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  • All about the Arcade & Attica Railroad
All about the Arcade & Attica Railroad

Moderator: Benjamin Maggi

  by Mountcastle
I've come across these MP54 coaches available in HO scale through Con-Cor:


They aren't the A&A's Boonton coaches but they're very similar and they're certainly the closest thing I've seen available in HO (if you can judge by the photo of the prototype, at any rate.

I think for those A&A modellers out there (like myself) not content with the Victorian Era coaches and combines they've adopted (on account of their open vestibules) in lieu of Boontons, this Con-Cor series seems like a tempting upgrade. It wouldn't take much to modify the ends of the coaches to give them the Boonton look. A less fussy modeller might even be content to simply remove the vestibule doors.

Of course, at $60.00 each (and only sold in sets of two), they are a smidge pricey and it would be my luck that someone would offer Boontons the minute I finished collecting a set of MP54s. Nevertheless, they really are--in my opinion--satisfyingly close in appearance to the A&A's coaches.

I may have to go for it, but as I tend to see things not as they are but as I am, I mistrust my own judgment and I would first ask the opinions of my fellow Arcade & Attica enthusiasts, particularly those who model the A&A. For that reason, I would respectfully request that our erstwhile administrator kindly resist the urge to move this post into the 'Scale Model Railroading' forum. I seek the opinion of 'Arcade & Atticanites', not of model railroaders.
  by Otto Vondrak
An MP54 is like a Boonton coach like an RDC is like a subway car, in my opinion. But if it looks right to you, I won't argue. You'll be paying a premium for a limited production model that you're only going to chop up into something that's "close?" Even if the windows aren't quite right, you'll spend a lot less money chopping up a far less expensive Athearn heavyweight coach...
  by Mountcastle
It's interesting, I suppose, to see what's most important to individual modellers when they make compromises in the face of the unavailability of authentic replicas.

Otto, in your case, the shape of the windows would be unimportant, provided the general size and structure of the car is similar. In my case, on the other hand, the size and shape of the windows factors more heavily in my assessment of a potential substitute. The way I see things, an Arcade & Attica coach simply cannot have short, square windows. And I can't really explain why 'window likeness' is that important to me.

I envision these coaches painted orange and black and given the 'circus' lettering treatment. I even photocopied the image, colored it orange and drew in the lettering. As I see things, at least, they wind up more successfully portraying the Arcade & Attica excursion coaches than do the Athearn cars you suggested. They aren't quite the Queen, but they're at least Helen Mirren. The Athearn coaches would be, say, Judi Dench.

And if you replace the trucks with the correct sort, they become even more intriguing.
Last edited by Mountcastle on Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Otto Vondrak
I'm thinking more like the $50 price difference would be enough for me to ignore the windows for the time being. ;-)
  by Mountcastle
Well, yes, quite; that is a factor to consider to be sure. But if I'm going to replace the coaches (that I spent hours painting and lettering) that I'm no longer content with, it can't be with something I'll find myself even less content with. The first time around, I ignored alot of things 'for the time being' when I purchased a set of 19th c. coaches to serve as A&A coaches. With these MP45s, however, it seems to me there's much less one would need to ignore.

As far as the somewhat disconcerting price, well...to me, one set per pay period would be an investment I'd be willing to make, and I would only need two sets. Three coaches and a combine would be sufficient. I have already invested in a more upscale 4-6-0 to replace the engine I was using to represent No. 14 (an old Mantua 19th c. 4-6-0) and I don't want the train behind it to be cheap by comparison.

These MP54 coaches/combines, to me, look enough like the Boonton that they represent a good upgrade in lieu of an actual Boonton. And it seems that the Second Coming might arrive before new boontons in HO.
  by jgallaway81
As I model in G29, there is three cars to choose from: the heavyweight from Aristocraft, their "Sierra" coaches, or Bachmann's wooden cars.

Now this choice relates to the thread in that the heavyweights are the closest match, but that no consol or ten-wheeler on the market would be capable of hauling four, much less six cars.

That said, if i want to run a decent look-alike, the choice becomes the el-cheapo bachmans for pure cost reasons.

But in my world, the eventual answer is a modifya bigger engine and haul those beautiful 100+ per car heavyweights.
  by Benjamin Maggi
I must point out something first before you spend the money on these coaches. CHECK WITH FUNARO AND CAMERLENGO FIRST! They originally ran a set of Boonton coaches in HO scale during the late 1990s and those are hard to find now. They weren't very easy to put together, either, but a google search might turn up an old website that talked about their construction (see link below)
http://dlw-sussexbranch.com/Modeling/Co ... coach.html

F&C anounced in 2002 that they were planning on re-releasing the coaches as a one-piece kit (much easier to construct), but as of yet they still are not released. Every year at the Springfield train show, they display as vendors and I ask them about the coaches. I even have a letter from them that is over 5 years old promising the coaches "soon."

