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Besides being big, the car was built to test a number of other inovations, such as the "whale belly" dual-diameter tank. The cross-section of the tank resembled a figure "8," with a horizontal shelf stiffening the car along the dimples in its sides. Other innovations included lock-up end ladders to keep trespassers off the top of the car and duplicate unloading fittings accessible at the top or mid-side of the car.
Union Tank Car never built another RailWhale, however, the 83699 did remain in the ORER for 20 years. The big car was successfully tested by major petroleum companies and carried promotional advertising from several of them, but it was never duplicated. While a few production RailWhales were almost as big the UTLX car – 34 ESMX cars at 48,000 gallons and three CELX cars at 47,000 – these cars used simple single-diameter tanks. UTLX 83699 did prove that 4-truck tank cars were a sound concept, as 273 similar cars were built before a Federal regulation ended production in November 1970, and some remained in service until they reached the AAR's retirement age of 40.
UTLX 83600 was donated to the the Galveston Island Railroad Museum in 1983, 12 years after GATX 96500 had gone to the National Museum of Transport in St. Louis. During Hurricane Ike in 2008 UTLX 83699 floated up off its trucks and onto the adjacent parking lot. It was subsequently scrapped after the museum decided that it would be too expensive to relocate the car.
In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.
Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30, 1949, the Atlas Tool Company was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.
In 1985, Steve was honored posthumously for his inventions by the Model Railroad Industry Association and was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, Steve was nominated and entered into the National Model Railroad Association Pioneers of Model Railroading in 1995.
In the early 1990s, the Atlas Tool Company changed its name to Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc.
On July 15, 2005 ROCO Modellspielwaren GmbH was declared bankrupt. From July 25 the company continues as Modelleisenbahn GmbH, but still uses the Roco brand and associated logo. On October 1, 2007, distribution of the 'Minitank' product series was assigned to the German model car manufacturer Herpa.
Since February 2008 Modelleisenbahn also owns Fleischmann, which like Roco had gone bankrupt. The two companies continue as separate brands under Modelleisenbahn GmbH, while benefiting from economies of scale through joined development projects, marketing and procurement.
Item created by: gdm on 2016-03-03 08:25:48. Last edited by gdm on 2018-09-14 09:17:33
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