This model of the tug boat 'Communipaw' was built using a HO scale Walthers kit from their waterfront series and is representative of the Jersey Central tugs that I remember. Not too much was done to modify the basic model. A ladder was added from the main to the upper deck, railings were constructed around the stairs leading from the upper to the main deck, glass beads were used to model the running lights, a searchlight was added to the roof of the pilot house and the pilot house was given a complete interior. Household twine was used to simulate the rope prow bumper and tire attachments. Additional details include the Preiser figures and a scratch built name board. The model is now part of private collection.










 I am not the kind of modeler that feels the necessity to keep strictly to the type of cars and engines used by a particular railroad and I enjoy experimenting with styles and colors. This has led over the years to a collection of models representing  equipment that my favorite railroad never had. I find it to be creative and challenging to imagine how this rolling stock may have looked. A collection of these "what if" models follow.

 The Jersey Central never had any long distance streamlined passenger car but if they did....I thought it might look like this.

1. The streamline coach below is going to be part of a complete train which is supposed to represent the modern day version of the CNJ's "Bullet". The original train traveled from Wilkes-Barre PA to Jersey City NJ


  2. This express refrigerator never existed except in model form. This piece will also some day be part of a complete train.


 3. The photos included below are one of my latest efforts. Having already established a color scheme for a streamlined version of the CNJ's "Bullet", I took on the railroad's better known "Blue Comet" The car is by no means complete, in fact the lettering isn't, as of yet, actually on the model. I scanned the painted model and then added the lettering with the help of Photoshop.. I'm going to have Microscale print up the decals for me so I wanted to be certain that I was satisfied with the graphics before I incurred the expense. This rendition was done on a Model Power Pullman with Tru-Color paint and Microscale decal striping. As with the original equipment, this car is also named after a comet.

 here is the corridor side....

   and the room side...

 and the floor plan....




1. What is now a yard office was once a caboose on my first layout back in the 1960s.



  2. This Design Preservation Models kit was modified with the addition of an evaporation tower, a mechanical equipment housing, bricked over windows and an awning. The structure serves as a refrigerated food warehouse.




3. This old baggage mail car once ran on my original Ogden Mine Railway. It is almost entirely scratch built from balsa wood and strathmore illustration board. After its trucks were used for another project, the piece sat in a box for years until I added some cribbing for support, a loading dock and goose neck lamps. Unfortunately, the structure fell victim to a shoplifter. 


 4. This station was kitbashed from two Bachman Rural Station kits. The leftover pieces will be used to construct a matching freight station.


 5. This shelter was scratch built using styrene sheet and strips. I painted the undecorated Prieser figures.






1. The doodlebug below, made by Bachman, was shortened by five windows so that it could negotiate the sharp curves on the Ogden Mine Railway.



 2. Altering the windows, painting, lettering, handrails and weathering was all thiat was dome to this Roundhouse box cab.The unit was finished in the CNJ's green color as it had been, at one point,  for a special occasion.



 3. This little industrial box cab is, on my part,  a product of whimsy. It was kit bashed from a pair of Athearn cabooses and regeared Athearn Hustler mechanism. Some scrap box parts completed the model.


  4. This Mantua cammelback was modified to make it more CNJish.

  5. I didn't need to do anything more to this Bachman, Spectrum USRA 0-6-0 other than the painting, weathering and lettering.



 6. An A/B set of F3s from Life-Like's Proto 1000 series is custom painted in the CNJ's tangerine and blue scheme.


 7. Former CNJ pre NJ Transit, NJ Department of Transportation.



 1. This tiny, maintenance of way gondola,  was made from some old Red Ball parts. Sections were cut from the sides to shorten the car.



   2. An interior for this car was a natural and is being enjoyed by the rail yard cat.


  3. Only minor modifications needed to be made to this Tichey crane kit to bring it closer to one used by the CNJ.


 4. This tool car was made by adding some windows to an Accurailbox car kit.




  5. A Bethlehem Car Works coach kit had its window arrangement modified to produce a crew car for the service train.





 6. A Model Die Casting (Roundhouse) shortie baggage car was used as the starting point for this freelanced supply car. The easily removable roof made this a natural for an interior.



 7. This piece was constructed from an Eastern Car Works NE Caboose kit. The Preiser figure strikes a pose that is now, unfortunately, only seen in model form.




  1. Only paint and decals were needed to turn this Kadee product into a CNJ express box car.



 2. Also equipped for passenger service is this express refrigerator car built from a Model Die Casting kit.



 3. This Harriman style RPO is ready for service on Tom's version of the CNJ's Interstate Express.


4. This P&R RPO car is a free lanced kit-bash from a Model Die Casting kit.  The original kit was for an open platform style car.


5. Other than paint and lettering, little was done to change this Model Die Casting express refrigerator car.



 1. A Bethlehem Car  Works kit was modified to produce this model of the CNJ's commuter club car 'Monmouth'. The lighting is battery powered. A happy Preiser figure rides the open platform.




 2. Nothing was done to change the exterior of this Bethlehem Car Works kit...

  .....but a typical CNJ interior was added along with representative ridership.


 3. These next two cars represent equipment used on one of the railroad's 'push-pull' trains. Both cars are from Athearn products. The cab car was heavily modified. The standard coach received a new underbody. 



