MODELING: MKT Branchline Caboose

Many of the railoads in the United States found themselves short of rolling stock during WWII.  The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad was no exception.  Restrictions of critical material limited construction of new equipment.  The MKT found that they lacked passenger and freight equipment.  The railroad’s shops in in Dennison, Texas addressed one problem by converting older stock cars into branchline cabooses.  I railroad used AC&F stock cars in the 46000 series as the basis.  The resulting conversion served multiple needs like LCL freight, conductor’s office and minimal transportation for passengers on many branchlines in Texas and other states served by the Katy.

The railroad painted the cars in their colorful Sloan Yellow (Chrome Yellow) and later a few were painted in freight red with white lettering.  The Katy built ten cars and were numbered in the 341 to 350 series.

Masterbuilder, Jim Zwernemann, built a model in 1988 using data collected by Katy Expert, Bruce Blalock, and Texas railroad historian, A.T. Kott.  Fortunately a an old carcass was found in North Texas that allowed significant collection of photos and measurements.   A.T. created a working drawing for the car and motivated Jim to build a model.  I need to mention that A.T. Kott is true historian of Texas railroad history.  He has gone about measuring and photographing wonderful examples of unique railroad relics.   We owe a debt to A.T. Kott for his efforts.

Here is the model that was the result of research and work of Jim’s freinds.   A key component that Bruce Blalock provided was custom artwork and decals printed by Chuck Francis of Thin Film.

The pictures shown here are the work of Bruce Blalock.  By the way, Bruce now owns this beautiful model.

The model was constructed using styrene, wood and brass.  The sidewalls were made in a way that window glass could be slipped into the wall once the painting was done.   The color and weathering is stunning on this model.  I love the peeled paint of the roof is very realistic.  One of the interesting features of Katy caboose was the inclusion of safety saying on the cars. The placard on the end platform says ” In life as in baseball its when you get home safely that counts”.

The drawing above is the work of A.T. Kott and was published in the late O Scale New in 1988.  The drawing appeared as part of an article written by Jim describing his car build.  The model won first place at the 1988 O Scale National in San Antonio.  Th OSN editor, Greg Heier suggested that Jim should do an article on the model.  Greg and his magazine are now gone and part of the rich lore of our hobby.

I want to thank Bruce for taking the pictures and sharing information on the prototype car.


4 thoughts on “MODELING: MKT Branchline Caboose

  1. Nice. WP had similar sorts of wooden cabooses and it would seem one could be built in the same fashion (I’m a big WP fan). Of course I was also looking at having one 3D printed to save some time but it would not be quite the same. Thanks for posting the article.

    Mark G.
    Roseville, CA

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