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N Scale - Aurora Postage Stamp - 4886-340 - Open Hopper, 4-Bay Steel - Western Maryland

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6  of these sold for an average price of: 6.166.166 of these sold for an average price of: 6.16
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N Scale - Aurora Postage Stamp - 4886-340 - Open Hopper, 4-Bay Steel - Western Maryland Image Courtesy of David K. Smith
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Stock Number4886-340
Secondary Stock Number4886
Original Retail Price$1.75
BrandAurora Postage Stamp
ManufacturerRoco
Body StyleRoco Open Hopper 4-Bay Offset Side
Prototype VehicleOpen Hopper, 4-Bay Steel (Details)
Road or Company NameWestern Maryland (Details)
Paint Color(s)White
Print Color(s)Black
Coupler TypeRapido Hook
Coupler MountTruck-Mount
Wheel TypeNickel-Silver Plated Metal
Wheel ProfileSmall Flange (Low Profile)
Release Date1968-01-01
Item CategoryRolling Stock (Freight)
Model TypeOpen Hopper
Model Subtype4-Bay
Model VarietyOffset Side
Prototype RegionNorth America
Prototype EraNA Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Scale1/160
Track GaugeN standard



Model Information: This Roco tooling was imported by various brands starting in the late 1960s. The Aurora Postage stamp line looks to be the earliest importer. Following that, in the early 1970s, it was imported using Minitrix branding (presumably by American Tortoise). It has also been seen in at least one example imported by AHM in place of the more common Rib Side version that AHM mostly imported. Walthers later imported the same model in the 1990s using Roco labeled boxes. These models are stamped "Trix Austria" on the bottom.
Prototype History:
The 1960s brought about a growth in car size (and capacity). Railroads that transported coal moved away from the older 2-bay 55-ton USRA standard to newer 90- and 100-ton three bay hoppers. These cars were effective and long-lived. Many railroads swapped out the trucks on these cars to increase the capacity to 100 tons. Many companies produced these, including Pullman, Bethlehem, Evans, Greenville, Trinity and Ortner. The offset side variant of these hoppers carried a little more capacity than their rib-sided cousins.
Road Name History:
This line was established in 1852 under another name but was renamed Western Maryland Rail Road before the first rail was laid. By 1862 they had built from Baltimore to Union Bridge, Maryland at which point it became the responsibility of the Union Army. Construction resumed after the war. WM built west to Hagerstown then Cumberland where the line spilt in two. One route headed northwest to an important interchange with Pittsburgh & Lake Erie at Connellsville, Pennsylvania. The other line ran southwest into the rich coal fields around Elkins and Durban, West Virginia. On the east end, they also had routes to York and Gettysburg and an important connection with the Reading at Shippensburg, all in Pennsylvania. At 878 miles, WM was between Maine Central and Spokane Portland & Seattle in relative length.

The city of Baltimore had a large stake in the WM but sold it in 1902 to Jay Gould. The Gould empire unraveled just six years later and the WM was reorganized with Railway replacing Rail Road in the name and John D. Rockefeller holding a 43% stake. He sold those shares to Baltimore & Ohio in 1927. Accused of violating antitrust laws, B&O placed those shares in a non-voting trust.

After 1900, WM relied heavily on 2-8-0’s, ordering 177 between 1900 and 1923 (by which time other railroads were already ordering 2-8-2’s.) Some of these Consolidations were real bruisers with the same tractive effort as WM’s 2-6-6-2’s. Also in road service were 30 2-10-0 Decapods (10 Russian Decapods and 20 much larger versions,) a dozen 4-8-4’s to handle the high speed trains, and a dozen 4-6-6-4 Challengers. The Challengers turned out to be a disappointment to WM. They were rough riders and were hard on the track. As a result, they were soon demoted to pusher service alongside WM’s 25 2-8-8-2’s. A fleet of 19 low drivered Pacifics handled most of the passenger assignments. One element found on most of the WM steam fleet was low snowplow pilots in lieu of the traditional boiler tube pilots. WM was one of a few Class One railroads to employ Shay locomotives to serve steeply graded branchlines. WM had one 2-truck, two 3-truck and two 4-truck Shays. Shay #6 built in 1945 was the last Shay built by Lima Locomotive Works.

WM began to dieselize in 1947 on the east end where they would not raise the ire of their coal mining customers on the west end. The diesel fleet was surprisingly varied for a line their size with cab units from both Alco and EMD, road switchers from Alco, EMD and Baldwin and yard switchers from GE, Baldwin and Alco. The road switchers from Alco and Baldwin plus the EMD GP7;s were delivered with the long hood as the front while the EMD GP9’s were delivered with the short hood as the front. The Second Generation of diesels was all EMD.

In addition to the voluminous coal traffic, WM was a part of two bridge routes for merchandise moving between the northeast and the upper Midwest. These were the Alphabet Route (with Nickel Plate Road, Wheeling & Lake Erie, Pittsburgh & West Virginia, Reading and others) and the Central States Dispatch (with Baltimore & Ohio, Reading, Jersey Central, Lehigh & Hudson River and New Haven.) Iron ore also moved from Baltimore area ports to steel mills on the connecting P&LE.

Passenger service was a bit of an afterthought on the WM. Not only did they not have a shiny streamliner, but their heavyweight coach trains lasted only until 1957 before being discontinued. Steam generator equipped hammerhead RS-3’s replaced the Pacifics in passenger service for a few years before being reassigned to freight duty.

In 1967, B&O (by this time controlled by Chesapeake & Ohio) finally obtained permission to take overt control of the WM. Not much changed for the next five years. In 1973 they adopted the Chessie System image and 125 miles of WM mainline was abandoned in favor of trackage rights on a parallel B&O line. In 1983, the Western Maryland was absorbed into the Baltimore & Ohio. Western Maryland was known for frequently washing their locomotives in both the steam and diesel eras. They kept up this tradition until the start of the Chessie System era.
Brand/Importer Information:
In 1967, Aurora Plastics Corporation started importing the Minitrix N Scale product line. These trains were marketed as Postage Stamp Trains. It was a bold entry into what would become a very active market in the new N-Scale model train market. The basic starter set took advantage of N-Scale’s small size by packaging everything necessary for a small model railroad in a book-like box. The larger starter sets were packaged in more conventional boxes. Aurora went out of business in 1977.

The Body styles of this product line were made in Austria by Roco, imported into the United States by Minitrix and then rebranded by Aurora. Some of the exact same molds were also produced by Roco for Atlas who branded them using their own name.

A lot of information can be found on All about Aurora Postage Stamp Trains web site by David K. Smith.
Manufacturer Information:
The company was founded in 1960 by Ing. Heinz Rössler and started with a plastic Minitanks series of military vehicles. After export to the USA became successful, the model line was expanded with model trains in HO scale and the smaller N scale. TT scale was also subsequently added to the product line. The model rail product line covers many European countries including Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands, and also the USA.

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.

From Wikipedia
Item created by: gdm on 2017-03-06 15:14:19. Last edited by CNW400 on 2020-05-12 15:57:18

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