All about the community of model railroading and rail enthusiasm


2015 Cowcatcher Magazine

All Issues Priced at $4.95 unless otherwise noted

GOOD CHEMISTRY January/February 2015: The San Antonio Central Railroad combines a youthful approach with an Alamo City landmark, the former Kelly Air Force Base. PLUS, we publish the winners of the Cowcatcher Gold Rail Awards 2014 contest; recreating Amtrak passenger trains in N and HO scales is getting easier; passenger rail service between Tulsa and Oklahoma City may get the green light in spring 2015 with the Eastern Flyer; and model manufacturers display their latest products at Trainfest in Milwaukee and the Oklahoma City Train Show.

STILL IN STYLE March/April 2015: Craftsmanship has a small but dynamic place in the world of ready-to-run model railroading. PLUS, the New Orleans and Gulf Coast Railway is in prime position to grow with the planned expansion of the Plaquemines Port; the Nebraska-Iowa model railroad club supercharges space at a Council Bluffs, IA, mall with several layouts in multiple scales; despite the drop in oil prices, the railroad industry sees a silver lining; and a mechanic for Watco Companies explains how he modeled a Kansas & Oklahoma locomotive that commemorates Wichita State University.

Cowcatcher May-June 2015 Cover

MODEL TRANSIT May/June 2015: Denver’s Regional Transportation District takes a three-legged stool approach to expanding the city’s light-rail and commuter-rail systems. PLUS, we review Kato’s new Sound Box system; visit with Hornby America’s Arvids Breikss about the comeback of Arnold and Rivarossi; detail how a Mexico, MO, club easily switched from DC to DCC; and recollect how the Cotton Belt’s Lone Star served Shreveport, LA.

Cowcatcher July-Aug 2015 Cover

TEAM PLAYER July/August 2015: Former big-league pitcher Dan Smith helps instill a team player mentality at Watco Companies, one of the country’s leading shortline railroad operators. PLUS, the former Houston Railroad Museum announces plans to relocate to Tomball, TX; steady investment and diversification position Farmrail and Grainbelt lines to better manage the resources of western Oklahoma; we review a WalthersProto HO-scale Santa Fe diesel locomotive and take a trackside look at the Colorado & Great Western modular model railroad.

Cowcatcher Sept-Oct 2015 Cover

ON RECORD PACE September/October 2015: Intermodal shipments on U.S. railroads in April outpaced carload traffic for the first time before hitting its highest point ever in June. PLUS, the massive Tehachapi Loop continues to be a big draw for the San Diego Model Railroad Museum; San Antonio’s Alamo Model Railroad Engineers settle into a new venue for it annual model train show; ScaleTrains.com announces it’s entering the model manufacturing business; and we go trackside with the San Antonio & Northern model railroad.$5.95

Cowcatcher Nov-Dec 2015 Cover

ON SPOT November/December 2015: Spotting cars at warehouses and industrial districts add realism to model railroading, especially when done properly. PLUS, the National Narrow Gauge Convention raises the bar on contests; an Illinois model railroad shop tirelessly promotes model railroading, including to the younger generation; the Wisconsin & Southern punctuates its 35th anniversary with new opportunities; and see how one former railroad was actually responsible for the creation of the country’s largest amusement park.

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.