RS Tower, an HO scale slice of somewhere in the Mid-West. Images taken at the Andover Model Railway Exhibition on September 7th, 2008.

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SD40-2 No. BNSF 6311 pounds the diamond at RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West of the USA, bracketed by GE Dash 9-44CWs wearing the latest (BNSF 693) and earliest (BNSF 681) Burlington Northern Santa Fe paint schemes, with an double stack service made up of maritime boxes. The trio are on the last stretch of their journey to Chicago, having traversed almost two-thirds of the USA via BNSF’s ‘Transcon’ route from Los Angeles. In the background, Belt Railway of Chicago MP15DC No. BRC 536 hostles freight cars in the small yard. The water tower needs a smiley face!

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The Canadian Pacific MP15AC and Wisconsin & Southern double plug-door boxcars are a good clue to the location of this photograph. The former Soo Line switcher, No. CP 1415, now wearing a spotless CP’s ‘Beaver’ paint job, shuffles a selection of thankfully untagged or graffitied freight vehicles at the bakery complex at RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West.

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A pair of spotless(!) Canadian Pacific MP15ACs, Nos. CP 1415 and SOO 1558, lug a short rake of grain hoppers forming a transfer freight, past the small yard at RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West of the USA. The lead unit is wearing the small version of the CP ‘beaver’ logo, which seems to have now fallen out of favour on switchers and ‘Geeps’ allocated to yard or local service.

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Canadian Pacific SD40M-2 No. CP 5494 and GP40 No. SOO 2010 lead a drag freight composed mainly of grain cars on the approach to RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West of the USA. Both of the locomotives have interesting histories, the lead unit being a 16-cylinder rebuild of a former SD45, while the ‘bandit’ GP40 still wears its orange and black Milwaukee Road paint scheme, albeit heavily scuffed up.

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Another view of Canadian Pacific SD40M-2 No. CP 5494 and ex-Milwaukee Road GP40 No. SOO 2010 at RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West, as they hammer the diamond in front of the namesake interlocking structure with a westbound grain train heading towards the Twin Cities.

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Known as the ‘moving wall’, for obvious reasons, Canadian National Dash 8-40CW No. IC 2463 and ex-Illinois Central GP40R No. IC 3107 accelerate away from RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West, with a train of bi-level and tri-level autoracks. The lead locomotive, and ex-LMX leaser, has a touch of the identity crisis with the CN ‘wet noodle’ on the hood sides but with IC reporting marks on the cab.

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Former Soo Line SD60s Nos. SOO 6034 and SOO 6014 crawl over the street running section just before the diamond at RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West. Built for lugging coal contracts secured after the take-over of the Milwaukee Road, by CP days they were in use on more mundane drag freights and unit grain trains such as this one.

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Metra F40PH METX 148 Village of Fox Lake powers around the curve at the east end of RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West, with a diverted UP West commuter service. This was the last route to use the ex-Chicago North Western bi-level cars.

Roster shots

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Probably second only to Union Pacific, the ‘Warbonnet’ silver/red colours of the Santa Fe are known the world over. While the scheme found fame on ATSF’s E and F-unit passenger units, the resurrection of the paint job on the railroad’s wide-cab ‘Superfleet’ in the 1980s was a masterstroke. GP60M ATSF 127 rolls light engine through RS Tower, somewhere in the Mid-West.

The model is the work of Chris Ibbotson and is a light detail project using an Athearn (ex-RPP) GP60M.

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Norfolk Southern Dash 9-40CW NS 9558 is recorded awaiting its passage through RS Interlocking, somewhere in the Mid-West. NS purchased over 1,000 of the type from General Electric, their dominance over the railroad’s order books only being smashed when GE dropped the locomotive in favour of the new GEVO-based designs.

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An overhead view of Norfolk Southern Dash 9-40CW NS 9558, as it sits in the siding at the mill, just west of RS interlocking on Canadian Pacific (ex-Soo/Milwaukee Road) trackage, somewhere in the mid-west of the USA. Despite none of these locomotives being added to the roster in nearly five years, the Dash 9 is still the archetypical Norfolk Southern loco.

The model is the work of Chris Ibbotson and is an extensive rebuild of an Athearn Dash 9.