Are You Addicted To Model Railroading?

model railsThis interview with Sam D. Teague is all about model railroads. Are you already hooked on building a model railroad? If you are… you will already know why it is one of the most popular hobbies with railroad enthusiasts. If you’re not… you may want to start after reading this interview!



How did you start with model railroads?

I received a Lionel train set for Christmas when I was about 8 or 9 years old. From that point on, I was hooked, and as I had opportunity, I acquired more equipment and even started building layouts by age 12. My interest in trains continued to grow and expand. Eventually, I converted over from O scale to HO. I have continued to enjoy the hobby into my adult years, and my son and I are both model railroaders even today.

How do you create scenery?

The creation of scenery depends somewhat on the type of scenery you are trying to create. Some model railroads have mountains while other have plains or desert scenes. On my current model railroad, the scenery depicts the high plains of the Texas Panhandle.

After the track has been installed and all electricals are in place and functioning properly, the scenery can be installed. I generally start by painting the top of the bench work with a mixture of brown and green paint. This provides a base coat of earth tone color in case the scenery is a little bit thin, and it also keeps the wood grain from showing. After the base coat of paint, ground cover can be added. This includes a light application of grass or turf material to give the ground a vegetative base. Once this is applied, additional items such as trees, bushes, weeds, etc. can be added to the turf base. Once you are satisfied with the look of the vegetation, the track ballast can be installed. All of these scenery items are available in a multitude of colors to suit the style of scenery you are trying to create.

How much room do you really need?

The size of model railroads varies greatly. If you have a large house or dedicated structure, they can be very large. Most people, however, don’t have unlimited room for the layout. You have to decide how much room you have to work with in your particular situation and figure out a way to get the most out of the available space. In my case, I have a 12’ x 12’ room. Not very large, but enough to have a very nice switching layout.

What does a railroader have to keep in mind before they start building their model railroad?

You must realize that you are not going to be able to do everything you want. Even if you are wealthy and have unlimited funds for your layout, you still need to be reasonable and only build as much layout as you are able to manage. The best advice I can think of right now is don’t build too much track. Keep the track design simple. Too much track looks unrealistic and starts to look like a bowl of spaghetti instead of a railroad.

I want to build a layout. Where do I start?

I recommend that you not build anything until you have drawn out a plan of what you want. It’s better to make all of your mistakes in design on paper instead of plywood and track. There are many excellent computer software programs that will help you design and then print out a plan for your layout.

Where’s the best place to buy trains?

The best place to buy your trains depends on how much equipment you need. Local hobby shops are very handy for small layouts, but if you are building a large layout, you will probably need to go with a discount supplier. Even so, many times you just have to buy from whoever has the items you are looking for in stock.

How do you build mountains and scenery?

Mountains are pretty much built just like other scenery except that you use foam or plaster to build up the mountain to the height you desire, then cover with a base coat of paint and ground turf, etc. just like I mentioned above. The mountain will need trees and vegetation that is appropriate for the type of mountain being built.

Where do you get buildings? And cars?

Local hobby shops and railroad supplies are the best source for these items.

What scale should I build in?

The most popular scale in HO, therefore a much wider variety of supplies and equipment is available for this scale. HO is also a comfortable scale for most people to handle. If you go smaller, such as N-scale, it can be difficult to hold and see the small parts needed to build your layout. Pick a scale that is easy for you to see and manipulate.

What was the hardest part of your layout to build?

The hardest part of the layout to build is different with each individual because of their skill level. If you don’t have carpentry skills, for instance, the bench work will be the most difficult for you.



