Fantasy Models

Model manufacturers want to sell as many kits as possible, and one way to do that is to paint and letter their locomotives and cars for roads that never had them, hoping that fans of that railroad will buy them anyway. The purpose of this page is to point out models for which there is no prototype.

Many model railroaders enjoy “freelancing” to some extent or another, and it is not my purpose to criticize that creative aspect of the hobby. If you want to paint a GP50 in LV colors, and run your pike as if the LV had survived into the 1980s, that’s fine – you know what aspects of the layout are based on reality, and which on your own creative ideas. The purpose of this page is to inform those looking for at least some degree of prototypical accuracy which models are simply wrong. I’m not talking about counting rivets, or even ribs on this page. We all have to accept some compromise from time to time unless we have lots of time for kitbashing and scratchbuilding! Models which are good enough to “stand in” for the prototype are listed on the prototype pages. Only those that can not be listed on those pages because there is no protoype will be found on this page!


IHC ALCO C415 in LV “yellow bird” scheme: IHC #24008
The Valley never owned an ALCO C415 center cab locomotive. It’s not clear what paint scheme IHC is referring to. LV’s ALCO C420s were delivered in the “yellow jacket” scheme, and the LV’s ALCO C628s were delivered in the “snow bird” (or “white elephant”) scheme, and neither of these paint schemes was ever used on any other locomotive.

Box Cars

Todd’s Trains N scale 50 ft double door boxcar: (LV 8500, 8512, 8537, 8574, 8599)
These 50′ box cars are produced by InterMountain Railway for Todd’s Trains. Body is white, with black ends and a silver roof. Lettering is black with a red, black and yellow Lehigh Valley flag herald. The actual prototype series LV 8500 – 8599 had end doors, and were never painted any color other than Freight Car Red. Also, according to Rich Jahn, no LV box car ever had a silver painted roof. White box cars were very rare on the Valley, but manufacturers never tire of issuing their kits in this scheme!


AHM HO scale mechanical reefer: 5425-05 (LV 8247)
LV 8200-8259 were outside post X58B box cars built by PRR, not mechanical reefers. They were painted in a scheme similar to the AHM model, but that is the closest this model comes to reality.


AHM HO scale 4 bay offset side hopper: 5460-14 (TLDX 2725)
This open hopper is painted in a scheme similar to that used for LV’s PS-2 style covered hoppers, but is a medium gray color. The Valley never owned any 4 bay offset side hoppers, and never painted their open hoppers gray with a red flag. The reporting mark is actually that of a TLDX PS-2 covered hopper, but not one that was ever in LV colors.


Walthers HO scale 46 ft USRA steel gondola: 932-7458 (LV 21202) and 932-27458 (LV 21243 & 21268)
The Valley never owned any of these cars. According to Eric Neubauer, up to 500 of them cars were assigned to the Valley by the USRA, but never delivered. Had they actually seen service, they would have been numbered as 32001 – 32500, not the numbers used by Walthers. Those numbers were actually assigned to 55 ton 31’6″ steel hoppers in series 21101-22100. The Valley’s gondola were all either 4 ft shorter or 6 ft longer than this car, so while it might be a source for kitbashing, it is not even close as a stand-in for other LV gondolas. The Walthers kit is quite accurate, but not in LV colors!

Covered Hoppers

Bachmann HO scale 56 ft Center Flow: #17527 (TLDX 2730 in LV colors)
The Valley never owned nor leased any ACF type center flow hoppers. Nor was any ever likely to have appeared in TLDX reporting marks, since Transport Leasing Corporation was a subsidiary of Pullman-Standard, who built their own, different, design of covered hopper! The paint scheme appears to be based on the real TLDX 2003 – 2017 and TLDX 2018 – 2027 series, but these were PS-2s. There actually was a TLDX 2730, but it was a PS-2, and was not in LV colors! AHM also produced this same model.

Con-Cor PS-2: 009531 (LV 51023)
BevBelobin’s Rails PS-2:
9994-2 (TLDX 2308 in LV colors)
These are both the old AHM kit, which represents an older, lower capacity version of the PS-2 covered hopper. This type never appeared in LV colors, with either LV or TLDX reporting marks! The real LV 51023 was built in Sayre shops from old quad coal hopper parts, and the real TLDX 2308 was rented by another railroad!

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