My First Try Modeling A Cornwall Locomotive

by James A. Mattern

I always wanted to model the Cornwall Railroad since the opportunity to see it first hand escaped me. The decision was made in 1992 to recreate a miniature time machine, so I could have the pleasure of seeing the Cornwall Railroad operate again. To begin the travel back in time, I started doing a lot of research and asking the people that actually saw the engines “What did they look like?” The book The Cornwall Railroad by James Kercher, and a black and white photo of 122 where valuable asset since they were the only photos I had. I made the decision to model Cornwall Railroad engine #100.

                  To start with I needed to know what color to use and since I never saw the engines first hand. I only knew what the James Kercher book said. The book listed the colors as bright red and yellow engines. This left me to a few thousand shades of red and yellow. Which ones should I use? Fortunately for me, a member of the Stiegel Valley Model Railroad Club was also a Cornwall fan. He told me that Floquil Box Car Red and SP Armor Yellow was a close match to the paint used on Cornwall engines. With this information I was set, but one big perplexing problem remained; how do I get the script lettering on the engine?

                One night the club members were watching train videos in the Manheim train station. Someone popped in the tape of George Sellios’ Franklin and South Manchester. George was explaining how he put his signs on the buildings. He cut out old magazine advertisements by sanding down the back of the advertisement until it was really thin. Then he used white glue at full strength and his fingernails to get them to settle in the mortar lines. I thought this is it! This is how I’m going to get the Cornwall Script onto my model.

                I started by enlarging the photo of 100 on a photocopier until the outline of the engine was that of the Athearn SW7 Shell I was using. Then I made several copies at this size for mistakes and to letter both sides of the engine. After I added the new cab with the arched windows and other details, I hand painted the model only after I used a gray under coat to protect the plastic. Once the stripe was painted on the model, I cut out the 100 and the Cornwall script logo from the copies I made and applied them using the George Sellios technique that I described before. I used a 10/0 Floquil spotter paintbrush to paint the colors on the copies I had cut out and pasted on the model. I was pleased with the result.

                I went to show the people that had seen Cornwall engines first hand. They confirmed that’s what they looked like further boosting my ego. One of them even offered to buy it from me, but he didn’t like the $250.00 price tag I put on it. I don’t think I’ll part with this engine for a long time. I’m quite happy with my little time machine now I can see the old Cornwall engine ride the rails again. 


Photo of Model Completed in 1992

Close up of model completed in 1992

Construction Notes:

                The rear drive train and flywheel of the Athearn mechanism needs removed to accommodate the interior of the Cannon & Company cab.  This severely limits the pulling power of the engine. I recommend not installing the interior or using a NWSL PDT drive. If you don’t want to be bothered with this construction you can buy a Kato NW-2, which is what Cornwall engine #100 was. There is still the challenge of painting the Cornwall Script on the locomotive. 

                The Cornwall never had footboards on the front or rear of their locomotives. I missed this detail while looking at my photos and did not do it on the model described above. 


                To get close to the Cornwall Colors I recommend purchasing color photos of Cornwall 122 from Bob's Photos (email me for the contact information). Also, The Kalmbach Memorial Library has an EMD styling and painting diagram for a P.B. & N.E. SW9 switcher (8172152). This diagram lists the exact colors used on their locomotives. Since Cornwall locomotives and P.B. & N.E. colors were identical in the early fifties. This diagram will give you an exact information on painting and styling of Cornwall Locomotives. The only exeption is that 100, 101, 120, 121, and 122 had yellow decks. If you aquire the print you'll see what I'm talking about.You can also get photos from the recently released Shortline books. A Colorful Look at: Selected Pennsylvania Sortlines by Gerard Bernet and Pensylvania Shortlines Volume 1 in Color by Gary R. Carlson.

Bill of Materials:

  • Athearn EMD SW7 Cow Undec. (140-4001)
  • Cannon & Company EMD Switcher Cab Early (191-1503)
  • Cal Scale Windshield Wiper (190-419)
  • Detail Associates Lift Rings Switcher Side Mount (229-1105)
  • Detail Associates Coupler Lift Bar (229-2204)
  • Detail Associates Scale Formed Wire (229-2202)
  • Detail Associates Rerail Frog (229-7103)
  • Floquil SP Armor Yellow (This Yellow is too dark for when they where new)
  • Floquil Box Car Red (This Red is too dark for when they where new)
  • .015 Brass wire (Used for grabs in rear and cross pieces on front and back handrails)