The M-K-T or Katy was a regional favorite of many railfans and modelers. It had a great deal of charm with their conservative equipment and the splashes of color to enhance their visibility.
Bruce Blalock has spent some time cataloging Jim Zwernmann’s extensive collection of scratchbuilt Katy models. Bruce made a presentation at the 2019 Katy Historical Convention in Round Rock, Texas. Fortunately, he is sharing his photographic work of Jim’s amazing models and railroad.
The above map gives you a quick perspective of the M-K-T and the region it served. If you focus on Austin and look to the right you will see the town of Elgin. The town was served by the Texas and New Orleans (SP) and M-K-T. The two lines crossed at Elgin and it was protected by a tower.
This photo above shows the Katy freight heading north crossing the T&NO.
Here is Jim Zwernemann’s 1/4″ scale rendering of the crossing and Elgin Tower. The tower was constructed from styrene and won a first place at a March Meet in Chicago. He has captured the feel of the building and immediate area. Jim scratchbuilt both train order signals. Each road had a distinctive design for which patterns were created and cast in brass. Notice the old school rail photographer complete with a suit and Speed Graphic press camera.
The section car house is a model of the one that was at Elgin. Jim built it from styrene and wrote it up for an article in O Scale News. I think Jim also won an award at March Meet with this beauty. One of the hallmark’s of a Zwernemann is the finish all done with acrylic paints. Notice the decay in the boards.
Moving west to Austin, the Katy served the state capital via track rights on the Missouri Pacific (I-GN) and Texas & New Orleans. The railroad erected an impressive brick structure downtown with a large wooden warehouse attached. Jim modeled the building using styrene and a printed brick material sold by Micro Mark. Cream colored brick was common in this part of Texas.
The building is long gone from the Austin scene but remembered by longtime residents and railfans. Scenes like this create a lot of interest for local area modelers who have visited Jim’s railroad. I think it is fun to capture scenes and incorporate them in your railroad scene. It certainly anchors the location in the minds of viewers.
I want to thank Bruce for sharing these images of Jim’s railroad with us.