HO Collector Photo Line

Northern Pacific’s A-3 4-8-4 steam locomotive from Pacific Fast Mail

What set brass apart in the hobby is apparent in this early 1970s Pacific Fast Mail HO-scale steam locomotive replica. Check out the piping and detail on and around the boiler.

Northern Pacific’s A-3 4-8-4 steam locomotive from Pacific Fast Mail

ABOVE: This view of a decorated Northern Pacific A-3 from Pacific Fast Mail’s 14th Edition Catalog is a later production run. Models at this time came in beautiful gold brass finish, but catalogs frequently presented them painted and decaled and placed in a scenic locale, such as this example credited to the collection of Preese Eiserbahn.

Built by Baldwin in the late 1930s, this big 4-8-4 Northern-type steam locomotive saw use by Northern Pacific as the road’s A-3 class (2660-2667) and similar locos worked neighboring Spokane, Portland & Seattle as that road’s E-1 class (SP&S 700-702). The A-3 class was a successor to NP’s A-2, which were very similar in appearance, with A-3s possessing larger flues and additional appliances, and this A-3 class lacked Wilson feedwater conditioner equipment included on the prior A-2.

Pacific Fast Mail imported its HO-scale hand-built brass replica in 1971, again in 1972, and a final 1970s run came in 1978.  The early 1970s Fujiyama production is reported at 150 examples for each release (1971 and 1972), according to the 2009 edition of Brass Trains Guide Price & Data Guide: Volume 2 (2009, Publishing Partners International); the 1978 production consisted of nearly 300 examples.

ABOVE: This example, offered for sale in 2021 by ReSourcedRails.com shows the green box this model came in, note the Fujiyama logo and “Crown” identification under PFM’s logo.

This was one of several brass replicas imported for Pacific Fast Mail’s catalog in the 1970s and produced by Fujiyama. This 4-8-4 Northern-type resided in PFM’s “Crown” series of higher end releases.


The model photos are by Matthew Dowd of ReSourced Rails (resourcedrails.com) and this example was recently sold by his company. Check ReSourced Rails website and sign up for notifications. Mr. Dowd specializes in offering vintage models (brass and some plastic reproductions) in various scales.


This article was posted on: March 12, 2021