Even though I am focused on my office shelf layout at the moment, I still like to look for ideas to use on my future layouts. Someday I would like to have at least part of a layout dedicated to the Detroit & Mackinac and their Michigan operations during the late 80's and early 90's. I have a good start on some rolling stock, but nothing when it comes to locomotives yet. That layout wouldn't be for quite a while, so I have some time to work on accumulating more pieces for my D&M collection. In the meantime, I am always on the lookout for ideas that would work on a D&M layout.
Today I came across something interesting when looking through all the pictures I have for #1280. The picture below shows it in front of two CM units and another unknown fourth locomotive, but the most interesting part is what's behind that last one. If you look close, you can see several tank cars. These are not just any tank cars though, they are actually part of the TankTrain™ from GATX (Great American Transportation Corporation).
Here is the description from the GATX website: "TankTrain™ System - A string of interconnected tank cars with flexible hoses, developed exclusively by GATX’s research and development team, allows for quick loading and unloading of commodities including crude petroleum oil, benzene, light fuel oil and phosphoric acid."
The best part is there are several models out there for these specific tank cars. I found a great example from Athearn. They can be bought as individual intermediate cars or as an A/B set of two. For my purposes, I would probably go with three cars total to match the picture shown above. Here are some pictures I found of these models.
|A look at one of the Athearn models.|
|A look at two of the units connected to each other.|
|A closer look at the connecting hose between the two units.|
These would definitely look good on a layout with some D&M locomotives pulling them around. I'll have to do some more research to see where exactly these things would've been used in Michigan. I'm assuming it is somewhere within D&M or CM's trackage, but that's a large area so it may take some time to figure out for sure.