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ExactRail Model Railroad Blog

July 2, 2014 12:07:45 PM MDT

With great sorrow, ExactRail recognizes the passing railroad historian and friend Richard Hendrickson. Richard’s contribution to our community is most significant. He will be missed. We wish Richard’s family and friends our very best.


Richard, may you rest forever in peace.

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

May 20, 2014 12:51:00 AM MDT

ExactRail traveled to the Nevada border to railfan Union Pacific's #4014 "Big Boy" steam locomotive.  Even in the far-off desert places of Nevada and Utah, groups of people lined the right of way--many of whom were not railfans or model railroaders.  Yet, they all had reasons to take interest in the movement of this historic locomotive.

When the train passed a local rancher who was waiting near us, there were tears in her eyes.  She recalled being a young girl and her father was a steam locomotive engineer.  The right of way passed within close proximity of their family ranch house, and she would sometimes see her father's waiving hand. We watched Union Pacific's #4014 pass within a few hundred yards of that same house. (This location is in our video at the 2:03 minute mark.)

We applaud Union Pacific for its heritage steam program!

If you would like to see more, please watch our #844 video.  It is found at


Happy railroading,

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

January 29, 2014 9:32:09 PM MST

With the third release of the Evans 4780 Covered Hopper, ExactRail is proud to offer three of the most popular paint schemes from previous releases: Erie Western, ADM '1979 As Delivered' and Missouri Kansas Texas.  That said, these models aren't re-releases in the traditional sense.  They feature all new artwork that meets our standards for accuracy--all the way down to meticulously agonizing over the lettering fonts of the smallest characters. 

Just how far did we go?

Take a look at the graphic we've created comparing the old vs. the new.  Our benchmarks for accuracy are the highest in the industry.

Evans 4780 New Artwork Comparison

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

January 14, 2014 8:02:13 PM MST

In October 2013, ExactRail traveled to Seattle, WA for the Pacific Northwest Railroad Prototype Modelers meet! The event organizers produced a video from segments of the Question and Answer discussion. In this video, ExactRail's Blaine Hadfield discusses topics related to product development, state of the industry, and promoting the hobby.

Thank you to the PNW RPM organizers for hosting one of the Northwest’s premier events!

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

January 4, 2014 12:54:24 PM MST


In October of 2013, ExactRail attended the Pacific Northwest Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet in Monroe, WA.  Blaine Hadfield, Vice President, spoke on the development of ExactRail’s Bethlehem hopper project.  The Pacific Northwest Railroad Prototype crew produced a 16-minute excerpt from Blaine’s presentation, which was hour and a half in duration.

In this video, Blaine discusses the unique, structural features of the Bethlehem prototypes and compares the nuanced lettering types of some of the Missouri Pacific paint schemes. 

ExactRail’s Bethlehem 3483 Hopper was released in November and is available at  The Bethlehem 3737 Hopper will be released in March.

Thank you to the Pacific Northwest Railroad Prototype organization this year’s prototype meet!  We look forward to next year’s event!

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

October 10, 2013 12:31:00 PM MDT

ExactRail will present at the Missouri Pacific Historical Society (MPHS) annual convention in Pueblo, CO on October 12, 2013. Blaine Hadfield will speak on Missouri Pacific’s Bethlehem 3737 Hoppers. He will give an overview of the prototype, detail the differences between the Bethlehem 3737 and its sister, the Bethlehem 3483, and compare in nuanced detail the paint schemes of the various lots of MP 3737 hoppers. Finally, Blaine will speak about the development of the Bethlehem 3737 hopper project for ExactRail.

We hope that you can attend with us!

We are proud to be invited guests of the MPHS convention; thank you to the MPHS for preserving and promoting one of America’s great railroads!

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

October 9, 2013 9:51:59 PM MDT

Heap Load

Heap Load

Creating realistic loads for ExactRail’s Bethlehem’s 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.

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.

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

August 20, 2013 7:34:50 PM MDT

APA Composite 800 Vista A and Office Herald

When one thinks of Arizona railroads, one generally does not think of the forest industry.  One thinks of expansive desert vistas—the kind which inspired the venerable Chief campaigns of the Santa Fe art departments.  However, Arizona is a beautiful state with great diversity, and this diversity includes vast pine covered plateaus—like this picture we took while in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on our way to photograph the Apache Railway.

Apache-Sitegreaves National Forest, near Snowflake, Arizona

The Apache Railway serves forest industry by connecting the Hackman-owned paper mill in Snowflake, AZ to the BNSF at Holbrook, AZ.  To the railroad community, the Apache Railway is recognized as a last stronghold for Alco power.  The railroad operates Alco C420s and C424s, and it stores RS-36s in a deadline for parts.  In more ways than one, the Apache Railway is true anomaly.  And, it continues operations in relative obscurity of the great Arizona expanse.

Apache 820

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

August 8, 2013 10:16:11 PM MDT

Pelle Soeeborg's Trenton Work 67’-11 Bulkhead Flat in HO Scale

Pelle Soeeborg photographed the all-new ExactRail Trenton Works 67’-11 Bulkhead Flatcar on his Union Pacific Danville Subdivision HO scale layout.  Thank you Pelle for sharing the photo with us!  We think that the model could not look more at home.

If you would like to see more of Soeeborg’s layout, please click here or look to the pages of Model Railroader magazine where Pelle is an active contributor. Of course, you are welcome you to browse our lineup of Trenton Works 67’-11 Bulkhead Flatcars.

There are some truly talented individuals in this hobby.  Thank you to everyone who shares your photos and videos with us!

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

August 2, 2013 2:15:00 PM MDT

New From ExactRail!

While attending the St. Louis Prototype Modelers meet, ExactRail unveiled the all-new HO Scale Bethlehem 3737 Hopper!  Purchased in quantity by the Missouri Pacific and Chicago and North Western railroads, the Bethlehem 3737 Hopper is a major constituent of the family of western coal hoppers from the1970 and forward.  In short, this car is everywhere west!  

This all-new model is the sister to the Bethlehem 3483 Hopper—which ExactRail previewed at the National Train Show in Atlanta, Georgia!

Details matter.  There are no shortcuts.

Other than the wheels and couplers, there is no shared tooling or components between ExactRail’s 3737 and 3483 models whatsoever!  We have spared no expense to ensure the details of these prototypes are accurately rendered.  For the first time ever, you can purchase highly authentic models of the major fleets of modern steel coal cars for the Rio Grande, Great Northern, Burlington, Burlington Northern, Chicago and North Western and Missouri Pacific and subsidiary roads.

The Bethlehem 3737 Hopper will feature accurate details from top to bottom; these include: Wine single door locks, slack adjuster and guard between the hopper bays, vertically mounted brake-cylinder lever, floor mounted air reservoir, accurate top and corner gusset details—which differ between the Bethlehem 3737 and 3483, and much more.

Production line art

Please watch for a future blog where we give details on the nuanced differences of the paint schemes between Missouri Pacific’s subsidiary road and detail what we have done to accurately capture these differences!

Please watch the Announcement’s Tab on ExactRail’s homepage for more details on the Bethlehem 3737 Hopper. They will be made available as we get closer to a release!

Blaine Hadfield Vice President, Product ExactRail

Posted in ExactRail Blog

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