A-5 Pennsy - 'Yardbird'
A-5 Pennsy - "Yardbird"
YARDBIRD CLASSIC TRAINS

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John English Model Information

Examples of John English Projects

 

John A. English began his model manufacturing in the late 40's with the introduction of his famous A-5 Pennsylvania switcher locomotive, the "Yardbird".  I am not ashamed to say that I have a "soft spot" in my heart for this little guy.  The fact is, my father, Donald R. Bush, began our family HO interest when he saved enough scrap metal to purchase one of these locomotive kits.  I remember as a very small boy watching this little loco pulling a few old Silver Streak cars around the hand laid track on his 4 x 8 layout in the basement.  Those moments were what sparked my interest in the hobby, and I'm still excited about it some 40 years later.  By the way, I have Dad's Yardbird restored and on my layout today.  I probably don't have to tell you where the name of our business came from.

John English also included a 4-6-2 Pacific and 2-8-2 Mikado to his line of steamers.  His die-cast metal kits were of the simplest design, and were quickly assembled.  The molds included a lot of detailing and actually put out a nice looking locomotive for the money.  The mechanisms were also simple and ran smoothly when properly assembled and adjusted.  John kept everything simple, and it paid off for him as thousands of his models were sold accross the nation.  He did not include valve gear with his models, but Central Valley took care of that for him.   

English also offered an ALCO diesel A & B combination that could be assembled with the same ease as the steam loco kits.  These were also all metal and ran very smoothly with loads of power to pull nice sized trains. 

To complete his roster, John offered an all metal coach kit and combination car kit for passenger trains.  These kits came in a simple 2 piece form and required only snapping the metal floor onto the body.  The modeler had to put on the trucks of his choosing.  The result was a nicely weighted passenger car that was just the right size for even the smaller layouts.   

John English sold his company to Hobby Line products in the mid 50's, and they continued to manufacture only the Yardbird and the ALCO diesel units in plastic versions.  The new company added several plastic freight cars to their line. 

Today, John English locomotives can still be found in antique shops, train shows, swap meets, and on-line auctions.  Several are still in operation on layouts today. We need to be careful to acknowledge the important contributions that John English added to this hobby.

We offer all of  John English's models (check for availability) or will refurbish your worn model for you.  We will also custom build these locos for you, being very careful to detail them using the techniques of their era. 

We also carry several of the obsolete parts for these locomotives.  Check with us for availability. 

 

Yardbird Classic Trains

Vintage John A. English HO Restoration and Repairs

1947 Mantua Goat Standard John English "Yardbird"


Custom John English Pacific


Custom John English Pacific


Custom John English Pacific

Standard John English Pacific

Mantua / Tyco

Varney

John English

Bowser

Penn Line

MDC/Roundhouse

Misc


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Information & Examples | John English