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Great Northern “Baby streamliner”, 1947-1952

Great Northern “Baby streamliner”, 1947-1952

Fred Klein, 2010, 2016

The “Baby streamliner”, trains #237 and #238, was a feeder train that provided service to Great Falls Montana from Havre. Havre, Montana is on the GN mainline where the Empire Builder made a connecting stop.  The baby started operation with this refurbished consist in 1947, when the Empire Builder was streamlined with new equipment painted green and Omaha orange. The train was cancelled in 1952 when it was replaced by bus service.


Exact models of the cars in this train are not made, but I have factory painted approximations. Instead of an NW5, I use a Life like SW8 switcher. Kato makes an NW2, but not yet in the GN color scheme. The Wheels of Time heavyweight 60’ baggage-express car approximates the one in the photo, but truss rods must be added along with door changes to duplicate this prototype. The train had a rebuilt heavyweight coach painted in Empire Builder colors, and the factory built Rivarossi car would need a new roof with air conditioning ducts installed. The Rivarossi heavyweight observation is an approximation to the rebuilt Café-parlor-observation used on the baby streamliner. This is truly a “pike sized” train.



The “Baby streamliner” is described with this photo on page 75 of John Strauss’s book Great Northern Pictorial volume 3 (Four Ways West, 1993).


Prototype Car

Prototype number

Model car

Model number


NW5 hood diesel

GN 194

SW8 hood diesel

GN 98

Life like

Baggage (HWT)

GN 362

60' Baggage (HWT)

GN 356

Wheels of time

Rebuilt coach (HWT)

GN 962

Coach (HWT)

GN 913



GN 1059 Robert Ford

Observation (HWT)

GN 1192








The whole train



The model train with factory painted cars looks good, but the cars are similar to the prototype train.





Strauss, John, Great Northern Pictorial volume 3, Four Ways West, 1993, page75.