During the past two decades, Class 1 railroads Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, and CSX have unveiled heritage units. The diesels, painted in the schemes of predecessor railroads, are popular with railfans and model railroaders alike. Union Pacific got the ball rolling in 2005 and 2006 by painting six diesels in the schemes of its merger partners from the 1980s and ’90s. In 2012, NS released 20 units in heritage schemes to celebrate its 30th anniversary. In May 2023, CSX joined the mix, unveiling General Electric ES44AH 1827 in Baltimore & Ohio colors. Since then CSX has since painted five more heritage units, including diesels commemorating the Chessie System, Seaboard System, Conrail, Chesapeake & Ohio, and Louisville & Nashville, with more in the works. Following the prototype’s lead, I painted seven diesels to create the MR&T heritage fleet.
The units, a mix of General Electric Dash 8-40B and Dash 8-40BW diesel locomotives, were first shown in my article “How to model a heritage fleet” in the January 2014 issue of MR. At first, I focused on older MR&T paint schemes. However, two units wasn’t much of a fleet, even for our freelanced railroad. Then I decided to include past project layouts in the mix. Familiar names like the Kinnickinnic Ry. & Dock Co., Seaboard Central, and Turtle Creek Central, along with former Kalmbach librarian George Drury’s MR&T passenger scheme, added some new schemes to the heritage fleet.
Shortly after the article appeared in MR, Atlas Model Railroad Co. contacted me asking if they could produce the solid blue and blue-and-white MR&T heritage units in HO and N scales. We agreed. The manufacturer produced Dash 8-40B 1101 (along with Operation Lifesaver unit 1100) and Dash 8-40BW 1175, named the Andrew P. Sperandeo in honor of MR’s former executive editor who passed away in early October 2015.
We took another look at the MR&T heritage fleet in the December 2020 MR in conjunction with our staff layout’s 45th anniversary. Here are some more great MR&T items you can find in the Kalmbach Hobby Store: