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2009 Round Up

All Issues Priced at $2.95 unless otherwise noted.

In 2009, Cowcatcher Round Up expanded its coverage from Texas to include Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

PROTOTYPICAL IS IN – Jan/Feb 2009: We celebrate our fifth anniversary with an inside look at the Texas Western Model Railroad Club’s Texas & Pacific layout. PLUS, the model railroad industry braces for a tight economy on the heels of a devastating recession; six of New Orleans’ 24 Canal Street streetcars return to the rails after much of the fleet was damaged by Hurricane Katrina; Fort Worth modeler Olaf Melhouse finds a way to make uncoupling tools out of worn Microbrushes; and volunteers step up to revitalize the museum in Denison’s fomer Katy depot.

FLAVORFUL HILL COUNTRY RAILROADIN’ – March/April 2010: San Antonio Model Railroad Association’s San Antonio & Northern is a Hill Country railroad with a lot of flavor. PLUS, a few snips make older X2F-type couplers compatible with knuckle couplers; a Santa Fe locomotive was a public relations dream; sales on small-ticket items flourish during economic downtown and Austin’s MetroRail begins testing of its fleet as the launch of light-rail service nears.

GULF WESTERN MODULAR SOCIETY SIZES IT UP – May/June 2009: A Corpus Christi, TX, model railroad club is big on presentation. PLUS, Claremore & Southern co-founder George Maulsby leaves behind an Oklahoma legacy; the Central Arkansass Model Railroad Club refurbishes a 1950s park train; a new HO track cleaning car vacuums, scrubs and polishes; and the Trinity Railway Express opens the first of two bridges.

EXTRA SPECIAL ON AMTRAK – July/August 2009Publisher’s Choice Special $2.75 Editor and Publisher Tim Blackwell takes a ride on Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer and gets one-on-one with crew members. PLUS, the dispatcher for the South Texas & Gulf has his eye on the railroad at all times with the help of nine computer monitors; a Longview, TX, conductor carves his way into a side business that gets national attention; and the Galveston Railroad Museum awaits funding after getting hit hard by Hurricane Ike.

‘O’H TO BE IN PENNSY – September/October 2009: It’s 1957 and coal trains are hustling on Brady McGuire’s O-scale Pennsylvania line to Pittsburgh. PLUS, restoration on the ex-Southern Pacific steam locomotive owned by the Austin Steam Train Association is moving forward; the Katy Flyer linked St. Louis and Galveston and gained fame after the Dalton Gang robbed the train in Adair, OK; and the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad beefs up its bridges and fleet with capital investments.

BACK IN BUSINESS – November/December 2009Publisher’s Choice Special $2.75: The Texas State Railroad is back in business and the future looks bright under American Heritage Railways. PLUS, the Cowcatcher asks readers to vote for the best of the best in the four-state area in the first Cowcatcher Gold Rail Awards competition; the Oklahoma Railway Museum splurges on its 10-year anniversary with the purchase of adjacent land to be used for expansion; and the region’s model railroad dealers like what they are seeing in the diesel market.

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Current Issue: September/October 2023


Bright, shiny freight cars are showing in greater numbers on the North American rail network. New orders and deliveries increased in 2022 following a decline beginning in 2019 that the pandemic worsened in 2020 and 2021. According to a report from the Railway Supply Institute's American Railway Car Institute Committee, new freight car orders last year were significantly greater than the combined total of 2020 and 2021. Deliveries increased nearly as much.

But car builders are not out of the woods yet, as the first half of 2023 saw some ups and downs.


Too much of a good thing can be hazardous to model railroad operations. Adding more cars to a layout can place more pressure on yards and industries when running the railroad like the real thing. Three veteran operators share their thoughts about how to avoid logjams in yards, sidings and at industries. 


Computer-based applications that complement DCC are driving the new frontier of model rail road operations.


The Sunset Limited ranks as Amtrak's worst train in on-time performance, prompting a Surface Transportation Board investigation. The Southern Pacific's Coast Daylight, with its brilliant colors, was among the most beautiful trains during the golden age of passenger rail. A BNSF test locomotive that set the stage for future developments in alternative energy motive power technology arrives at an Oklahoma railroad museum.