Approach Slow (Rule 284) at the west end of Big Chimney, WV

Approach Slow (Rule 284) at the west end of Big Chimney, WV

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Of Heralds and Paint Schemes

It all started innocently enough. There is a group of us that are interested in coal hauling railroads and we trade emails back in forth. The topic of Alco RS3s on the L&N came up and there were a number of great photos posted. I made the comment that I just might add a couple of RS3s to the roster for a mine run. And that was the start of an amazing deep dive into the railroad's locomotive history and some beautiful first generation diesel paint schemes.

Before I go any further, let me introduce Dan Borque. As I'm sure many of you know, he is the owner and proprietor of the Appalachian Railroad Modeling website and you can find it here: If you haven't checked out this site, you need to- it's filled with beautiful models, great prototype information and stories, and more track plans than you will ever find in one place. Dan is one of the most prolific track planners in model railroading and his plans have been featured in many publications. He is also an incredibly skilled modeler who is currently working on the St. Charles Branch of the Southern Railway. Here's a link to the website:

So shortly after the comment about the RS3s, Dan mentioned that it might be neat to do an "an Alco-designed lacquer scheme with lots of curves and stripes and a more practical grey and yellow for repaints." The next thing I know, there's a great looking picture of an RS3 in the proposed as-delivered paint scheme. After some input from the group and some back and forth between the two of us, Dan came up with what you see below.

Dan found some beautiful locomotive line drawings that are the work of Will Anderson. With a little bit of manipulation, he was able to add color to the drawings. Note that he also added credits at the bottom of the print.

In short order, Dan was working on the original scheme for the F units, the GPs, and a herald. Somewhere in all of this I provided him with the first diesel roster that I had developed when I originally planned the railroad along with a much later version. Dan then asked if I had ever done an analysis of total horsepower versus number of units over the years. This led to a deep dive into the roster- models, years acquired, numbers, horsepower, retirements, paint schemes- for the period from initial dieselization through August, 1976. The Excel spreadsheet that Dan prepared with all of this information is simply amazing.

There is much more to come on all of this. And I still can't believe I was fortune enough to have someone with Dan's talent pull all of this information together and develop such great looking paint schemes. But for now, I'll leave you with the steam era herald that Dan developed.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done indeed. This is an aspect of the hobby that truly deserves some credit, as it leads to a more believable (reasonable?) experience and really bolsters all the work you do to create a mini transportation system.

    Dan is correct in needing to understand tonnage and traffic to create a believable roster. The one plus you have is Appalachian coal became more desirable with the surge in electric generating stations needing it, as well as the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. You don’t have to look far in Appalachia to see the increased traffic.

    With that increasing traffic, CWE would need more horsepower than it did in previous decades. Where many railroads required fewer locomotives as a result in increased individual locomotive capabilities, plus generally decreasing railroad traffic, the CWE management could justify more locomotives.