This site is dedicated to my model railroad, the HO scale Virginia Midland Railroad. This layout comprises a 10X9 room with two levels. The upper level is about 95% complete and the lower level scenery has just begun.

I do a handful of train shows in the Virginia/Maryland region and go by the name of Virginia Midland Shops.
I also can help you find that freight car/locomotive or other hard to find item.

Email: stctigers@gmail.com
You tube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/Virginiamidlandrr/

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Modeling a specific prototype: Shapeways makes it possible to model a BQ23-7

I have always been interested in rare or different looking locomotives.  My personal favorite locomotive is the unique CF7.  Another odd and ugly looking locomotive is the BQ23-7.  The
BQ23-7 would actually set the standard for wide cab locomotives that we see today.  The Q stood for quarters which could comfortably house the crew of the train without a caboose.  As we know, the caboose's days were numbered.    It was mainly a different cab for a standard B23-7. The SCL ordered 10 of the BQ23-7's in the late 1970's.  They went to CSX through the merger in the mid 1980's and remained with CSX until the late 1990's.   As you might know, the BQ23-7 did not catch on and were actually considered dangerous by CSX.  They were rated to only trail position, reclassified as B units and even had their windows plated over.
The 10 BQ23-7's were all in FLS paint and were originally numbered 5130-5139 (Photo by Raymond Stewart RRpicturesarchives.net)

Windows plated over and rated as a B unit.  (Photo by Ken Roble  RRpicturesarchives.net)

CSX paint.  (Photo by Sam Beck RRpicturesarchives.net)

#3001B  (Photo by Richard Gorddard Beck RRpicturesarchives.net)

To model this locomotive, you have a few choices: a expensive OMI brass one (did see one for $300 one time) or the terrible Bachmann one from the 1990's.  They even painted one Chessie!  Enter Shapeways.  Shapeways is the a 3D printing company that's been around for a few years.  I accidentally stumbled on a N scale BQ23-7 cab while browsing the Shapeways offerings.  Of course this did not help me.  I emailed the producer and asked if he planning on making a HO one.  He promptly emailed me back that he was.  I finally could produce a quality BQ23-7 without a complete scratchbuild or breaking the bank.  Atlas produces the B23-7 now so one could be easily made. Shapeways has many different things for the HO modeler like complete freight cars, vehicles and tiny detail parts. Make sure you check out their  model trains page.  You just might find what your looking for!

The Shapeways BQ23-7 cab

Another view.  Primer gray has been added

Atlas undecorated B23-7

The shell fits right on the shell.


  1. Awesome cab!

    I see a MCIS SD40-3 with Wabtec Cab project in the future for VMS.

  2. Cool stuff. I still remember as a kid seeing this loco with drawings in the magazine and thinking how funky this thing looked! Nice project.

  3. I'm about half way done with one of these in N scale using the same Shapeways cab and an Atlas B23-7. You may well finish yours sooner.

    1. thanks Philip. I doubt it. I've had it for 2 years now!

  4. Lines South, ACL/SCL HS publication, third volume 2015 has a good article about these monstrosities. So ugly I found myself wanting to model one, ha ha. Have not used any Shapeways items yet. Is the casting a bit rough needing cleanup? I've heard all kinds of stories about these being from very rough to very smooth. Look forward to more info on this beast. All the best, mike-g.

    1. This was one of the first offerings for the cab. It's a little rough from the pics. The newer one look better and are smoother. They even offer the plated over ones!