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I purchased my first car about the same year NARCOA (North American Rail Car Operators association, see (www.narcoa.org) was formed. It was a shot up, basket case from the Nickel Plate. After a little research, I discovered it was Fairmont M19F Model, produced in 1947 and shipped to Bellevue, Ohio. The car has been restored twice and has about 10,000 extra miles on it, since I’ve owned it. It’s my first and one of my favorites and been very reliable during my motorcar endeavor.

If you’re thinking about getting into the hobby, cars are available, so don’t settle for the first thing you see. Save your money until you’ve done some research and talked to a lot of people, this process may take up to a year!

Over the past 15 years of owning and operating motorcars, I’ve owned over two dozen different cars. My current roster is steady at six cars, some operational, some in need of restoration.


    Railroad                              Manufacturer                                                                 Features                                     

NKP #1296                          Fairmont Model M19F, built 1947                                Cab and curtains                  

D&RGW #8019                    Fairmont Model M19Z36, built 1965                           Narrow Gauge                              

U.S. Army #769                    Northwestern Model 539R, built 1951                        No Cab                                 

C&O Ry. #1123                    Fairmont Model M9D, built 1943                                Cab Orig. Condition                

Pere Marquette                    Fairmont Model 59B, built 1939                                  All Wooden, No Cab                  

BNSF #701                            1998 Ford Expedition, Fairmont Gear                        XLT Package, A/T                    

Milwaukee Road  #7879      Fairmont Model MT19, built 1975                               Original Tomah Cab       


Motorcar Photos

Nickel Plate Road #1296 - Fairmont M19F

Before Shots

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Nickel Plate Road #1296, built in 1947, shipped to Bellevue, Ohio the same year. I purchased the car in 1987 at a local farm auction in Carey, Ohio for $185.00. The car was completely and correctly restored, from the ground up in 1989. Tons of new parts and many hours later, the 1296 was back on the rails! This car came with a cab similar to NKP #1350 (see below), but sometime during a shopping, it received a new light weight aluminum cab.

After Shots

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Illinois Rail Net - 2004

YES, those are the correct colors and stencils for an out shopped motorcar rolling out of the NKP Bellevue Shops in the early- 60's!



D&RGW #8019 - Narrow Gauge Fairmont M19H-Z36

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M-19 Z36 on the Huckleberry in Flint, Michigan. The Huckleberry is first class, all the way!!!!!!

A little Colorado Action



U.S. Army #M569 - Northwestern Model 539R

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This car was rescued form the Crane Naval Base in Southern Indiana in the early 90's. It was pretty much junk and I really had my doubts if it would run again, but with all the rust cleaned off, things started looking up. The car retains it's original stencils, builders plate and US Army Property plate. My father and I restored this car in 2001.


Milwaukee Road #7879 - Fairmont MT19

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This is my latest addition, an original Tomah cab Milwaukee Road MT19. I've been looking for close to 10 years for one, always just missing a deal. I'm glad I missed out, because this one exceeded my expectations. The cars condition is basically, just the way it came from the Milwaukee Road. The black wheels and brake rigging will soon be returned to their original yellow color.

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Lee Wilhite's MT19 Tomah Car, 2002 


Norfolk & Western #R132 - Fairmont MR19A



These photos of are a ultra-rare Fairmont MR-19. The MR model was unique in the fact that it could go forward or reverse without reversing the motor. This car was is great condition aside from some body damage. The lever at top was for the "reverse" belt and the other lever was for the "forward" belt. I was lucky enough to pick an original spare MR motor. It is similar to a regular ROC, but has different crankshaft and has an inner and outer drive pulley.


New York Central #124B - Fairmont M9B


This is a New York Central M-9B that was delivered to the Big Four in Gallion, Ohio, in 1938. The right-hand photo shows the "split, stub axle". This car did not have the normal straight axle with differential, also, the car had no suspension. Not many B Models exist today. Cool car!