The point? For the same price, you might want to search out the old coaches (I try EBay regularly but have never seen them) OR bug F&C to see if they will be rereleased again. If they hear from multiple parties, then maybe the coaches will see the light of day again!

OR... go down the road you want. I won't say that what you are doing is right or wrong, but since most everything is about compromises and tolerances each must decide for himself/herself what is acceptable. I don't model A&A in N scale due to all of the compromises. (Even with the new Bachmann 44-tonners).

Good luck!
  by Mountcastle

Exactly: you've been waiting five years. I don't want to wait five years. I will have a bit of a wait, though: Con-Cor, having taken my non-obligatory pre-order and having given me a 20% discount for doing so, have likewise informed me that the MP54s will not actually be available until Spring. So Funaro & Camerlengo have until then to turn out their bloody boonton (which they won't).

Like you, I have scoured the internet looking for Boontons. I've monitored Ebay regularly...nothing. Again, if I find something (and by something I mean at least 3, as the train would look rather unimpressive with fewer than three coaches) between now and the time Con-Cor's MP54s are ready, great. If not, however, I think these coaches make a nice substitute.


I will certainly share images of the finished results. In fact, my goal is to put together some sort of an A&A tribute website comprised of photos of diorama featuring HO scale models of the A&A's equipment. Modelling representations of the railroad's equipment is my focus, now, and things are moving along at a slow but steady pace. The roster thus far:


Arcade & Attica No. 1, 2-6-0 Mogul (Mantua)
Arcade & Attica No. 3, 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler (Mantua)
Arcade & Attica No. 18, 2-8-0 Consolidation (Roundhouse)
Arcade & Attica No. 20, 2-6-0 Mogul (fictitious) (IHC)
Arcade & Attica No. 113, SW-9(?) Switcher (fictitious) (?)
Escanaba & Lake Superior No. 14*, 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler (Bachmann)

*Waiting on Arcade & Attica decals for spare cab and spare tender that will allow this model to portray either/or.

Rolling Stock

Arcade & Attica Coach, 1960s paint scheme (x2)
Arcade & Attica Coach, 1970s paint scheme (red letterboard)
Arcade and Attica Gondola No. 300
Arcade & Attica Boxcar No. 510
Arcade & Attica Boxcar; 400 series (x2)
Arcade & Attica Refrigerator Car
Arcade & Attica flat car
Buffalo, Attica & Arcade Coach
Buffalo, Attica & Arcade Combine

As things stand, now, I'm so pleased with the way the locomotives and the freight cars have turned out that the A&A coaches I have look inadequate along side them. They're too small and impart the wrong period atmosphere, being about 40-50 years too antique to adequately portray their prototypes. Naturally, I'd much rather have authentic Boontons, but should they not become available before very long, I'll require something not quite so delicate as my wooden 19th c. coaches and not quite so behemoth as the 6-wheel truck heavyweights. In my opinion, these MP54 coaches have a lighter look and bear enough of a resemblance to the boontons to suit my purposes.
  by Mountcastle
Oh forget it. I talked to the chick at Funaro & Camerlengo and she insists that the Boontons will be ready in a year. For whatever that's worth. I'd rather not wait a year but I'll kick myself when they're available if I don't wait.

Those Stillwells are tempting, though, even more so than the P-54s. I suppose I could get a set of 3 (which brings the price down to $40.00 ea. from $60.00 ea.) and then, if the Boontons really do come out next year, order three of those.

That would make a full complement of 6 cars and it would also make an interesting mix. I could make a 3 car train of either/or, or a 6 car train of both.

Decisions, decisions.
  by jgallaway81
http://www.fandckits.com/HOPassenger%20 ... /5070.html

With these, removal of the end doors and a quick hit with the dremel would leave the vertical structural members and look nearly identical to the Boonton's.

Just an idle idea.
  by Mountcastle
Yes, Otto agrees with you, but somehow it just doesn't grab me. It seems too big. I don't know how they compare, dimensionally, to be honest but I do know that the boontons are 20 windows across whereas the heavyweights are 22 (.5) windows across.

By the same token, I realize the P-54s are slightly too short (17 windows across, but with space for 19) but I'd rather they were slightly shorter than longer. Longer coaches seem a bit unweildy to me, particularly when rounding curved track sections.