The Wheeling & Lake Erie needed additional locomotives during the first World War. At that time, the government was deciding who got what based on their needs. The United States Railroad Administration had also developed a series of "standard" locomotives to save time & effort on the part of the individual railroad companies in designing & developing their own. These locos ranged from the smallest switchers to giants like the one pictured here.
When the Wheeling & Lake Erie was leased by the Nickel Plate Road, these engines became the largest engines to operate on that line. And, since I'm a NKP modeler, I needed one... : )
There were no mass produced USRA 2-6-6-2s available at that time, I really wished that someone would produce an affordable one. But it seemed that the odds were against me as there were only 30 of these built in real life so I figured that other more popluar locomotives would be produced before a 2-6-6-2. So I decided that I'd really splurge and buy a brass version. I did. I'd never owned a brass engine and knew little about the various manufacturers. As it turned out, the engine I bought was not made by one of the better manufacturers. It didn't even have power in the front engine! Instead, the second engine pushed the first one along as it was simply free rolling. I was proud of my engine nonetheless, even though it couldn't pull anything and was a shiny brass color prior to my painting it.
By the way, when you are talking about articulated engines like this one, the term "engine" refers to each set of drive wheels. Most articulateds had two sets, each with its own set of cylinders, etc. Just wanted to try to clarify the terminology a bit here. Each of the locomotives pictured here had two wheels in front, then two sets of six drive wheels eacn and two wheels in back laid out like this: o OOO OOO o. Each set of OOO makes up an engine as I'm using the word here.
Well, I only had my brass engine for about three months when Bachmann made a major announcement: They would be producing a USRA 2-6-6-2 as part of their Spectrum line of locomotives. And they would be available in both Nickel Plate and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. All along, I had been wishing for a nicer model and three months after I nearly broke the bank to get one, my wish came true!
The new model arrived around Christmas time and I immediately took some pictures of it to share with others. While it isn't the best pulling loco, it is head & shoulders above the brass one that I originally bought. And since the loco is about 40 years newer, the detail is a lot nicer as well.
So, like I said, be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. This story does have somewhat of a happy ending. I did locate a guy who was interested in collecting the older brass model just like the one that I had. I was able to sell it to him for only about $75 less than what I had paid for it. That still left me with enough money buy the engine pictured here. But still, I felt kind of jinxed. So now, the joke is that if I really want a particular locomotive in a nice high-end plastic version, all I need to do is to buy the brass one and someone will produce one soon after! Hmmm... and I almost got that EM-1!
Until next time...