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N Scale - Atlas - 39836 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel, C&O - Erie - 246

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N Scale - Atlas - 39836 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel, C&O - Erie - 246 Image Courtesy of Atlas Model Railroad


Stock Number 39836
Original Retail Price $21.95
Brand Atlas
Manufacturer Atlas
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Atlas Caboose Cupola C&O
Prototype Vehicle Caboose, Cupola, Steel, C&O (Details)
Road or Company Name Erie (Details)
Reporting Marks ERIE
Road or Reporting Number 246
Paint Color(s) Red/Black
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Release Date 2008-12-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety C&O
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era NA Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Atlas introduced this model in 2008. From the get-go, this has been a Trainman model with slightly less detail and a lower price point than Atlas' Master line products. The "39" Series caboose carries a cupola almost in the exact middle of the body. It does NOT have a raised roofwalk like the NE-6. Instead the rooflwalks are molded into the roof. It does have ladders which "loop over" the roof. It carries two large windows on each side as well as two separated smaller windows on each side of the cupola. The smokestack is taller than the one on the NE-6. This model has always featured body-mounted Accumate couplers. This model falls somewhere between 2nd and 3rd generation rolling stock models. It lacks metal wheels and elegant use of detail parts (no etched metal parts here), but the wheels can be user-upgraded and one could argue that the end platform detail and ladders are sufficient to qualify for 'detail parts' - enough to make this a 3gen model.

Prototype History:
The first all-steel cabooses built for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad were produced in 1937 by the Magor Car Corporation in Clifton, N.J. Magor, along with St. Louis Car Company and ACF, ultimately built a total of 350 cabooses for the C&O using a similar design. The last were produced in 1949. Through subsequent rebuilding and modernization, many remained in service through the end of regular caboose usage in the 1980s. Cabooses of a similar design were also built for Pere Marquette, Missouri Pacific and Chicago & Eastern Illinois.

Road Name History:
The Erie (the second railroad by that name) was formed in 1895 from the reorganization of the New York Lake Erie & Western which had cobbled together a Jersey City (across the Hudson from New York City) to Chicago route from the original Erie, the Chicago & Atlantic, Atlantic & Great Western and a few smaller lines. The route had been built to 6’ gauge and had been standard gauged in 1880.

The New York – Chicago main was all double track with big rail. However, the mainline managed to miss every major city along the way. Binghamton, New York and Akron, Ohio were the biggest cities on the mainline between New York and Chicago. Buffalo, Rochester, Youngstown, Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati were all at the end of branches from the mainline. Some said that “you could forget how much unpopulated land there was in the Northeast until you rode the Erie.”

Erie and its predecessors were early victims of “robber barons” that saddled the company with debt that it would carry for over 100 years. The companies went bankrupt 3 times in the 19th Century and once during the Depression (in 1938, after most other lines ironically.) Erie promoted exclusively from within and management was rife with nepotism. It was called “Weary Erie”, and “The Scarlet Woman of Wall Street.”

Erie’s steam fleet was varied although not terribly modern. The Erie passed through Pennsylvania’s anthracite region so camelback locomotives were part of the mix. In fact Erie had the largest camelbacks ever built – 0-8-8-0’s delivered in 1908. Erie was also one of only two roads to employ Triplexes, in this case with the 2-8-8-8-2 wheel arrangement. Their most modern steam consisted of heavy Berkshires delivered in 1929 when the company was under the influence of the Van Sweringen brothers who also controlled Nickel Plate, C&O, Pere Marquette and Hocking Valley. As a result, they dieselized fairly early primarily with EMD, and Alco road and passenger units and switchers from nearly every builder. Like future dance partner DL&W, Erie road switchers were setup for long-hood-forward operation.

Other than heavy commuter operations in New Jersey, passenger operations paled in comparison to other eastern trunk lines. Erie concentrated on freight. From about 1947 until 1955, the Erie was fairly healthy, although still paying way too much for debt service. They even paid dividends for much of this period. Quartets of F units dragged freights over 185 cars long across New York’s scenic Southern Tier. Erie’s big clearances (due to the original 6’ track gauge) made Erie the go-to road for highly lucrative over-size loads. The Erie was much loved by communities along the line.

The mid-to-late 50s presented one disaster after another. Twin hurricanes damaged track (although not as bad as neighbor DL&W who really took it in the teeth), then strikes in the cement and steel industries cut traffic dramatically. Labor trouble in the tire center of Akron (where Erie was a major carrier) led to much of the tire industry leaving the area. Erie’s net income fell in half the next year and then they began to lose money. Combining parallel routes and Jersey Shore terminals with the Lackawanna helped but not enough. In 1960, The Erie merged with the Delaware Lackawanna & Western. Here are Erie’s stats in their final year: 2,215 route miles (about the same length as competitors Nickel Plate and Wabash); 484 diesels; 535 passenger cars; 20,028 freight cars.

Brand/Importer Information:
In 1924 Stephan Schaffan, Sr. founded the Atlas Tool Company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1933 his son, Stephan Schaffan, Jr., came to work for his father at the age of sixteen. Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".

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.

Item created by: Bryan on 2016-08-18 03:37:26. Last edited by gdm on 2018-10-19 18:16:33

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