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Cagney Brothers History Cagney built small Eight-Wheelers from the late Nineteenth Century until the late 1920s. It is very likely that these trains were the first purpose-built, mass-produced park trains. They were certainly the inspiration for Ken William's early Crown trains. Today, Cagneys are a bit on the rare side, but a few can still be found scattered all over the place -- there's even one on static display in Cuba!
The Cagney brothers (there were four, Timothy G., David H., Charles L., and Thomas G.) didn't actually build the locomotives themselves. The actual construction was handled by McGarigle Machine Company. A few Cagney locomotives of identical design to the McGarigle engines were also built by Herschell Spillman, but McGarigle was by far the bigger manufacturer.
McGarigle was actually the founder of the modern park train. The same basic 4-4-0 (a miniature of the New York Central's #999) that was later marketed by the Cagney brothers was first produced by McGarigle in 1885. Tim Cagney bought one in that year. Within two years he was married to Winnie McGarigle.
Cagney produced about 1300 locomotives of six classes, according to a leaflet the company put out in the 1930s. The Class A probably consisted of a single live-steam 4-4-0 running on 9 1/2" gauge track. This is actually a McGarigle engine built in 1885. The Class B was apparently a lone 12 5/8" gauge eight-wheel steamer built for the Omaha fair in 1898. Class C was the standard 12 5/8" gauge 4-4-0, of which several hundred were built prior to 1910. The Class D had the largest production and was the 15" gauge American type. There were apparently two versions of this engine. The "light" version was slightly shorter than the "heavy" version and had a straight boiler instead of a wagon-top. In a March/April 1994 article in Live Steam, Don Michletti suggested that the "light" version was built using leftover parts from the 12 5/8" gauge locos. There were also a half-dozen or so Class E 22" gauge eight-wheelers built.
In 1923, Cagney built an experimental steam-outline gas-powered 4-6-2. Production of this design, powered by a Ford Model A engine, began in 1929. About 50 units were produced. By the following year, the last Class D had been delivered. The shop supported the war effort during WWII, and considered returning to park trains when the war ended. However, others were already competing with them in the park train market, and the shop closed in 1948. Back to Welcome Page Back to History Page Spotting Features:
Cagney steam locomotives have a distinctive look which features a high boiler and small, scale sized cab. The drivers are relatively small for the engine they support. Except for the undersized drive wheels, the Cagney is a miniature version of the New York Central Railroad's famed #999, now on display in Chicago.
For obvious reasons, the C-class engines are smaller than their larger D- and E-class cousins. The C-class engines can be identified by the relative size of the operator. With the larger trains, the operator is able to get his feet inside of the train; this is not possible with the 12 5/8" gauge trains.
The C-class engines were apparently made in two variations. The earlier engines have a smaller, wagon-top boiler and lighter frame. The later locomotives have a straight-top boiler and beefed-up frame. These two versions are commonly referred to as the "light" and "heavy" Class C versions, respectively. 
The 15" gage Class D engine is, of course, larger than the diminutive 12 5/8" gage Class C. It can be distinguished from the smaller locomotive by the fact that the operator has somewhere to put his feet inside of the train. However, the operator and passengers are still the most prominent features of the train.
The Class E is a very large 4-4-0 operating on 22" gage track. The undersized drivers are even more pronounced in this largest park version of NYC #999. The engine is still a miniature rather than an attempt to create a narrow-gage locomotive, with its scale-sized cab. However, it has a much better proportion to its crew and passengers than the smaller Cagneys. This is one of the few park trains that passengers can be said to ride in rather than on.
The styling of the “Pacific” was copied from the New York Central's famed "Commodore Vanderbilt" locomotive, North America's first streamlined locomotive. The gasoline-powered, steam-outline locomotive was produced in relatively limited quantities until the company folded. The distinctive styling of this train is unlikely to be confused with anything else. A non-streamlined version was also offered, which featured the word “Cagney” embossed on the smokebox front.