Rob Warchocki’s HO scale Black Diamond Express train

Rob is currently putting together a collection of Buffalo passenger trains of the 1950s. His HO scale Lehigh Valley Black Diamond Express consists of two PA-1 diesels, an RPO, one baggage car, one parlor car, one diner, a smoker, two 800-series coaches, and Osgood-Bradley coach. Many of the models are kit-bashed or modified, based on drawings from an LVRR passenger equipment book, but they are all custom painted with decals added. Rob describes his efforts as “somewhere between the poor man’s version and strict purist replica”.

The locomotives are Alco PA-1s. Rob stripped the paint, removed the dynamic brakes then added grab irons and a more accurate horn. He filled the pilot, as well as the second headlight that had been on the shell then painted/decaled the model based on pictures he found. The final touches were adding a diaphragm and an air hose and finally, installing Kadee couplers.

The RPO and baggage cars are Rivarossi models. The cars received similar treatment as far as having the original paint stripped, being shortened slightly and having paint and decals applied. Both cars have had the doors replaced and have added grab irons, diaphragms and Kadee couplers, as well as having the original plastic wheels replaced with metal versions.

The parlor is a kitbash of ConCor and Rivarossi shells. Rob had to move some windows, but basically it’s a ConCor shell with vestibule ends and wheel bolster replaced with a Rivarossi 3-wheel truck coach to match the prototype more closely. Besides applying paint and decals, he added an interior based on the actual floor plan, kadee couplers and metal wheels. Rob admits that this project was a tough one but was pleased with the results, considering his limited experience with kitbashing and his shortage of tools.

The diner is a Walthers model to which Rob added some windows to the aisle side and half-filled kitchen windows. Again, he did the paint and decal work.

The smoker is a stock Bachmann model which Rob customized with paint and decals.

The coaches are Bachmann models to which Rob added interiors and applied paint/decals.

The Osgood-Bradley coach is a kit that Rob bought it on eBay – he believes it was from Eastern Car Works, but not sure. He modified the ends and roof to be flat instead of rounded and angled. He noted that this plastic wasn’t quite as dark and the paint wouldn’t cover as well as on the other models.