Many fans and collectors of the Standard gauge trains first manufactured by
Lionel in 1906, and then also made by the likes of Ives in 1921, Boucher
in 1923, American Flyer in 1925 and Dorfan in 1926, have often wondered what types of trains these
manufacturers would have produced if the Standard gauge had not been discontinued by the 1940's. In the later part of the 20th century some master craftsmen
and modelers made Standard gauge products that went beyond the imagined products of the earlier part of the century that were made by the larger manufacturers mentioned.
JAD Railways was a partnership consisting of Standard gauge model train builders John A. Daniel, Art W. Varney
and Richard 'Dick' Battaglia, making up the JAD initials, plus Jerry Brown as a 'silent' partner. The company was one of the small modern
era Standard gauge 3-rail innovative train manufacturers that popped up in the 1970's that took products to the next level. They built a limited
run Standard gauge Hiawatha set, a set of Standard gauge Rail Chief cars and a limited run Standard gauge Union Pacific M-10000 City of Portland streamliner set.
The Art Varney designed streamlined Milwaukee Road Hiawatha locomotive and tender were made in 1974 in a quantity of 250.
The aluminum cast loco and tinplate tender measured 34" long, weighed 14 pounds and featured over 275 parts, including an operating headlight and a 3 position reversing unit.
The headlight shined throughout the engine creating a lit firebox effect. The loco was trimmed in nickel and painted in glossy lacquer
colors to match the prototype. The tender had 200 simulated rivets on the body, an Ives type hatch cover, ladder, catwalk, fireman's pocket, and indented
chrome-like identification plates. It was carried by Ives 6-wheel trucks complete with brass journals, springs, and an automatic Ives coupler. Initial
offering price was $275 for engine and tender complete ready to run.
The 3-car articulated passenger set featuring the Minnewawa coach, Ishkooda coach, and Wenonah observation car came
out in 1976 for a price tag of $286. An extra car, a Diner was made available at that time as well for $85 to make up an impressive 4 car set.
150 of the 3 car sets were made and 50 of the Dining cars. The cars were joined via vestibules similar to the Lionel type used in
their pre-war 'O' gauge streamliners. The head end was die-cast, and the tail end was tinplate patterned like the authentic American Flyer pre-war beaver tail observation car.
These cars were initially offered to the purchasers of the locomotive and tender. Only half of the original buyers of the Hiawatha locos and tenders ended
up purchasing the car sets. A 3 car set with Hiawatha loco and tender could run on 42" radius track, despite being almost 8 feet long. Because the majority of customers
were not interested in purchasing the Hiawatha car sets, an excess of cars was created. The left over car bodies were refinished and sold either as red Twentieth
Century Ltd. Rail Chief type cars or were sold in the M-10000 city of Denver set. As a result, the Hiawatha cars are very rare and highly sought after today.
Each of the partners recieved a number of the trains at the end of the production.
The JAD red and maroon painted Rail Chief cars were released in 1978 with a new casting made for the Observation car's tail piece.
The M-10000 streamliner came out in 1980. Both the Hiawatha and the M-10000 locos were equipped with
McCoy super motors. Jerry Brown created the patterns for the JAD M-10000 nose and tail castings. Prior to the JAD
version of the M-10000 being produced, Jerry Brown had created and built his own version of a Standard gauge M-10000.
Jerry Brown also made a UP M-10005 City of Denver and an Illinois Central M-121 Green Diamond in Standard gauge. He also created Standard
gauge Rail Chief cars of his own design. In later conversations with John A. Daniel, he stated that he had made around 15 complete Rail-chief sets. These were
headed by an engine that was a Hiawatha streamlined loco painted in light grey with a red stripe. Daniel said that he also made some Hiawatha's in different
color schemes - some all white one's and all black one's. Every locomotive made had 5 coats of paint.
The subcontractor that was employed to produce the original JAD trains was still in possession of all tooling and dyes after production ceased
and without any knowledge nor consent of any JAD partner started producing counterfeit products and introducing them into the marketplace as original,
thereby devaluing the authentic JAD products' worth. Since these copies were made from the original tooling it is difficult for an untrained eye to detect an original from one
of these unathorized reproductions. After he discovered these fake reproductions were being offered for sale and advertised as
authentic JAD products, Dick Battaglia took action to ensure that no more were sold nor produced. Dick wanted to protect original customers from a
situation where the market would be flooded and originals would be devalued by the existence of inferior products. There is no way to determine how many unauthorized
reproductions were produced, but there is a way to distinguish the originals from the copies.
JAD Railway Lines operated from 1974 until 1983. Jerry Brown died in 1985. John A. Daniel passed away in 2011. Richard Battaglia passed in 2014.