When I was young, I loved looking through my father’s books of train pictures. These books were from the 1960s and 1970s, so they were mostly nostalgic and/or gritty essays on the demise of steam. But amongst all the steam there were a few trains which really captured my imagination – big, colourful diesel trains completely different from the preserved steam I knew from the UK or the boring stainless-steel EMUs of 1990s Queensland.
Exotic though they may have seemed to my younger self, colourful GM EMD cab units really are the quintessential diesel locomotive, so it’s only natural that when looking to create a fictitious but relatable train set, this was the place to start.
1250 hp, 168 km/h
The name Chief was derived from the ATSF Super Chief, probably the most well-known use of this style of locomotive. The Chief was the first locomotive I created for Pineapple, as the FAB had been the first locomotive I created for my original 8bpp 10CC concept grf back in 2013. For Pineapple, though, the concept had to be simplified. The FAB, as the name suggests, had both “FA” and “FB” units – for Pineapple, I wanted no variable graphics and flippable locomotives, so the cabless B units had to go. On the other hand, the variety and brightness of American railroad liveries suggested one of the major features of Pineapple – the different livery schemes for each company colour.
2150 hp, 184 km/h
The design for the second diesel locomotive in Pineapple Trains was less of an obvious choice. As many of you will know, in the past I’ve modelled primarily British railways – my Class 37 for Trainz, or the UK Railway Set for OpenTTD – so as you can imagine a double-cab, British style locomotive was a strong contender. However, on the shortened frame of an OpenTTD locomotive, it’s quite hard to have a cab on either end and have enough room in the middle for a powerful-looking engine/generator section. The decision to attribute this locomotive to the same fictional company as the earlier Chief suggested an obvious alternative; as the carbody F-unit was replaced in EMD’s lineup by the hood unit GP series, so the Chief would be replaced by the Lincoln.The Lincoln’s visual styling draws its inspiration mainly from American EMD hood units of the 1970s, particularly the GP38. However, of course, similarly-styled locomotives ran all over the world, from all manufacturers. Here in Queensland, the home of Pineapple Trains, we even had English Electric units mechanically very similar to British diesels but with hood-style bodywork:
600 hp, 112 km/h
I had not originally intended to include any Diesel Multiple Units in the set. However, on testing early versions, the need for a light passenger train in the early game period really stood out. The Motron was intended to look “quick and dirty”, or “cheap and easy” – it is literally a standard passenger car with a small engine added to the underframe and an exhaust pipe running up one end. One of my major inspirations for this simple modification from passenger cars to self-propelled units was the Queensland Rail SXA cars which I previously modelled for Trainz; an American Budd design which was intended to be converted when the Brisbane network was electrified in the 1970s.
160 hp, 88 km/h
Just as an iconic GM product was the inspiration for the first Pineapple Train, an iconic GM product is the inspiration for the first Pineapple Road Vehicle.
This mid-game express bus is, rather obviously, based primarily on the GM Scenicruiser, a very striking coach design created exclusively for Greyhound Lines in the USA. There are a few other influences, most notably the “Chinese six” wheel arrangement borrowed from the British Bedford VAL. Besides the Greyhound, a number of AMF trucks are planned for Pineapple Road Vehicles; there’ll be more information on those over the coming months.
While AMF is probably the most “American” vehicle manufacturer in Pineapple Trains, I don’t think it’s fair to say that it makes the set overly American. Rather, AMF represents the golden age of American industrial exports, when heavy diesels based on GM designs were used all over the world, from Norway to Australia.