All about the community of model railroading and rail enthusiasm


2011 Cowcatcher Magazine

All Issues Priced at $4.95 unless otherwise noted






RICH IN OPERATIONS – January/February 2011 – Publisher’s Choice Special $2.75: Layout owners create social network with operating weekends across the region. PLUS, we publish the winners for the 2010 Cowcatcher Gold Rail Awards reader’s choice survey; Oklahoma City Train Show attendance lags but dealers report activity; Louisiana artist George Rodrigue releases “Riding to New Orleans”; and BNSF is focused on closing private and public crossings.






STAYING ON TOP (McKinney Avenue Transit Authority) – March/April 2011: Dallas’ trolley system seeks volunteers to remain one step ahead in transit game. PLUS, the San Antonio Model Railroad Association (SAMRA) steps up efforts to become a “classy” train show; the Wichita Train Show & Swap Meet is becoming a permanent part of the South Central Kansas trainscape; Amtrak rolls out locomotive in heritage paint scheme; and the Intermountain ES44AC is reviewed.


SANTA FE ALL THE WAY (Gordon Bliss’ N-scale layout) – May/June 2011: Houston area layout owner Gordon Bliss goes the distance with his N-scale adaptation of the Santa Fe’s Chicago-to-Los Angeles run. PLUS, Denton County Transportation Authority’s A-train will join large urban passenger rail agencies with launch of 21-mile network; Athearn announces a run of HO-scale Union Pacific DDA40X diesel locomotives; and a retrospective of how the Kansas City Southern’s Southern Belle linked Kansas City and New Orleans.

50 AND STILL CHUGGING (Six Flags Over Texas Railroad) – July/August 2011: Six Flags Over Texas’ railroad withstands time to keep moving park’s guests. PLUS, dirt flies at the Museum of the American Railroad finally breaks ground in Frisco, TX; the Galveston Railroad Museum has a quiet re-opening after nearly three years of rebuilding after Hurricane Ike; General Electric announces plans to open Texas locomotive plant; and Walthers’ HO-scale EMD SW9/1200 switchers are reviewed.

NO LONGER OBSOLETE (Sue Line) – September/October 2011: The north Louisiana Sue Line HO-scale layout gets a technological reboot to improve operations. PLUS, the Alamo Model Railroad Engineers isn’t cutting corners as work continues on the layout; the Stanton Radio Cab wireless track system draws a crowd at the Turkey Creek Division/NMRA train show in Lenexa, KS; business is brisk in the Bakken Shale as Class Is, region short lines experience uptick in crude and oil-related materials traffic; and the Arkansas & Missouri’s iconic Alco locomotives are getting a new home. 


GETTING IT DONE (Arkansas & Oklahoma Railroad) – November/December 2011: An Oklahoma family works together to stimulate the Arkansas & Oklahoma Railroad’s growth along a former Rock Island route. PLUS, the Missouri, Texas & Western is alive and well and prospering in the space occupied by the Mexico Train Works model railroad club in Mexico, MO; the focus on Operation Lifesaver is changing to prevent trespassing incidents; and the iconic Texas & Pacific Railway layout owned by the late R.D. Moses is hitching a ride to Jefferson, TX.



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.