The Tenshodo D-1 train set (illustrated above) contained two locomotives (one powered, one dummy), six corrugated side streamlined passenger cars and an oval of track. The cars:
The 5th Edition of the Tenshodo catalog shows that these sets were available in Canadian Pacific, New York Central or Santa Fe livery.
The Tenshodo D-1A train set contained two locomotives (one powered, one dummy), five smooth side streamlined passenger cars and an oval of track. The Tenshodo catalog does not show the composition of cars in this set, but it would approximate what was available in the D-1 set.
The 5th Edition of the Tenshodo catalog shows that these sets were available in Canadian National, Chicago & Northwestern, Great Northern, Pennsylvania Railroad and Union Pacific livery.
The firm Pacific Fast Mail (“PFM”) was founded in 1953 by William McKinley Ryan, a Seattle businessman. Much of this company’s history was covered in a book by Phil & Ruth Kohl, “Pacific Fast Mail...” [page 63], indicates that there were two D-1 and two D-1A sets imported by PFM, one each in 1955 and and one each in 1956. The Kohl book also indicates that the D-1A was also available in Milwaukee Road and Southern Pacific liveries. The sets were imported with locomotives and cars only, no track or transformer.
Considering the quantities involved, it is likely that these four sets were imported for promotional purposes, with one each being given to the model railroad magazines or key dealers for evaluation and possible promotion by reviews in the press. The “Milwaukee Road” livery would have been a natural for Kalmbach Publishing, which is based in the Milwaukee area. Also tantalizing is the fact that one Milwaukee Road smooth side baggage car was imported in 1958, presumably as a compliment to a Milwaukee Road D-1A set.
The First Export Items
For about three years, Tenshodo and PFM tested the United States market for their passenger cars.
In 1955, in addition to two D sets, seven car kits, painted in an unspecified livery, were imported by PFM.
In 1956, in addition to two additional D sets, thirteen Santa Fe corrugated side cars and one New York Central car were imported. In addition, eighteen smooth side unpainted kits were imported by PFM.
In 1957, the pace started to pick up: