I created these pictures as a way of exploring a few “what if” possibilities in railroad history, and as a way of having fun.  I call the collection “Pixel Magic”

The first example is an answer to the question “What did the C&O streamlined Hudson look like in its original orange paint?”

and “What would it have looked like if it had lasted into the Tri-Color era?”


Now Frank Bongiovanni is, for some strange reason, fascinated with the Ingalls Shipbuilding diesel, so I did this one as a treat for him:

and I also sent a copy of our friend Russ Hass.  Russ wasn’t too impressed with the Ingalls, and informed me that he finds “critters” interesting.  Now, this past summer Russ did a talk at the COHS conference on C&O “Cage” switchers, the ones with the elaborate handrails leading up to the cab roof, so I decided to make him a “cage critter”:


Sadly, he wasn’t impressed, telling me that a “proper” critter only has 2 or 3 axles.  So, I came up with a new design, a sort of a “Critter II”

This one he liked a lot better.  He did, however, wonder where the drivers came from, so I told him that I got them off a PM 2-8-4, and that now there is a PM 2-2-4 wandering around out there somewhere:

After that things quieted down for a bit, although I did run across a picture of the C&O Fireless Cooker and wondered what would have resulted if the Railway decided they needed something along the same lines, but more powerful:

After that, I began thinking about that streamlined Hudson again, and recalled that the J-3a 4-8-4s were originally ordered with streamlining, which was canceled before they were actually built.  What if they had been built with it?  Here’s such a beastie, now downgraded to freight service. 

And here’s one of its sisters, updated to the Tri-Color paint scheme:

Along the same lines, H-8 1642 exploded near Hinton in the late ‘40s.  What if when they rebuilt it they decided to streamline it too?

I also began thinking about what could be bigger than an Allegheny, with this initial result:

The Class H-10 2-8-8-6.  (The Fireless Super Cooker above is obviously Class H-9)


Somewhere in this time frame, Frank mentioned that he is kind of partial to Triplexi as well, and so I though I’d see if I could do anything along these lines.  The only catch is, what is a Triplex?  Is it something like this?

Or is it something like this?

The consensus seemed to be that the first option was just too awful to contemplate, but that the second one looked kind of interesting.  Russ, however, worried that it might have trouble going around curves and might even (hold your nose here) need a hinged boiler like the Santa Fe tried in the early 1900s.  In my opinion, no such tomfoolery was necessary, as shown here:


Finally, I decided to try something else in terms of a bigger Allegheny, with this result

Sadly, this is one of my less successful efforts, in my opinion.

Now personally, Triplexi don’t excite me that much, but Camelbacks, that’s another story.  Sadly, the C&O never had any, but what if they did….

Another thing that I cooked up was the idea of a bigger and better Greenbrier, with this result:

Now this engine really excited me, and I’ve actually done some (simple) engineering work on it.  I also felt that I wanted to see something other than a builder’s photo of the beast, so I came up with this:

Continuing along with this Hypothetical Locomotive theme, what if the Southern Pacific decided they wanted a more powerful articulated than the ones they had.  Would they have ended up with something like this?

Also, it’s not that well known, but the C&O tested the PRR T1 4-4-4-4 Duplex.  What if they had decided they wanted some of these?

And finally, the story of how the PRR tested the C&O T-1 2-10-4 and then built 125 copies is well known.  They also tested the N&W 2-6-6-4 at the same time, what if they had chosen that instead?

Now somewhere in here I stumbled across Sam Berlinner’s web site, and discovered that he as drawings for some rather “interesting” locomotives, particularly geared locomotives.  He inspired me to do (commit?)  the following.

First, Ely-Thomas #13, the world’s only Twin-Vee-Twin Climax:

Next, Cass #6, a 4 truck V-4 Heisler:


Next, a 4 truck V-6 Shay:\

And a bigger, 5 truck V-6 Shay


And finally, the result of an unholy alliance between Lima and Beyer-Peacock, the Garratt-Shay:


Getting back to something a little less fanciful, what if Robert Young had not moved to the NYC and the C&O had completed the Train-X development work.  Would the result have looked like this?


And, coming back to the infamous Ingalls, here’s another, better attempt at dressing it in C&O livery:

Along the same lines, what if the C&O had bought passenger diesels from Alco and Baldwin?



I don’t think that Russ was entirely satisfied with his Critter, so I made version III:

With the appropriate lettering on the cab side

Russ had also informed me that two of his first loves were W. Va. Backwoods logging railroads, the kind the ford streams rather than bridge them, and the Maine 2 ft. gauge railroads.  So I thought, why not combine the two?


Russ is also ribbing Frank about his strange affection for foreign electric locomotives, so I decided to do a couple for him.

First, the Crockodil to end all Crockodils:

And then, the World’s Fastest Coal Train, for when your 10,000 Tons Absolutely Positively has to be there overnight:


Getting back to Sam Berlinner, he is also fond of designing mega-versions of various EMD diesels, particularly cowl units, so I decided to make a few attempts along these lines.

First, my own invention, the UP DDDD-45 Maxi-Centenial

Next, Sam’s TDP-45

And another of my inventions, the F-55, sometimes also known as the DD-55

I liked this one so much that I also did a CSX version

and, as Sam’s urging, a proper variant for powering passenger trains, with dual steam generators and separate water tank on the underframe:

And, to satisfy those who favor locomotives that get the power from overhead wires, the PRR E-65C, made by GM

As part of my research on C&O F units, I stumbled across a  paint and lettering diagram for the FP-7s that shows a paint scheme that was apparently proposed but never actually implemented.  To illustrate this scheme, I made this:


For a Christmas card that I sent to a few selected friends, I revisited the C&O 2-6-6-6-6, but this time in a more wintery scene:

According to Russ, the penguins are indicative of the picture having been taken on the Railway’s little known Patagonia Extension.

Coming back to steam locomotives, I asked myself “what about taking the redoubtable C&O T-1 Texas and making a more powerful version?”  This thought lead to the T-2 Super Texas 2-10-6:


Also, Sam Berliner suggested that I create a photo of his long lost super locomotive:

The infamous Eerie Railroad 2-4-6-8-10-12, complete with steam turbine powered 6 axle trailing truck booster.  Not only do we have the builder's photo, we have a picture of it out on the road:


And finally, (for now at least) in the tradition of John Allen, the ultimate in odd motive power, the Dino-Motive:

And note, they have proper number plates: