February 08, 2016

Podcast Interview, Consumer Direct Decision

We were recently asked by Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine to offer insight into ExactRail’s decision to be consumer-direct. Beginning on May 1, 2012, releases from ExactRail will be available exclusively from exactrail.com. If you are interested in the back story to this decision, we invite you to listen:



We have taken a strong position. It is one that will allow ExactRail to continue raising the bar.

Best regards,

January 04, 2016

McCloud Railway: Goodbye, My Elusive Friend

McCloud Railroad Boxcar Close up

As a young railfan in Utah, I fed from the trough of Utah-based railroads—which
primarily consisted of D&RGW, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific and Western Pacific.
That said, I always had an affinity for the McCloud River Railway, and I always
hoped to see the railroad first hand.

Of course, McCloud River Railway Rolling Stock was familiar. In the 1980's, the
Bear-clad Plate B Double Door Box Cars were peppered into D&RGW lumber trains.
They came with just enough frequency to be consistently remarkable on a diet of the
ever-present SP Hydra-Cushion cars. How I would love to revisit the days of the SP
Hydra-Cushions lumber trains.
In April 1988, the Union Pacific leased McCloud River motive power. MR units #36
and 37 were used in Salt Lake and Provo based assignments, and for a young eleven
year old on a BMX bike, they were the most exciting game in town. I remember
these units dragging gondolas into the sprawling Geneva Steel Mill in Orem, Utah.
Some McCloud fans have commented that Utah was not kind to the MR units,
suggesting that they were returned considerably faded, 13 months later.

I was exposed to the McCloud River Railway. But so long as I was standing in Utah,
they could never come together to give the real McCloud experience. In June of
2012, I traveled to McCloud, CA to photograph what remained of the railroad. Still
familiar, the pieces are as ghosts in the forest. The equipment is derelict and awaits
final disposition.

December 02, 2015

Truck Side Frames Stencils in 1/87” scale

Have you noticed reporting marks or other stencils on truck side frames?

Stencils of this kind are common to contemporary freight cars. ExactRail introduced stencils to truck side frames with our HO scale release of the Trinity 64' TRINCool Reefer. With our Magor (pronounced MAY-gor) 4750 Covered Hopper, we have replicated these stencils anew on the contemporary repaint versions of this model.


Giving attention to the small lettering on truck side frames is another example of how ExactRail is closing the gap between the prototype and models. Of course, we do this to provide our customers with the most authentic models. We hope you enjoy the results.

November 23, 2015

Creating Bethlehem Hopper Loads

Creating realistic loads for ExactRail's Bethlehem hoppers reflects our passion for superb execution. We did not feel as though it was enough to design loads in a computer-generated environment. The curves and proportions of a heap load are nuanced; and we know what it should look like when correctly rendered. Unless we could hold it in our hand, look at in the car, and see it from all angles, we felt that we would be at risk of missing the mark in some subtle way. So, we struck a different path.

For the loads of the Bethlehem hoppers, ExactRail created resin masters. Over the course of days, these loads were carefully filed to shape by hand. When we felt like we had the perfect shape, we evaluated. Then, we refined. The next day, we would look at the project with fresh eyes, and we would refine again. After well over a week of revisions, we arrived at a place where amendments were the subtlest changes of curve and form. Not until then were we were absolutely confidant that the look and feel of heap load had been accurately captured.

Bethlehem 3737 Heap Load

Have we gone too far?

Yes, we have--absolutely. We have completely lost our minds; but the new heap-style loads from ExactRail are spectacular, and along with similarly accurate flood style loads, they will be available with the upcoming release of Bethlehem hoppers


Happy Railroading!

Blaine Hadfield

VP - Product

November 16, 2015

How to Become a model railroader

How to Become a Model Railroader

We want everyone to find the fun and satisfaction that comes from being a Model Railroader. Click the below infographic to explore an infographic we created to get you started!

Click Here to Check out the infographic!

November 09, 2015

SP Caboose, Modena UT Drybrush


While returning from the Western Prototype Modelers Meet in April 2013, we had the opportunity to visit various railroad locales along the way.
In the picture above, Southern Pacific C-50-9 caboose #4742 and a short cut of Maintenance of Way equipment occupy the wye at Modena, Utah on April 14, 2013. Isolated and remote, Modena is in the western reaches of the great Escalante desert. Few travel the bi-way that brings one to this desolate place, and very few call Modena home.
That said, Modena has a few, very attractive period structures; it also has a Harriman-style water tank. One of only two left on Union Pacific's Los Angeles and Salt Lake system!

Happy Railroading!

Blaine Hadfield, VP Product

November 06, 2015

Does this look familiar to you?

Thrall 2244 Gondola

On May 29, 2013, CNW gondola #741011 was delivered to Pleasant Grove, Utah. This was of interest to us, because in December 2011, ExactRail released a model of this exact number, CNW 741011, when we released the Thrall 2244 Gondola!

Thrall’s heavy top-chord, 15-panel 2244 gondolas are a relatively unique prototype. Rock Island and Detroit, Toledo & Ironton were the only original owners of 2244 gondola with these unique variations.  These cars were later parted out to the CNW, Conrail, Union Pacific and South Shore railroads.  The CNW received these cars from the Rock, and they were repainted into the North Western’s Clinton Green scheme in 1987.

We photographed the interior of the car for those of you who would like a photo reference for weathering.  Have you ever seen a gondola with such a clean interior?

Click HERE to see the Model

Happy Railroading

Blaine Hadfield, VP


November 03, 2015

Are you ready to visit model train museums?


You can witness the winding journey of railroading, but you have to do it right. Model railroad museums allow everyone to enjoy and educate themselves on the rich history of railroading. New-comers and model train hobbyists alike find the awe behind the detail and displays in every museum, but if you haven’t experienced it yet, we can help.

There are diverse museums around the country that showcase authentic and historical train sets, as well as other train treasures and must-sees. We’ve created a blueprint of what you need to know and where you should go in order to maximize the amazing. Before you chug along, check this out!

 To See this full size CLICK HERE










October 30, 2015

When Skydiving is Railfanning

Model Railroading is a diverse hobby: enthusiasts enjoy history—when it’s railroad history, photography when it’s railroad photography, road trips—when it’s chasing trains, and many other things all on account of the hobby. Now, it can be said that some enthusiasts enjoy skydiving—when skydiving is an opportunity to railfan Union Pacific’s Riverdale Yard near Ogden, UT.

My brother and I began skydiving together. In the last two years, I haven’t had the disposable time that I once had. Yet, my brother is persistent, and he always finds creative ways to persuade me to get out of the plane at thirteen thousand feet. Knowing my real passion, this is his most compelling argument to date.

For anyone who needs to study a track plan or a new view on scenery, may I make a suggestion?

Happy Railroading!

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