Who created the first Eggliner?
According to legend… Lewis Polk, President of Aristo-Craft trains discovered and created the Eggliner. At the time Aristo-Craft was one of the largest manufacturer of Large Scale Trains. Mr. Polk had introduced some Streamline Passenger Cars that were made from aluminum. The problem was it would be very expensive to make the end caps for the observation cars the same way, so they made them from a plastic mold.
At first the end caps were painted plastic and they did not match. Aristo-Craft changed to a process where they would nickel plate the end caps and they really did look a lot better.
The story is told that Mr. Polk was sitting in his office one day looking at these new end caps and put two of them back to back. Also sitting on his desk was one of the new motor block from one of his engines. He noticed that if you put the end caps back to back they would fit right on top of the motor block. So he had his people in the office, glue them together and place them on the motor block. The Eggliner was born.
History of the Eggliner
Once the egg was out of the nest it was an instant success. At train shows you would see dozens, (pun intended), of Eggliners running on circles of track. The kids loved the whimsical nature of the Eggliners. There was something cute and fun watching the Eggliners chase each other around the track.
If you went to a local train show that featured Large Scale or a National Convention you would see an Eggliner. There were a few in the hobby that thought they were the abomination of desolation to Large Scale. Guess what? They were a hit and they were here to stay.
As Eggliners’ popularity grew, so did the number of road names. At last count there were at least a dozen different designs. There were real road names like Santa Fe. There was the popular Lady Bug and Honey Bee. There was even an illegal “Presidential” Eggliner. Aristo-Craft never got a licence from the White House.
Aristo-Craft went of of business and everyone assumed it was the end of the Eggliner. After they did go belly up, Bachmann Trains stepped forward and picked up the mantel. Bachmann Trains now has Eggliners in several new and old road names. Plus, it makes them better then before!
One thing that Bachmann did to improve the Eggliner was by making the unit all once piece. The original Aristo-Craft Eggliners had a issue over time that the two pieces of the cab ends would come apart. (Cheap glue) The egg would crack so to speak. It is really nice to see the new Bachmann Eggliners without the seam.
Was there ever a “real” Eggliner?
Many people are fixated on the word prototype. If it is not real why should they make it or why should I run it on my railroad? Well there is good news for people that want to make sure the Eggliners are prototypical.
This is a undated photo of a Eggliner that was used as an office in a train yard. No one is sure how this came to be or where it was located. Some say Area 51.