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N Scale - Athearn - 17330 - Flatcar, 53 Foot 6 inch GSC Commonwealth - Western Pacific - 2247

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N Scale - Athearn - 17330 - Flatcar, 53 Foot 6 inch GSC Commonwealth - Western Pacific - 2247 Image Courtesy of Horizon Hobby


Brand Athearn
Stock Number 17330
Manufacturer Athearn
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Athearn Flatcar 53 Foot GSC
Prototype Type Flatcar, 53 Foot 6 inch GSC Commonwealth (Details)
Road or Company Name Western Pacific (Details)
Reporting Marks WP
Road or Reporting Number 2247
Paint Color(s) Black
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type McHenry Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Flatcar
Model Subtype 53 Foot 6 Inch
Model Variety GSC
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Scale 1/160



Specific Item Information: N RTR 53 foot GSC TOFC Flat w/40 foot Trailer, WP #1

Model Information: MODEL FEATURES:
- Fully assembled and ready for your layout;
- TOFC version of this classic car with side rails and trailer hitch;
- Highly detailed 40' rib-side trailer load;
- Separately applied brake wheel;
- Weighted for optimal performance;
- Screw mounted trucks for accurate tracking;
- McHenry scale knuckle spring couplers installed.

Prototype History:
General Steel Castings (GSC) made the underframes for the Pennsy F30. They decided to create their own product by modifying the Pennsy design. They stretched the design to 53 foot, 6 inches and made the entire body a single casting. The resulting car was manufactured starting in the early 1950s was initially sold as a kit to railroads and only late offered as a complete ready-to-run car. The car was offered in both bulkhead and non-bulkhead versions based on customer requirements.

One of the most common of all flat cars, these rugged designs were in service from the 50s to the 90s and a few still operate today. Built around a large one-piece steel casting, the prototypes could handle a wide range of cargo and were often rebuilt for piggyback loading. These cars are equally at home hauling machinery, steel slabs and more. They were also fitted with bulkheads and handled loads such as lumber and pipe, and a few roads even outfitted them with log bunks for hauling freshly cut timber.

Road Name History:
The Western Pacific Railroad (reporting mark WP) was a Class I railroad in the United States. It was formed in 1903 as an attempt to break the near-monopoly the Southern Pacific Railroad had on rail service into northern California. WP's Feather River Route directly competed with SP's portion of the Overland Route for rail traffic between Salt Lake City/Ogden, Utah and Oakland, California for nearly 80 years. In 1983 the Western Pacific was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad. The Western Pacific was one of the original operators of the California Zephyr.

The original Western Pacific Railroad was established in 1865 to build the westernmost portion of the Transcontinental Railroad between San Jose, California (later Oakland, California), and Sacramento, California. This company was absorbed into the Central Pacific Railroad in 1870.

The second company to use the name Western Pacific Railroad was founded in 1903. Under the direction of George Jay Gould I, the Western Pacific was founded to provide a standard gauge track connection to the Pacific Coast for his aspiring Gould transcontinental system. The construction was financed by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, a company in the Gould system, which lost access to California due to the attempted acquisition of the Southern Pacific Railroad by the Rio Grande's main rival, the Union Pacific Railroad. The Western Pacific Railroad acquired the Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad and began construction on what would become the Feather River Route. In 1909 it became the last major railroad completed into California. It used 85-lb rail on untreated ties, with no tie plates except on curves over one degree; in 1935 more than half of the main line still had its original rail, most of it having carried 150 million gross tons.

The Western Pacific was acquired in 1983 by Union Pacific Corporation, which in 1996 would purchase its long-time rival, the Southern Pacific Railroad. In July 2005 Union Pacific unveiled a brand new EMD SD70ACe locomotive, Union Pacific 1983, painted as an homage to the Western Pacific.

Brand/Importer Information:
Athearn's history began in 1938, when its founder-to-be, Irvin Athearn, started an elaborate O scale layout in his mother's house. After placing an ad selling the layout, and receiving much response to it, Irv decided that selling model railroads would be a good living. He sold train products out of his mother's house through most of the 1940s. After becoming a full-time retailer in 1946, Irv opened a separate facility in Hawthorne, California in 1948, and that same year he branched into HO scale models for the first time.

Athearn acquired the Globe Models product line and improved upon it, introducing a comprehensive array of locomotive, passenger and freight car models. Improvements included all-wheel drive and electrical contact. One innovation was the "Hi-Fi" drive mechanism, employing small rubber bands to transfer motion from the motor spindle to the axles. Another was the double-ended ring magnet motor, which permitted easy connection to all-wheel-drive assemblies. Athearn was also able to incorporate flywheels into double-ended drives.

The company produced a model of the Boston & Maine P4 class Pacific steam locomotive which incorporated a cast zinc alloy base and thermoplastic resin superstructure. It had a worm drive and all power pickup was through the bipolar trucks that carried the tender. This item was discontinued after the Wilson motor was no longer available, and was not redesigned for a more technologically advanced motor.

Athearn's car fleet included shorter-than-scale interpretations of passenger cars of Southern Pacific and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad prototypes. The company also offered a variety of scale-length freight cars with sprung and equalized trucks. The cars could be obtained in simple kit form, or ready-to-run in windowed display boxes. The comprehensive scope of the product line contributed to the popularity of HO as a model railroad scale, due to the ready availability of items and their low cost.

Irv Athearn died in 1991. New owners took control in 1994, but continued to follow Athearn's commitment to high-quality products at reasonable prices. Athearn was bought in 2004 by Horizon Hobby. Athearn was then moved from its facility in Compton to a new facility in Carson, California. In mid-2009, all remaining US production was moved to China and warehousing moved to parent Horizon Hobby. Sales and product development was relocated to a smaller facility in Long Beach, California.

Read more on Wikipedia and Athearn website.

Item created by: Chance on 2016-09-16 09:28:30. Last edited by Alain LM on 2019-06-23 03:38:54

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