MODELING: 1/48 Railway Express Agency Truck


Sylvan Scale Models has announced the production of a series of 1/48 scale trucks cast in resin.  The initial offering is a 1937 Studebaker Railway Express Agency truck.  The kit comes with correct decals for REA.  It will be released towards the end of January. Check their website for price and availability.

This will be a welcome addition to the 1/4″ scale market.  In addition to this model Sylvan is preparing two additional models based upon the same 1937 Studebaker COE.  The first will be a highway tractor version of this COE with a 20′ closed trailer modeled after an Edwards single axle with a round nose.  They will be including decals of decoration it in Railway Express livery.  The second will a 12′ grain body to fit on the Studebaker chassis.  These kits are very close to release so keep your eyes peeled.

Here are a couple shots of Studebaker COE that I found on the web.

This COE highway tractor made it all the way to New Zealand.

This is really exciting news.


I have been hacking away at my own REA based upon a 1948 Ford chassis with a 158″ wheelbase.

I was caught by surprise by the Sylvan announcement that appeared in the current issue of O Scale Resource.  Mike George commented about how sometimes a model is released just about when you are finishing up your own scratchbuilt effort.

Before UPS, FedEx and Amazon, the Railway Express Agency provided a shipping service to shippers and consumers for small packages.  Railroads carried the packages and company trucks provided the pickup and deliver.  REA trucks were destinctive in their green and red livery with silver roofs.  The body styles varied reflecting different manufactures.  The bodies were fitted to a chassis supplied by a truck manufacturer. Chevrolet, Ford, Studebaker, International and others

I have wanted to build a model of this classic part of the railroad scene.  I tried twice before and finally got it figured out this time I hope.  Better information and a source of the front end portion allowed me to mqke some progress.

This picture allowed me to scale some basic dimension of the body.  The document shown below provided the chassis wheelbase available for custom body and cab designs.  The school bus chassis is likely the one used,  I used the 158″ chassis for the REA conversion.

I started the build with a chassis from an old Revell 2-ton Chevrolet.  The kit chassis was modified to fit the 158″ wheelbase.

Here is the modified Revell chassis. The kit has recently been re-released by Atlantis Models.

This is a comparison of my very first attempt to build a REA truck.  It was undersized by my perspective.  Scratchbuilding can be an iterative process when lacking scale plans.

The front end of my REA truck was sourced from a Menards diecast 1/48 panel delivery.

I will be finishing up this model and the 1923 ARA  steel boxcar very soon.  High humidity has given my compressor fits with water condensation appearing as I spray.

Happy New Year!



5 thoughts on “MODELING: 1/48 Railway Express Agency Truck

  1. What great news from Sylvan, for 1:48 scale modelers and we can only hope that, if sales of these first 3 models are adequate to Sylvan’s expectations, they will continue introducing new trucks and hopefully passenger vehicles, for our model railroading use.
    Thanks for posting this great news, Gene.

    Mark Lewis

  2. Awesome build! Looks great!
    My dad is looking to purchase and restore a similar REA truck.
    Can you tell me where we might get more info about the truck? Specs, parts availability (engine, brakes, windows and seals)?
    Thank you very much!

    • Zack
      I can’t help you out with your request.
      Generally, the chassis were produced by major truck builders like Chevrolet, Ford and International. I would imagine that there are established sources for restoration of the portion. The body was likely made supplier that has disappeared from the scene.

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