Norfolk & Western #N109 - Sheffield Model 4 

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This a super rare Sheffield Model 41. It was built in 1938 for the Norfolk and Western and was used on the Roanoke Division. The car is a push to start two man car. It features and all wooden frame, original half cab and Fairmont Torpedo Proof wheels. It has twin cylinder Sheffield Air Cooled Engine and is direct drive through a gearbox to the rear axle. The floor boards hinge open to access the engine, quite a neat idea.


Nickel Plate Road #1350 - Fairmont M19F

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This is Nickel Plate Road # 1350, a Fairmont M19F, delivered to Bellevue sometime in 1948. This car carries it's as delivered cab. Under the N&W stencil, one can see the original NKP markings, which I've outlined in black marker. This car was probably on the early NKP cars to get outshopped at Bellevue after the N&W merger in 1964, as this car was painted yellow and stenciled for the N&W Ry. This car was used on the Ft. Wayne Division.


Pere Marquette Railway #PM952

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Chesapeake & Ohio Railway #1123

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This car was recovered from North Judson, In in the mid 90's and is currently under restoration.


Hi-Rail / Hy-Rail Truck Photos

Here we are on the Western New York and Pennsylvania excursion in 2005.

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1998 Ex Norfolk Southern Ford Expedition. The truck was purchased from a Ford dealer in North Carolina by NS, shipped the Ft. Wayne Fleet Equipment, outfitted with Fairmont 0307A gear (aluminum version of 0307 gear) and shipped to South Carolina where it was used by some official that took excellent care of it! I purchased it on used car lot in my area for next to nothing!

Photo taken on Mike Ford's Canadian Pacific Latta Subdivision excursion in 2004. Best run I was ever on!

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Here it is on the used car lot in Celina, Ohio! No kidding!

Burlington Northern Santa Fe #701 - 1998 Ford Expedition

2004, Mike Ford's Escanaba and Lake superior excursion. Absolutely beautiful weather!

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Loading 701 on the Badger for the trip across Lake Michigan!                       

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Scenes along the E&LS, 2004.

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Tom Falicon's Great Smokey Mountain Railroad, January 1, 2005.

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Mike Ford's Canadian Pacific - Latta Sub excursion, 2004


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   BNSF truck at Coal City, Ill., a brand new 2005 Union Pacific Suburban, ready to delivery and a BNSF Dakota at Mazon, Ill.

Algoma Central - July, 2006

We arrived to discover there had been a train derailment the morning of our departure. The Tour Train was cancelled and our excursion was delayed for 3 hours. The weather, escorts and excursion were all fantastic!


Waiting for the wreck train, which finally showed up with damaged cars in tow. Next stop, Awaga Canyon Park!


Scenes along the Algoma Central. Lakes, mountains, wildlife, you name it, it's here!


More scenes along the ACR, plus the camp car, which is rented by hikers and set out at the park as a base camp.


These are just a few of the many train we passed or waited on while on the ACR. The short train in the upper RH corner is the vital supply train of residents and hikers along the ACR.


While your there, you can't miss the Soo Locks boat tour! These photos show the CN bridges, the US Lock Administration building with the Misabi Miner approaching to be lifted through the locks and the Algoma Steel Works.

Miscellaneous Photos

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The rarely seen Strasburg Fairmont M19. It's seen better days!

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A couple shots the 2004 Great Smokey Mountain excursion.

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Here's what the inside of an un-lined tunnel looks like and Gary and Stan pose for a photo on the Big South Fork.

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A couple of shots from the Indiana Transportation Museum. Hope the cars stay in their lane!

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A few shots of the Illinois Railnet excursion in 2004, crossing the Illinois River.

This page is dedicated to all the hard working Excursion Coordinators of NARCOA that make motorcar excursions possible!

Mike Ford, Tom Falicon, Dave Verzi, Jeff Levengood, Gary Greenwood and Fred Lonnes are just a few of the best ECs there are!