All about the community of model railroading and rail enthusiasm


2012 Cowcatcher Magazine

All Issues Priced at $4.95 unless otherwise noted

EMBRACING RAIL FANS – January/February 2012: Railroads open arms to rail fans with programs aimed at keeping another set of eyes on the rails. PLUS, we reveal our 2011 Cowcatcher Magazine Gold Rail Award winners; the Tulsa-based Kansas City Terminal railroad has multiple personalities; growth at the Hondo Railway is exceeding expectations five years after its inception; and Athearn revisits production on the GP7/9 with new tooling.

UNDECS UNPOPULAR – March/April 2012: With highly detailed ready-to-run products now the norm, demand is down for undecorated models. PLUS, what a difference a year makes for the North Texas Council of Railroad Club shows; Southwest Missouri club keeps chugging with solid involvement; the economy takes its toll on a long-time East Texas model railroad shop; DCTA opens its new maintenance facility and rail traffic returns to Blackwell, OK.

TALL ORDER ON THE TALL PINE – May/June 2012: Noted Lone Star Region/NMRA modeler Chuck Lind looks ahead to the end of an era on his model railroad to a new beginning. PLUS, the Amarillo Railroad Museum transformed from a model railroad club to an organization that preserves rail history; Union Pacific’s vaunted No. 844 has a flat tire while touring Texas; actor Michael Gross is the Master of Fakery with highly detailed weathering; Watco Companies goes Down Under by providing grain movements for Western Australia road; and Woodland Scenics tidies track with new cleaning line.

JOINT EFFORT – July/August 2012: North Texas regional agencies work together in pursuit of creating a seamless rail system that adequately meets future demand. PLUS, our Railroad in Focus feature debuts with an inside look at the South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad (SKOL); R.D. Moses’ layout returns to life with opening of museum in Jefferson, TX; BNSF layout is a hit at stockholder’s meeting; and a Missouri layout asks what might have been if the Frisco had kept trackage rights on the MOPAC.

TIME FLIES ON THE T&P – September/October 2012: Whether it’s 1947 or 1952, a Texas & Pacific layout is ready to please visitors on the Dallas/Fort Worth home and club layout tours. PLUS, the Blacklands Railroad in East Texas is our Railroad in Focus subject; the St. Louis Museum of Transportation is a paradise on rails; the Louisiana Steam Train Association has sights on a new home; preparing a layout for an open house requires housekeeping and hospitality; and Athearn and Intermountain announce Norfolk Southern Heritage runs.

SIGNATURE SCENERY- November/December 2012: The Vandalia Rail & Hobby layout is filled with distinctive elements of a line between western Illinois and central Missouri. PLUS, carloads of crude oil are increasing in the U.S.; the Louisiana Southern is a Tale of Two Lines; a North Texas G-scaler remembers his days helping his dad deliver the news by recreating an Alabama bridge along the route of his backyard layout; the Kansas City Society of Model Engineers is focused on the big picture; and cork roadbed supply levels begin to return of shortages left retailers scrambling to meet customer demand.

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.