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  1. This train is named the 909 National Limited, a (fictional) early 1930's steam-powered train run by Brick Railway Systems. This transcontinental train has it's respective east or west bound sections leave New York (or Los Angeles) on Monday at 9-AM sharp for the 3-day "Day" trip to the final destination, 72 hours distant, at 9:00 AM on Thursday. Then, after that train is cleaned and restocked in less than 12 hours, than it, or the standby train if their is delays, can be sent back as the "Night" section on-wards at 9-PM Thursday to 9-PM Sunday night. At 9-AM Monday morning, the whole cycle repeats anew for the next week. Their are five complete train-sets, two being used at any one time, two being cleaned and restocked on a bi-weekly basis, and one for standby in case of breakdowns. Also, coaches are in ready to use condition in several yards in large cities, just waiting to be dropped into place if a car needs to be worked on en-route. There are seven of the streamlined 4-8-2 "Mountain" type engines (numbers 4307 to 4314) assigned to the 909 National Limited, with a rotating pool of rolling repair and preventative maintenance schedules vigorously followed. Here we see engine 4312, it was built in the late 1920's by Lima locomotive Works. It was one of the lucky few of the 50 engines bought by Brick Railway Systems to receive a complete streamlined casing shortly after being assigned to 909 National Limited in 1931, along with six other's of it's type. It is painted in reddish brown with a fluted black side stripe on the engine and black box stripe on the tender to keep it in line with the passenger cars of the 909 National Limited, it's assignment for the foreseeable future. In reality, this locomotive was inspired by the South Australian Railways 520 class 4-8-4 and the hover mono-rail engine from the Legend of Korra TV Show, while the train coaches were inspired by a vintage 2009 LEGO model of "Galaxy Express 999". (Link to Brickshelf here ) The real story behind the of the name 909 Limited is a combination of this fantasy train and the Beatles song "One after 909", which is sort-of about a train. This is where the food is cooked and baggage is stored on the transcontinental journey. I don't know if such a car type really exists, but if not, I'm not sure what to call it... any suggestions? One of these cars is a sleeper, one a dining car, and one is a coach. But YOU get to guess which one is which! (Answer: They are exactly the same externally and there is no inside details. Only my imagination provides the difference!) The observation car at the end of the train has a viewing platform for looking at all the wonders this country has to offer as they go by. Builders Notes: So I looked back through the forum archive, and didn't see a topic posted for this train by itself. I saw one with other trains with it, but not one by itself, and it wasn't even in real bricks... so here is my updated for 2019 pictures and detailed description for this revised model. Also, the three day journey each way is plausible, as I asked Google, and it spit out a map from 1930 that said it took a train three days (72 hours) to get from Los Angeles to New York City. Now, I know that most trains headed to LA started in Chicago, but I'm ignoring that fact in my alternate reality LEGO-world here steam never died off completely, Amtrak doesn't exist in the semi-corporate mess it does today, and the electrification of the Milwaukee Road reached from the Twin Cities region to the Pacific ocean and are still there today. On that note, the North East Corridor wires stretch all the way to Chicago. ...anyway, kinda got off topic there. As usual, if you have any questions, comments, or complaints, please post them below!
  2. [ full gallery] I am pleased to present my MOC of the Northern Pacific streamlined Vista Dome North Coast Limited. The North Coast Limited ran between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest (the train split and went to Portland and Seattle). Much of the attractiveness of this build is simply due to the prototype, designed by Raymond Loewy. More info on the actual train can be found here. One of the unusual features on this train was the full sleeper domes (as opposed to the dome-observation sleeper cars found on several trains). More info on the domes can be found here. I have been working on this MOC for over two years and it remains a work in progress. The initial assembly occurred about two years ago and it has been displayed a few times. However, without the lettering, I considered it far from complete. I just applied the decals this past weekend and uploaded the photos to brickshelf. The cars are 42 studs long plus diaphragms (another stud total), to strike a balance between realistic scaled length at 6 wide (more like 52 studs) and the operational constraints of lego curves. The cars have a real vestibule on the door end (set off from the interior) like the prototypes. They also feature close coupling for display, with the diaphragms connecting, while with the insertion of an extra magnet allows for sufficient clearance to take a curve. The domes were my focal point. The use of the 3x6x1 curved windscreens was one of my favorite features, but there is a lot of snot in the domes themselves to get the right shape and form. I used transparent headlight bricks so in principle one could see through the dome, but in practice only a bright light can make it through all of that plastic. Still it does a good job reflecting the ambient light so the design worked, just not as originally intended. There are lots of subtle features to be picked out, including the detailed under-frame (no great shots at the moment) and the half plate vents on the side of the dome cars, e.g., as seen below the dome here. Throughout the cars I used an unconventional approach. Sand green plates are way expensive. So the lateral strength of the cars comes from white 6x plates between the sand green and dark green layers. This has the added bonus of making the windows much more apparent than they would have been without the reflective color on the inside. I did seek bonus points for the use of a large unruly piece for the roof of the observation car. I had to leave out several cars (including the RPO/dorm; travelers rest lounge; several coaches and sleepers; and a sleeper dome). The locomotives have a lot of subtle features going on, e.g., the louvered openings between the porthole windows and the much more complicated snotted nose. Unfortunately for me, the NP was one of the few railroads to actually paint over the chrome upper grills on the F-units, still, I took the liberty to use chrome lego grill tiles since they are typical of most F-units and dark green grills would not show up well. The train is powered by a pair of PF train motors in the b-unit, which also houses a rechargeable battery, IR receiver, and extra weight for traction. I've made a few small changes to the build over the years, e.g., swapping out 1x2 grilled cheese for 1x2x2/3 curved slopes on the nose of the locomotives. The train runs fine around standard lego curves, but it looks a little awkward, It looks REALLY sharp on the wide radius curves, e.g., on PennLUG's layout (videos can be found here) All of the photos thus far are from before applying the decals. Here are few shots with the custom decals applied, Many more shots are in the full gallery. Enjoy the ride, questions and comments welcome, [ full gallery]