Latest Update: August 12, 2010

By the turn of the LAST century, in 1900, the C&NW had decided they needed more powerful freight locomotives for their roster. After much discussion and deliberation, it was decided that these new locomotives should be equipped with a new-for-the-time, wide firebox design in order to increase their horsepower / tractive effort ratings. And so it was that the first of the class "R-1" was ordered for delivery the following year.

This locomotive was longer and heavier than any of the C&NW's locomotives until that time, and though it proved so successful that 325 more would be acquired over an eight year period, it also proved to be a huge commitment for the railroad, eventually requiring a complete upgrading of their trackage, their bridges, their enginehouses and their turntables in order to accommodate them. ( An aside here is that, from the time the first of these was delivered, it would be forty years before they could safely pass over the entire system ! )

Though constructed originally as "soakers", ( railroad parlance for non-superheated or "saturated steam" locomotives. ), by the year 1930, all R-1's had been upgraded to include the much more fuel efficient superheaters inside their boilers.

The "R-1's" were long lived locomotives, with some seeing 55+ years of service life. And while the C&NW eventually acquired even larger 2-8-0's, 2-8-2's and even 4-8-4's, none of these had the distinction of being able to operate over the entire C&NW system like the R-1's. There were still 70 of them on the roster when steam was retired, and fittingly, of the four C&NW mainline steamers that survive, three of these are R-1's !

Our models of the C&NW's "R-1's" have been carefully selected to represent a cross-section of these significant locomotives. Each version will have a distinctly different look from the next, while at the same time, still capturing the "feel" of a "typical R-1." The models will be detailed as they operated in the 1950s, a period of transition for mainline railroads as diesels were coming in and steamers were being retired.

Tenders chosen are also representative of how they appeared towards the end of their careers, when tonnage was increasing, and service facilities were decreasing. During this period, as the R-1's were relegated downwards, more and more were pressed into branch line service, the sort of trains ideally suited to the space restrictions faced by most of us modelers. And in this guise, some of the R-1's received distinctive, ( and taller ) coal bunkers designed to extend their operating arena without having to take on additional fuel.
This photo of engine number 50 shows her tender to be replete with a 1950's era retrofit: The tall-as-the-cab "clear vision" 10 ton coal bunker. Look closely and you'll see it was notched in front to clear the cab roof !

Note that her tender is also outfitted with a back-up light and "switching" footboards. A requisite of "yeoman duty" locomotives industry wide.

  • GPM-50.2 - Circa 1950's era.
  • Engine #487 was photographed in Madison, Wisconsin on June 10, 1953. Notice that her cab is much different compared to her siblings, with the typical-for-the builder, ALCO, rounded front cab corners.
    Her 7500 gallon tender has the "clear vision" upgrade, but unlike the #50, there are no "switching footboards" in evidence on this one.

    Photo: Carl Ulrich from the Robert C. Guhr collection.

  • GPM-487.2 - Circa 1950's era.
  • #1385 could be considered the quintessential R-1. She has those distinctive sloped in cylinders with their inboard Stephenson valve gear and Alligator crosshead guides. She retains her original wagon-top boiler. (Note those diamond tread steps leading from her pilot beam to her running boards!) And she pulls the most common 'R-1' tender, a 7500 gallon unit.

    The time is NOW to get your reservations in. Boo Rim has promised us hand made Pilot Models in time for the "O Scale March Meet" at Chicago in March ! Time's a' wastin' !

  • GPM-1385.2 - Circa 1950's era.
  • Looking much the worse for wear, engine #1400 was captured in Waukegan, Illinois in September of 1955. Her more common 7500 gallon tender has been added onto to increase coal capacity and she's outfitted for "yeoman duty" with a "footboard" pilot and tender back up light and footboards.

    Check out that airpump "strainer" or filter above the center driver.

    Photo: Carl Ulrich from the Robert C. Guhr collection.

  • GPM-1400-2 - Circa 1950's era.

  • The C&NW had literally hundreds of these Ten-Wheelers. With their as -built, peculiarly canted-inwards cylinders, these historically significant ten wheelers were also built with the "new" for the time, "wide" fireboxes that would soon be adopted by all other major railroads. Add to this the fact that they alone changed the way the railroad would be operated forever, and you have the makings for a unique class of models to be added to your collection !

    These models are being custom built to order by South Korea's Premier Builder of Brass Models, Boo-Rim Precision. Whether you are a serious collector of Fine Hand Crafted Brass Models, or a serious "O" Scale Operator, ( or wanting to become one! ) you'll surely want to consider adding one or more of the "R-1's" to your stable !

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