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MR&T blue diesel locomotives roster in HO scale

By Cody Grivno | June 15, 2022

Meet Milwaukee, Racine & Troy locomotives of the Amtrak Blue era (1979 to 1988)

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MR&T blue diesel locomotives: Photo of five HO scale diesel locomotives on white background

MR&T blue diesel locomotives

MR&T blue diesel locomotives: Photo of five HO scale diesel locomotives on white background
This photo shows how Jim Hediger’s Amtrak Blue MR&T paint scheme looked on different Electro-Motive Division locomotives. The lettering fit neatly on a variety of diesels, from end-cab switchers to six-axle road units. Bill Zuback photo
MR&T blue diesel locomotives: Photo of five HO scale diesel locomotives on white background
 Photo of blue switcher and brown gondolas passing mine on hillside.
Electro-Motive Division SW7 no. 21 leads a string of gondolas past Frenda Mine near Mukwonago, Wis., on the original Milwaukee, Racine & Troy. The end-cab switcher was an Athearn blue box model; the mine was kitbashed by Art Curren. Model Railroader photo
 Photo of blue switcher and brown gondolas passing mine on hillside.
End-cab switcher and slug set painted blue with white graphics.

The only mother-and-slug set on the MR&T was Electro-Motive Division SW1500 no. 156 and slug SL-02. The SW1500 is a Cary Locomotive Works model. The slug is kitbashed. Bill Zuback photo

End-cab switcher and slug set painted blue with white graphics.
MR&T blue diesel locomotives: High-hood six-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics

Among the handful of diesels on the MR&T with high short hoods was Electro-Motive Division SD9 no. 516. The Athearn blue box locomotive has aftermarket front and rear snow plows, a rotary beacon, a bell, spark arrestors, and a winterization hatch. Bill Zuback photo

MR&T blue diesel locomotives: High-hood six-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics
HO scale cab unit painted blue with white graphics.
Cab units could still be found on some full-size railroads in the late 1970s and early 1980s, so it seemed reasonable for the MR&T to roster one. Electro-Motive Division F7A no. 712 is an Athearn model that was upgraded with wire handrails and grab irons, a three-chime air horn, m.u. hoses, and modified skirting. Bill Zuback photo
HO scale cab unit painted blue with white graphics.
Photo of four-axle road unit switching cars on HO scale layout.
Electro-Motive Division GP7 no. 809 was lost to time, and we couldn’t find many photos of the four-axle road unit. Here, the veteran diesel spots an insulated boxcar at Green Meadow Creamery in Mukwonago, Wis., on the original MR&T. Paul A. Erler photo
Photo of four-axle road unit switching cars on HO scale layout.
HO scale four-axle road unit with high short hood painted blue with white graphics.
High-hood Electro-Motive Division GP38 no. 889 is an Atlas-Roco model. The MR&T ran the unit short hood forward. Bill Zuback photo
HO scale four-axle road unit with high short hood painted blue with white graphics.
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.
Milwaukee, Racine & Troy no. 902 is painted a bit different than the other GP40s, sporting a blue fuel tank and trucks. The model also received a rotary beacon, snow plow, and m.u. hoses. Bill Zuback photo
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.

Milwaukee, Racine & Troy no. 902 is painted a bit different than the other GP40s, sporting a blue fuel tank and trucks. The model also received a rotary beacon, snow plow, and m.u. hoses. Bill Zuback photo

HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.
The original MR&T paint scheme was kept simple and could be applied with spray-paint or hobby paint in an airbrush. The paint and decals still look good on the 903, which was painted 43 years ago. Bill Zuback photo
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.
Black-and-white photo of six HO scale locomotives.

GP40 no. 906 (third from left) was one of a half-dozen MR&T diesels that Jim Hediger painted for the original MR&T. He wrote about these models for the Paint Shop column in the June 1979 MR. A.L. Schmidt photo

Black-and-white photo of six HO scale locomotives.
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.
The 909 is another one of the units from the group Jim Hediger painted in 1979. The plug behind the rear handrails allowed the locomotive to be run in a multiple-unit consist with the Dynatrol control system. Bill Zuback photo
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.
The solid Amtrak Blue MR&T paint scheme had a pair of V-shaped chevrons on each end. The Atlas-Roco model was originally fitted with plastic horn-hook couplers, which were later replaced with Kadee metal knuckle couplers. Bill Zuback photo
HO scale four-axle road unit painted blue with white graphics.

MR&T blue diesel locomotives: The Milwaukee, Racine & Troy, Model Railroader’s HO scale 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 first paint scheme, Amtrak Blue, was used from 1979 to 1988.

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

“Jim Hediger designed the MR&T’s first paint scheme. He used Floquil Amtrak Blue for the body and Reefer White for the side sills, steps edges, and grab irons. The decals were originally produced by Herald King (Miller Advertising). Later sets were manufactured by Rail Graphics.”

Hediger wrote about the first half-dozen Electro-Motive Division GP40s he painted for the MR&T in the June 1979 MR: “The paint job that was used is a combination of prototype practices. It is deliberately kept simple, like most recent new locomotives. A real engine like this could be painted without any masking, since the graphics would be done with adhesive-backed plastic film materials that are applied to the primer and painted over. Once the paint dries, the attached masking sheet over the graphics is peeled away to leave the marking embedded in the paint.”

One thought on “MR&T blue diesel locomotives roster in HO scale

  1. Wow, Cary Locomotive Works. That brings back some memories. They made some great castings of E Units too. Now these classics need to be upgraded to DCC Sound.

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