Texas Fools 'Em

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Texas Fools 'Em

By H.A. Machlan

El Campo, Texas

The Miniature Locomotive, July-August 1954

"If this be treason make the most of it."

H.A. Machlan and his 2 inch scale Southern Pacific Mikado steam outline. From "The Miniature Locomotive", July-August 1954.

It may be wrong for The Miniature Locomotive to carry a story about a locomotive not powered by steam, but the engine has fooled a lot of people -- and they're not all Texans either. And because the locomotive is so deceptive and masquerades so successfully it's to be hoped true Live Steamers will be a littler tolerant.

As will be noticed in the picture, the 2-inch scale Mikado sticks fairly well to familiar Southern Pacific design. The loco has a deep-toned chime whistle and realistic smoke is emitted from the stack. These features have been known to confuse some simple folk of the South who have always thought chime whistles and smoke have something to do with Live Steam.

The whole railroad consists of the locomotive and tender, three 8 foot cars and one 9 foot car, 320 feet of track in 10-5/8 inch gauge. There is also a portable depot. The train has hauled people from 20 to 250 pounds each and the oldest passenger to ride was 90 years of age. The three cars can accommodate 34 small children or half as many grownups. Since the layout is portable, it is frequently rented out to civic clubs and churches for public celebrations.

In the pages of The Miniature Locomotive it has been noticed that one of the major problems in all scales is acquiring enough track for an interesting operation. We felt we struck upon the appropriate solution to this puzzle, at least for those willing to depart from scale to a small extent. It might be the opinion that our track is too flimsy, but it should be mentioned that our loco and tender weigh from 1200 to 1500 pounds and only one of the gondolas loaded with four 200 pound men (as has been the case on many occasions) weights about 1100 pounds.

Our track has never been on a level roadbed. It has just been assembled on the ground with some 1x4 scraps thrown in the worst holes to prevent derailments. The track has worked so well that it is planned to use the same type, somewhat heavier, for the Live Steam 2-1/4 inch scale Pacific now under construction. (This fact, the writer contends, makes him eligible as a contributor to this magazine).

H.A. Machlan and his 2 inch scale "Mike".

Despite the fact that channel iron was used to advantage in the track, the finished pike looks just about perfect and many times the question is asked where the "real little rails" were found. Only a close look betrays the truth that they are not actual rails. This type of track was decided upon as a temporary expedient until the train started paying off. It was the intention to replace the track with mine rail later, but events have proved the channel iron to be quite satisfactory as the heavier rail. Ten-foot sections can be carried, one in each hand, by a 10-year old boy (our own).

It's our belief that The Miniature Locomotive destroys all claims that the best things originate in Texas. Texas doesn't have a single magazine half as interesting (to me).

Editor's Note -- Thanks pal. When a Texan utters something like that, it isn't to be taken lightly.

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