CNR 52247 and CNR 52274

The daily freight extra out of Hamilton included a special move in the consist – a pair of test cars to calibrate a track scale. Here, they’re crossing Chartolleville Street in St. Williams:

Apparently, the crew thought it would be easier to lift them en route to Port Rowan, so they’re along for the ride.

The scale test cars have no air brakes – just hand brakes – which means they have to be hauled in front of the van and the train can’t exceed 20 mph – but it never does, anyway…


These two scale test cars are certainly conversation pieces:

These are brass imports from Southwind Models, which I painted, lettered and finished as CNR prototypes. The decals are a mix: The road name came from HO scale van (caboose) sets from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing, while the balance of the lettering is from HO scale CNR scale test car sets from Andy W Scale Models.

Scale test cars are kept relatively clean since dirt can change their weight, so I was very careful with the weathering. They also typically are used in pairs, so I was fortunate to find two models.

Despite being so small and having a two-axle stance, these cars are heavy, being almost solid brass, and the springing is well done in the journals so they track very well. They’ve become my go-to cars for testing track work, appropriately enough.


When worked on these models, most of my tools and materials were packed away while my wife and I had our house renovated. Lettering these cars was a terrific little “kitchen table” project to keep my hand in the hobby when bigger projects could not be tackled.

Published by Trevor

Lifelong model railway enthusiast and amateur shepherd, training a border collie to work sheep. Professional writer and editor, with some podcasting and Internet TV presenting work thrown in for good measure.

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