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MR&T Jenks Blue HO scale diesel fleet

By Cody Grivno | June 29, 2022

Meet Milwaukee, Racine & Troy locomotives of the Jenks Blue era (2004 to present)

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MR&T Jenks Blue locomotives: Photo of six HO scale diesel locomotives on white background

MR&T Jenks Blue diesel locomotives: The Milwaukee, Racine & Troy, Model Railroader’s staff layout, has been around for more than 45 years. Similar to many full-size railroads, the freelanced MR&T changed paint schemes on its diesel locomotives over the years. The railroad’s third – and current – paint scheme is Jenks Blue, which was introduced in 2004.

MR&T Jenks Blue locomotives: Photo of six HO scale diesel locomotives on white background
In 2004, MR staff members Jim Hediger, David Popp, and Cody Grivno selected Missouri Pacific Jenks Blue as the new scheme for the MR&T. For a brief time, the comma was dropped between “Milwaukee” and “Racine” in the road name (a source of much debate amongst the MR editorial staff). The comma has since returned.

The excerpt below from the special issue Milwaukee, Racine & Troy: The inside story of Model Railroader’s club layout discusses the Jenks Blue paint scheme:

In 2004 we changed the font on MR’s nameplate and adopted a darker blue, which started us thinking about a darker blue for the MR&T paint scheme. Staff members also noted that most of the MR&T locomotives were 15 to 20 years old, wired for running on the layout’s former Dynatrol system, and not up to contemporary standards.

As we were shopping for new locomotives, we found a good deal on unnumbered Atlas Missouri Pacific (MP) GP38s. The models met our requirements. They were a darker blue (Jenks Blue, specifically); could easily be upgraded to Digital Command Control; and had separate, factory-installed details. All we had to do was remove the MP buzzsaw herald on the cab and apply a gloss coat, decals, and some weathering, and the road units would be ready for service on the MR&T. Though our models were factory painted, the Jenks Blue scheme could easily be applied to an undecorated model.

David Popp decaled the first three GP38s, nos. 834 through 836. Erik Bergstrom painted the first Electro-Motive Division (EMD) SD40-2, no. 1027. He wrote about the model in the January 2005 MR. He painted the six-axle road locomotive in a modified version of the scheme, with black walkways, sills, and pilots.

In addition to EMD GP38s and SD40-2s, an A-B set of F3s, a pair of SW1500s, and a General Electric Dash 8-40B are painted in the Jenks Blue scheme.

MR&T Jenks Blue locomotives: Photo of six HO scale diesel locomotives on white background

 In 2004, MR staff members Jim Hediger, David Popp, and Cody Grivno selected Missouri Pacific Jenks Blue as the new scheme for the MR&T. For a brief time, the comma was dropped between “Milwaukee” and “Racine” in the road name (a source of much debate amongst the MR editorial staff). The comma has since returned.

MR&T Jenks Blue locomotives: Photo of six HO scale diesel locomotives on white background
MR&T dark blue diesel locomotives: Photo of dark blue four-axle road unit on white background

Electro-Motive Division F3A no. 705 and F3B no. 14 serve as power for the MR&T’s business train. David Popp decaled and weathered the Proto 1000 models, which were originally decorated for Missouri Pacific.

MR&T dark blue diesel locomotives: Photo of dark blue four-axle road unit on white background
 MR&T dark blue diesel locomotives: Photo of dark blue four-axle road unit on white background

The MR staff purchased several Atlas Model Railroad Co. Electro-Motive Division GP38 diesel locomotives painted for the Missouri Pacific but unnumbered. After removing the MP heralds, David Popp decaled and weathered the four-axle road locomotive for the MR&T.

 MR&T dark blue diesel locomotives: Photo of dark blue four-axle road unit on white background
Photo of weathered dark blue road locomotive on white background

Milwaukee, Racine & Troy GP38 no. 835 was the second of three GP38s David Popp decaled and weathered. The MR&T herald, road name, and road number are from a custom run of Rail Graphics decals.

Photo of weathered dark blue road locomotive on white background
Photo of painted and weathered dark blue road locomotive on white background

Electro-Motive Division GP38 no. 836 was the last of three road units David Popp decaled and weathered. All of the GP38s were upgraded with Digital Command Control motor decoders.

Photo of painted and weathered dark blue road locomotive on white background
Photo of dark blue four-axle road locomotive in fresh paint on white background
Milwaukee, Racine & Troy GP38 no. 842 depicts a road locomotive that was recently repainted into the Jenks Blue scheme. Cody Grivno shared how he modeled this locomotive in the November 2018 Model Railroader.
Photo of dark blue four-axle road locomotive in fresh paint on white background
Photo of weathered dark blue six-axle road unit on white background

Erik Bergstrom painted the first Jenks Blue SD40-2 no. 1027, which he presented to Russ Larson as a retirement gift. Athearn mass produced the model shown here as its item no. 99056 in the 2004. The locomotive was upgraded with wire grab irons and eye bolts.

Photo of weathered dark blue six-axle road unit on white background
Photo of dark blue road locomotive on white background

We ordered a few extra Athearn SD40-2s numbered 1027 to build up our diesel fleet. This one was renumbered 1028 and put on a chassis from a later run of Athearn SD40-2s that was designed with decoder installation in mind.

Photo of dark blue road locomotive on white background
Photo of dark blue four-axle GE road unit on white background

The 2000s saw the arrival of four-axle General Electric road units on the MR&T. Dash 8-40B no. 1100 sports an Operation Lifesaver logo on the long hood. Cody Grivno explained how he painted and decaled the model in the July 2011 Model Railroader. Atlas Model Railroad Co. offered this model in its N scale and HO scale lines.

Photo of dark blue four-axle GE road unit on white background
Dark blue end-cab switcher on white background

Missouri Pacific SW1500 no. 1519 from Athearn’s Ready-to-Roll line (no. 95846) served as the starting point for this MR&T unit. After removing the buzzsaw heralds on the cab and the small road numbers on the hood, Cody Grivno used custom-run and off-the-shelf decals to add the MR&T herald and larger road numbers. He also weathered the end-cab locomotive.

 

Dark blue end-cab switcher on white background
Dark blue end-cab switcher on white background

Milwaukee, Racine & Troy SW1500 no. 1520 also started life as an Athearn Ready-to-Roll unit decorated for Missouri Pacific (no. 95847). Cody Grivno paired up custom-run decals with Microscale sets for this Operation Lifesaver switcher.

Dark blue end-cab switcher on white background
Dark blue six-axle road unit with white and gold graphics on white background

Milwaukee, Racine & Troy SD40-2 no. 1934 was offered by Athearn to celebrate Model Railroader’s 70th anniversary. The six-axle road unit, released in 2004, was item no. 99057.

Dark blue six-axle road unit with white and gold graphics on white background
Dark blue six-axle road unit with Model Railroader anniversary graphics

Five years later, Athearn released Milwaukee, Racine & Troy SD40-2 no. 2009. The locomotive (item no. 95922) features the Model Railroader 75th anniversary logo on the long hood.

Dark blue six-axle road unit with Model Railroader anniversary graphics

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