A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

September 1, 2014

More Projects.....DODX 41000 Series Flat Cars, books and visitors

The past few weeks have been very busy here with lots of projects under way. The first bit of news is the pilot models of the photo etched HO scale model for the DODX 41000 series flat cars are ready. The pilot worked out well. There are few minor modifications to make and the car will be ready for sale. It includes photo etched brass, a laser cut acrylic core and 3D printed detail parts.

In the meantime, work continues on the Lincoln Funeral car and the Thurmond coal dock model.

If that wasn't enough work, I signed a new contract with Kalmbach Publishing to do a fourth book, tentatively called "45 Track Plans." This book will be a departure from my first track plan book because it will include many more track plans, but each layout theme will not be covered in as much detail as compared to my first book. The new book will tap my layout design notebooks from nearly twenty years of drawing designs for model railroads for railroads from Z to G scale.

Over Labor Day Weekend, the Aquia Line had some more visitors. Today Dave Olsen visited. He is a Duke graduate mechanical engineer now an Army Major (soon to be Lt Colonel) with an Armored Cavalry background. He provided me with dozens of prototype photos of the DODX car. He is getting ready to deploy to Pakistan as a Military Liaison. I gave him a copy of the pilot model kit to help him pass the time and to wish him well.

Yesterday, Joe and Carol Post, and Amy and Gary Spears visited. Amy and Gary are architects from Kentucky near Cincinnati. Gary comes from a long family of railroad men, mostly for the Southern Railroad. He quit school and worked as an agent operator for the L&N for a while. He decided he did not like it and went back to school to be an architect. He seemed to enjoy the layout, but advised me to play more golf!


  1. Many years ago as I was sitting at my desk in the TRADOC System Manager's Office for the Abrams Tank, where I was the Engineering and Logistics Officer the phone rang off the hook. At the other end was a gentleman from Transportation Development Office asking if I would become the Combat Development Officer for the DODX Flat Cars to be used to transport the Abrams? The desperation in his voice was at the max. Being a “hard charging Armor Officer having the time of his life in the development of then new Abrams tank, I first asked what would be required of me if I accepted this “position?” The story that emanated from the phone was from a truly desperate Material Developer who had just been denied by the both the folks at the Transportation School at Fort Eustis and the Logistics Center at Fort Lee. It seemed that none of the organization cared if the new flat car, which was very much needed to move the new Abrams within the Continental limits of the US was of interest to him. So after a couple of minutes of discussion, I quickly visited my and boss and told if we wanted the flat cars, I had a new additional duty. So a quick call to HQ TRADOC and my new funding line I became the “official Combat Developer for the DODX flat car.

    Having been a railfan for all of my life (my mother reported finding me down by the cylinders of a NYC Pacific on the Toledo to Detroit passenger train in 1945.) I found I had to write up a couple of test reports and then provide the User’s Requirement for the Flat. Having a great secretary in those days, she produced these documents and after a couple of wonderful trips to Aberdeen Proving Grounds where I got to operate one of their ALCO RS units banging around the Flat into a couple of other cars to ensure the flats and tanks could stand up to the stress of an “untrained” engine operator. I ended up in the Pentagon where I was able to stand up and validate that the “User” felt the car was of adequate design to support the fielding and movement of the Abrams. This was a more fun than the afternoon I spent in the CSX yards in Lima OH where I was offered the right seat of a CSX GP-40 doing yard switching.

    Army life was really tough.

  2. Great story. I would love to see the requirements document if you still have it.

    I spent nearly 24 years involved in operational and live fire testing of Army vehicles. I first got involved with the Abrams as part of the M1A1 Follow-On test at Ft Bliss. I also worked the M2A3, all the Strykers, Pedestal Mounted Stinger, ADATS LOSF, AHIP (Paladin), PLS, FMTV, Heavy HMMWV and several others we can't mention.

    1. Bernie,
      Sorry, about the only thing I have is the photos of the testing there at APG.

  3. Those HO cars are awesome, are they going to be available to purchase? They would be perfect for the MTVRs that I just 3D printed!

  4. Yes, they should be ready for sale in a month or 5 weeks.

  5. Do these kits still exist?
    How might I get my hands on some?

    1. Please check my website - www.alkemscalemodels.com for the latest status of the kits.