Sam D. Teague In The Latest Issue of Live Steam Magazine

May / June 2016

Live Steam March April 2016



Vertical Hot Air Engine

The Statfold Barn Railway

AT&SF 5000 versus UP 4014

Saving Skookum – Her Story and a Commentary on Her Life, Times and the Technology of Then and Now

Building the New “Tom Thumb” – Part 19
Main Bearing Supports


Rio Grande K-27 – Part 15C



Animated Steam – “Quickie” is Modernized

From the Editor’s Desk by NEIL KNOPF

Mail Stop


Scheduled Meets

LS&ORR Market

Advertisers’ Index


LIVE STEAM & OUTDOOR RAILROADING is published bimonthly by Village Press, Inc., 2779 Aero Park Drive, Traverse City MI 49686, Tel: (231) 946-3712, Fax: (231) 946-9588. Periodical postage paid at Traverse City, MI 49686.

COPYRIGHT: The contents of this publication are copyright ©2014 by Village Press, Inc. and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent of the copyright owner. Drawings may be copied for use in personal construction projects, but may not be distributed to others.

Printed in U.S.A. by Village Press.


Santa Fe Locomotive Development: A Pictorial History in Chronological Order Steam to Diesel 1869 – 1957 Paperback Now Available!

This book encompasses in brief the story of Madame Queen and embraces steam locomotive development on the Santa Fe from 1869 to the officially announced end of steam operations in 1953. The actual end date of steam operation was August 1957.

Presented for the first time in chronological order in one publication, here is a brief photographic story of motive power development on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. Representative locomotive types and Classes are shown as technology developed, thus the overlap between the fruition of steam perfection and early Diesel development is demonstrated.

This work is a collaborative effort between Sam D. Teague, President of the Railroad Artifact Preservation Society, Inc. and Larry E. Brasher, author of Santa Fe Locomotive Development, which was published by Signature Press in 2006.

Photos were reprinted by the courtesy of the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum, Santa Fe Historical & Modeling Society and the Railroad Artifact Preservation Society Collections.

This is the first time this book has been made available as a high quality paperback


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With the release of the new Larry E. Brasher book now upon us– we thought this might be the perfect time to share Sam D. Teague talking about this great new book from Larry. All the copies that were pre-ordered will now be winging their way through the mail to their owners. Sit down, read through this great interview about the book and wait for the mailman.


Sam Close.jpgWhy do you think Larry’s first book was so popular with train enthusiasts?

Although there is a great following on almost anything related to the Santa Fe Railway, Larry’s first book highlighted an almost unknown subject; Santa Fe Railway designed their own steam locomotives in house starting in 1913 and continued to do so until the end of steam.  Not only that, but their designs were masterpieces of power and efficiency.

How does this new one differ? What does it cover?

This book continues the story of Santa Fe Locomotive Development started in the first book. The first book covered 1859-1934. This book continues on from 1934 to 1959. So the two books together cover the first 100 years of locomotive development on the Santa Fe. The first book covered the development of steam locomotives, while this book highlights the development of Diesel locomotives as developed by Santa Fe.

What did you learn from it?

I have always been a student of Santa Fe Railway history and have read almost every book written about its history. When I read Larry’s two books about Locomotive development on the Santa Fe it made all of the books on Santa Fe history I had read before come together and make more sense. Without Larry’s locomotive development books you can’t completely understand Santa Fe Railway history because the way they designed and developed locomotives was such an integral part of the entire company and its operations.

What makes it unique?

The subject it covers is very unique of course, but in this book Larry lists and numbers the note references used in his

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research for the book and places the notes in the text for the reader to review.

How many images are in it and what do the images cover?

I haven’t done an actual count but I would estimate 200-300 images. Plus tables, charts and even some drawings. Most of the images came from the Railroad and Heritage Museum in Temple Texas. The museum in Temple has a wonderful collection of high quality images which are used throughout this book. The images completely cover the Santa Fe Diesel Locomotive Development story and greatly enhance Larry’s research and story.

As an expert would you recommend this book for a newbie enthusiast, or is it more advanced?

I would highly recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in Santa Fe Railway history, railroad locomotives, or for the model railroader and train enthusiasts.


Available now to purchase. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet… Visit our store and get your copy of “Santa Fe Diesel Locomotive Development” today!

