All about the community of model railroading and rail enthusiasm


2013 Cowcatcher Magazine


All Issues Priced at $4.95 unless otherwise noted

IN THE MIDDLE – January/February 2013: Surrounded by Class Is, the Fort Worth & Western has a hometown flavor with a big stake in Dallas/Fort Worth rail transportation. PLUS, the Cowcatcher Magazine announces its 2012 Gold Rail Awards winners; trains may run through Bonham, TX, once again with a new lease from TxDOT; The St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) Railway operations leading up to the Burlington Northern merger are examined and Manufacturer’s Row at the Oklahoma City Train Show had to plenty to offer.

LIVING ROOM ADDITION – March/April 2013: A Dallas/Fort Worth Sn3 traveling layout looks good enough to blend in with the rest of the household furnishings. PLUS, the Museum of the American Railroad recently moved part of its locomotive collection to the new site in Frisco, TX; the Eads Bridge that links St. Louis, MO, with Illinois across the Mississippi River is getting a makeover; the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad is retracing history through the hills of Western Arkansas and we review Athearn’s GP38-2, which has new tooling with plenty of details specific to the Southern Pacific.

UNIQUE VISION – May/June 2013: An N-scale line depicts a different perspective of Oregon and pays homage to a Decatur, TX, owner’s favorite railroads. PLUS, fans of the Fort Worth & Western can match the short line’s colorful scheme when paint from Arizona-based Tru Color Paint arrives in June; the uptick in the economy and improved relations overseas is feeding optimism among U.S. model makers who are finally receiving consistent shipments of products; and the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad plays an integral role in moving goods from the U.S. to Mexico.

CHALLENGES AHEAD – July/August 2013: With nowhere to go, the Lockheed Martin Railroad Activity is intent on continuing its Dallas/Fort Worth legacy. PLUS, the Illinois Railway has positioned itself to take on new business in the “Sand Capitol of the World” in north central Illinois; the Lone Star Region/NMRA convention in June set the bar for conventions to come; the Frisco Railway provided a quick winter escape for passengers in the Midwest to Florida in the 20th century; and severe weather across the Midwest slowed operations on Class I and short line railroads.

GROWING STRONG – September/October 2013: Watco’s commitment to improvement has become the foundation for success in the company’s first 30 years of operation. PLUS, clubs and organizations often have to take a business approach to putting on annual fund-raising shows and events; the RockRails Invitational in Rockford, IL, provided operators an opportunity to learn about prototype model railroading and how modelers interpret local operations; crowds gathered and cheered as the Museum of the American Railroad delivered on its promise to move the collection’s massive Union Pacific “Big Boy” locomotive; and model railroaders can feed their hungry crews with Blair Line’s roadside café.

FUTURE OF RAILROADING – November/December 2013: The next test at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, CO. could make a huge impact on tomorrow’s U.S. railroads. PLUS, memories of steam abound on the Big Creek & Southern, a live steam railroad that occupies more than 13 acres outside of Kansas City, MO; ballast maker Dennis Brennan goes direct to nature to get the materials to produce his version of O-gauge ballast; and the Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado railway is poised to handle the benefits of a wet spring and summer.


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.