One of the most colorful trains found on U.S. rails today has to be Shamrock Coal's Oneida & Western unit coal trains presently operated by the Seaboard System. These trains usually consist of three or four SD40-2's, 70 bathtub gondolas and a caboose. They make two or three trips a week from Corbin, Ky., to several power plants in South Carolina.
The eight O&W SD40-2's (Nos. 9950-9957) are painted in a stylish two-tone scheme of light and dark green. All were built to SBD (L&N) specifications for operation by Seaboard System crews. Behind the SD's are 70 similarly painted bathtub hoppers. On the rear will be the O&W's own caboose (a replica of Union Pacific's CA-ll style caboose) or any SBD predecessor line's caboose - SCL, L&N or CRR.
Shamrock Coal loads the cars at Manchester, Ky., where an SBD mine run will haul them to Corbin for assembly into the 70-car unit trains. The "mint green" SD40-2's are added and the train departs for South Carolina Electric power plants near Charleston and Wateree.
Operating the 0&W coal train on other lines can be easily justified for modelers. Your local electric utility could have contracted with Shamrock Coal to supply coal for a power plant in your road's area. This would then bring Shamrock's O&W unit trains to your pike. Although the prototype is running only on the Seaboard, you can exercise modeler's license and have O&W trains operate on your own system.
|Oneida & Western unit coal train|
Locomotives: Athearn No. 4400 EMD SD40-2 undecorated; Athearn No. 4450 EMD SD40-2 dummy undecorated.
Hoppers: Model Die Casting No. 1660 hopper undecorated. The O&W cars carry OWTX reporting marks, and are numbered in t he 99000 and 99100 series.
Cabooses: The trains operate with a variety of cabooses, so almost any SBD predecessor caboose will do. O&W has its own CA-11 style caboose (No. 9999) which is available in brass, or it can be kitbashed from Athearn's bay-window car. If you operate one of these trains on your own pike, tack one of your own crummies to the rear of the train. The prototype options: For an L&N bay-window caboose, kitbash the Athearn bay-window car; for t he SCL and Family Lines wide-vision style, use the Athearn wide-vision model as a basis; and for a CRR wide-vision caboose, the Athearn model also works.
Decals: O&W SD40-2, Herald King No. L1890; O&W hoppers, Herald King No. G1890; O&W caboose, Herald King No. C-1890; L&N caboose, Herald King No. C-280; SCL caboose, Herald King No. C-381 or Walthers No. 206-06; SCL (Family Lines) caboose, Herald King No. C-611; CRR caboose, Herald King No. C-1250.