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El Capitan- An Excerpt “AT&SF Coach 535 Victorian Era Survivor” By Sam D. Teague

car picture3In 1938, one year after the Super Chief began operations, the El Capitan began operations.  It operated between Chicago and Los Angeles twice a week. It departed Dearborn Station at 5:45 P.M. and arrived in Los Angeles at 7:30 A.M. the second morning.

Services aboard the El Capitan included free pillows, drinking cups and the standard services of a porter. Meals were provided with a lunch-counter dining car.

In addition to the services listed above, a Courier-Nurse was aboard the train to help mothers with babies, the ill or invalids and children traveling alone. The Courier-Nurse service was suspended during World War II but resumed in 1947. A total of twenty-six registered nurses were employed by Santa Fe to serve the El Capitan.

New equipment was provided for the El Capitan in 1948 and the early 1950’s. In the 1950’s the Santa Fe ordered eight full-length dome cars and five of them were assigned to the El Capitan. In the compartments below the dome there was room for the nurse’s and a cocktail lounge with 28 seats. The new dome car interiors were decorated with Native American Art. Total seating capacity in the dome cars was 103.

In 1954 Santa Fe worked with the Budd Company and created a new design for a long-distance coach. These new cars were called “Hi-Level” Chair Cars. They were double decker’s with all coach seating on the upper level. The lower level had room for baggage, rest rooms, and equipment. The new Hi Level cars were fifteen feet high and eighty-five feet long.

The new “Hi Level” cars were very successful due to very positive feedback from passengers and they became standard on the El Capitan.

In 1958 the El Capitan was combined with the Super Chief and were even assigned the Super Chief’s train numbers 17 and 18. The El Capitan continued to run with the Super Chief until Amtrak took over passenger service in 1971.

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 Taken From The Upcoming Book:

“AT&SF Coach 535

Victorian Era Survivor”


Sam D. Teague

New Book Coming Soon!

AT&SF Coach 535
Victorian Era Survivor
By Sam D. Teague

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The story of an extraordinary Victorian era coach # 535 built by the Barney & Smith Car Company in 1887 for the Santa Fe Railway, was almost lost forever. Donated to the Railroad Artifact Preservation Society in 2010, the author takes you on an incredible journey investigating the historic origin of the car which reveals that it is a much more important artifact than anyone could imagine. The author also documents the society’s effort to restore the car to its original beauty. The car is the only enclosed vestibule coach still in existence from the Santa Fe’s 19th Century fleet.

Here is the Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 Santa Fe Railway Passenger Service 1869-1900
Chapter 2 Fred Harvey
Chapter 3 Barney and Smith Car Company
Chapter 4 Santa Fe’s Topeka Shops
Chapter 5 Santa Fe’s New Coach Number 5
Chapter 6 Converting 2632 to Closed Vestibule
Chapter 7 Bunk & Boarding Car 199126
Chapter 8 Santa Fe Railway Passenger Service 1900-1971
Chapter 9 Historic Research Investigation
Chapter 10 RAPS Restoration Plan

Last Minute Christmas Gift

If you are look for a special gift for a train enthusiast, consider giving them our latest new product; Santa Fe Locomotive Development: A Pictorial History in Chronological Order Steam to Diesel 1869-1957 – Kindle Edition.

This book is now available in Kindle Edition and can be downloaded as an instant gift. No need to wait for shipping to your home like a regular book. You could even order it and download it on Christmas Day if you like.

This book encompasses in brief the story of Madame Queen and embraces steam locomotive development on the Santa Fe from 1869 to the officially announced end of steam operations in 1953.

The actual end date of steam operation was August 1957.

Presented for the first time in chronological order in one publication, here is a brief photographic story of motive power development on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. Representative locomotive types and classes are shown as technology developed, thus the overlap between the fruition of steam perfection and early Diesel development is demonstrated.

pictorial cover kindle.jpg

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