4. A photograph of the interior of an old Philadelphia and Reading parlor car inspired the building of this model from an undecorated Roundhouse (Model Die Casting) kit. I added the markers, valance, stained glass transoms, curtains, interior seating, decal lettering and scroll work.

  This was followed by a matching diner.....

 .....and a coach.



  5. The 4 photos below show a free lanced model of a CNJ Office Car The starting point was an Athearn standard observation. The window arrangement was altered and galley doors and windows were added to the other side. A simple interior was added using view blocks and roughly shaped seats. Most of the completely rebuilt underbody came from Precision Scale parts.








 6. These parlor-lounge cars were built from Bachman products and feature rough interiors and custom, professionally printed decals.













 7. 'Pohatcong Ridge' is a freelanced model of a CNJ cafe-lounge car similar to ones used by the railroad on some of its longer trains during the 1930s. The model was constructed from sections of sides removed from Athearn heavyweight passenger cars and then reassembled into a new configuration. Commercial and scratch built parts were used to finish the piece.

  These first two views are from the lounge end...first one side...


.....and then the other.


 Now from the cafe side.....

 ....and the other.



   ....and let's not forget the builder's photos.



8. Here is my purely whimsical version of a CNJ Modernized Coach. The railroad never had one but if they did it might have looked like the 'Elberon" pictured below.

 .....and a matching combine "Hazlet".



9. Here is another fantasy CNJ piece. It's a shorter version cafe-lounge. The "Wickatunk" has no actual prototype but is an assembly of some interesting elements typical of such cars. Here is the kitchen side.....



 ......and the lavatory side. A unique feature found here is the mid-car service door which is located opposite the galley.





1. This trolley parlor car was kit bashed from A Roundhouse passenger car and powered with a Bowser mechanism.



2. A tiny RPO trolley gets the mail to the layouts rural areas. This piece was kit bashed using Roundhouse and Bachman parts.




 O Scale

  1. The images below show O scale cars transformed from Williams by Bachman products. After the original lettering was removed, the pieces were re-painted and re-lettered. The decals are available through the eBay link on my home page. The traditional frosted glazing with silhouettes of passengers was discarded and replaced with clear glazing and shades. Lighting was relocated, from its original location on the floor, up into the roof and finally just enough interior was added to give the viewer of the model, something at which to look.













  2. The photos below illustrate the interiors for the O gauge cars above. Virtually all of the material came from a craft store. The wall decor was produced by photo shopping post card views gleaned from the internet.


Glue and paint....




Trial and error produced a pattern for the chair back and sides. This was printed on label material and applied to a piece of craft store foam sheet. The chair seat was made from the craft store cloths pin and some strip wood. The seat back was trimmed from the foam and glued to the seat. Painting a suitable color finishes the lounge chair.













3. Shown in the following group of photographs are some CNJ/NJDOT heavyweight cars painted in a scheme dating back to the early and middle 1970's. These cars were originally Williams by Bachman reproductions of the original Lionel 'Madison' style cars. The decals were custom made by Microscale and are available through the link on my home page.
Other than the paint and decals, no modifications were made to these coaches.
4. The cafe car below was heavily modified from the basic car body of the original coach configuration. Unfortunately, the Jersey Central's cafe cars didn't last into the 1970s. If they did, they might have looked like this fantasy rendition. 

  • The posts between the paired windows were removed and the windows reframed to simulate the larger windows found on cars of this type
  • On the galley end the access door was plated over to resemble that in the photo documentation of the prototype. A safety bar was installed and the original coach style steps were removed and replaced with a brass, scratch built, strap step. The galley windows were modified to simulate a double hung style.
  • The silhouetted windows in the dining section were made from old, HO scale paper silhouettes, once used in Tyco/Mantua passenger cars. The frosted lavatory windows were produced with a computer graphics program.




Both window treatments were ink-jet printed on 3M transparency film.

  • Galley and lavatory vents were added.

5. The next photos show an open end observation car #1178 which remained in use into the 1980s, beginning its service some 50 years earlier on the Jersey Central's famed 'Blue Comet'. Originally named De Vico, it ran between Jersey City and Atlantic City NJ and ended its life in commuter service between Newark and Phillipsburg NJ. The major renovations to this model included marker lights with MV Products lenses ans a scratch built, lighted tail sign.





6. While I was at it, I did some shortie streamline cars as well.


  7. Here's a before and after of a Williams by Bachman Baltimore and Ohio Pullman cars.

 This first photo shows the car as it appears out of the box.


 8. These "after" photos show how I modified the car to represent a sleeper/lounge.

 The fluted panel below the windows was re-painted silver while the lower of the three stripes was painted blue. This color scheme is similar to the one the B&O used on it's Capitol Limited.

 The designation "Coach" at each end of the letter board was decaled over to read "Pullman"

 The original window material was removed and replaced with clear glazing. Prior to installation, the clear plastic was masked and the window shades painted.

  photo BampONepepinemiSleeperEndExterior_zps9230212a.jpg


 8. Now that the original frosted window material was replaced an interior was needed to provide some contents to the empty car.


 9. The original lighting which had been on the floor was moved up into the car's roof and the number of bulbs increased from three to five.

 The overall effect is much improved.





 That's all for now but I'll put up additional photos soon