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The prime method of transportation to and from the North Pole for children is now arriving at your front door! So, grab your robe (but don't rip the pocket in your haste to get outside!) and head on the adventure of your life... "Well, aren't you coming!? This here is the Polar Express!" What happens to the steam-hauled Polar Express when the steam-era parts suppliers eventually go out of business in the mid-to-late 1960's? Elves know toys inside and out, but steam locomotives are a bit out of their wheelhouse. Enter 1231, the newest locomotive-set in the Polar Railway's repertoire of railroad vehicles / rolling stock, used as a eventual replacement for 1225, and current freight loco. Built by EMD in December 1959 as a FP9 for the cab unit and a regular F9 for the B unit, these engines use small steam boilers to heat the heavyweight passenger cars, just like the 1225 before them with it's (obviously much larger) boiler. 1231 is currently assigned to freight duties at the North Pole awaiting it's turn at the head of the Polar Express. (eventually) The whole Express train, headed by steam locomotive 1225. This steam engine began life based on my design of the Frisco 1522, a 4-8-2 Mountain type, which I had built into a 2-8-4 Berkshire for my Polar Express. I then saw a far superior model by @Plastic_Goth over on Rebrickable, as seen here. It was then purchased, and I added my own wheelbase to it from the pervious Frisco 1522-derived version as I try not to use those small friction wheels for the front pony truck, as it squeals too much. (as used by Lemon_Boy in his version) Then, I took the open bottom cab and added mine back in, albeit in 7 wide. I redid the tender to be seven wide as well, while shortening my passenger coaches by four studs. (I will put them on a 24 stud train-plate instead of 28 for each car.) this will give me nearly enough parts to add a firth car as a third identical coach. I kinda took inspiration for the Emerald Night for the firebox. Simple and elegantly held on by technic pins, it makes a good converter from the seven wide cab to six wide boiler. The tender retained its ladder to the deck, albeit on a smaller scale - about what I did for my Emerald Night tender MOD. This is the saddest car in the film: the recycled toys baggage car, which thankfully is empty here, but in the movie was full of tangled marionettes and broken toys galore. This car features a sliding baggage door in addition to the usual opening regular doors. (which in turn were styled after the Emerald Night's coach's doors) These two coaches feature opening doors on each end. The color scheme chosen for the cars was inspired by @SavaTheAggie's Polar Express, and not the movie. (Dark red windows and medium blue train cars are accurate, but way too expensive!) This is the observation lounge car, and features a viewing balcony on the end of the car. From left to right these people are: - Narrator child - Engineer (I'm calling him Max) - Fireman (now named Joe) - Conductor (named Charlie, as far as I'm concerned) - The mysterious ghost hobo (who I'm trying to write a story linking him between the movies Emperor of the North and Polar Express. It will explain how he got onto the Express, and how he died at Flattop Tunnel. Based on a deleted scene from the Polar Express.) Everyone knows about the Polar Express passenger train, but what about the other half of the railroad business: FREIGHT! Well, this problem is now solved with the "1231" Electro-Motive FP9 diesel cab + booster locomotives, along with boxcars for toy materials, hot cocoa tankers, coal cars (for naughty children and the hungry 2-8-4 steam loco 1225), and flat cars with varying loads, this one being Santa's backup sleigh w/ reindeer! This model originally was inspired by the EMD FL9 in the "Lego Train Projects" book from No Starch Press. I made it shorter and added a B unit, while changing up the color. I also make them into a regular diesel powered F-units instead of the dual electric / diesel powered FL9. The chosen color scheme is of my Polar Express train which, as you most likely know, is usually headed up by 2-8-4 steam loco 1225. Well, here is the backup / freight loco number 1231. NOTE: This idea of a later-day diesel hauled-Express is actually not new, as I've seen it in blue-and-dark red Lionel models for a while now in several Hobby shops... they even have a Polar Railroad GP-7 as a model too, according to my Google search! The engine will feature (once built) feature printed letters on the A-unit's sidewalls saying "Polar Railway", and closer to the nose, will have the "1231" as the loco number. The rear has a doorway to the first passenger car. The boxcar seen above is for for carrying toy-making materials, such as wood, and barrels of plastic pellets. This flat car is supposed to have three hay bales in front of Olive (the other reindeer, who is usually omitted from the regular team pulling the A-Sleigh because of his bad habit of calling team leader Rudolph names and being generally unpleasant while playing reindeer games.) Olive pulls the backup sleigh instead. This hopper car is for carrying naughty children's coal, which also happens to fuel the 2-8-4 steam loco 1225. A simple Hot Cocoa tanker car.. be careful, it really is hot! The last car in the freight train is a caboose. The letters "PR" (standing for Polar Railway) go on the side wall studs. As usual, any comments, questions or complaints are welcome. There is only so many days until Christmas, and then this train becomes relevant again, so I'm building this REALLY soon! EDIT 4/22/21: Added freight cars to the post.