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N Scale - Atlas - 30537 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Spokane Portland & Seattle - 900

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N Scale - Atlas - 30537 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Spokane Portland & Seattle - 900 Copyright held by TroveStar


Production Type Special Run
Stock Number 30537
Secondary Stock Number TST ATL 03-01
Brand Atlas
Commissioned By Lowell Smith
Manufacturer Atlas
Body Style Atlas Caboose Cupola Extended Vision
Prototype Caboose, Cupola, Steel (Details)
Road or Company Name Spokane Portland & Seattle (Details)
Reporting Marks SP&S
Road or Reporting Number 900
Paint Color(s) Red
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type MT Magne-Matic Knuckle
Coupler Mount Body-Mount
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Body Material Plastic
Release Date 2006-11-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety Extended Vision
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160


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Model Information: Atlas released the "30" series extended vision caboose in 1996. This model is very similar to the "43" series cupola caboose in most respects. It can be easily distinguished from the standard cupola caboose in that the cupola is wider than the body on the "30" series - hence the name "Extended Vision". This model may or may not have "loop-over" ladders.

It is re-released every other year (approximately). The original releases sported Rapido hook couplers, but interestingly the 1999 release had versions with Rapido as well as versions with real (licensed) Magnematic couplers.

The current release from Atlas features: Accumate couplers; Thin endrails; Window glazing; Separate brake cylinder; Open smoke stack; Triple valve and air reservoir; Roller-bearing caboose trucks; Roofwalk where appropriate; Accurate painting and lettering.

Prototype History:
The origins of the railroad caboose appear to date back to the 1840s when Nat Williams, a conductor of the Auburn & Syracuse Railroad (a later affiliate of the New York Central) became fed up with cramped and uncomfortable quarters to do paperwork (a common job of the conductor, whose responsibility is general oversight and control of a train, passenger or freight), which was usually done in either a free space of a passenger car or combine/baggage car. To fix this problem, Williams found an unused boxcar and using a simple box and barrel, as a seat and desk, set up shop in the car to do his duties. Not only did he find out he had plenty of room to work but also figured that he could use the unused space to store tools (flags, lanterns, spare parts, etc.) and other essentials to have on board whenever needed (such things become commonly stored on the caboose).

Perhaps the most striking feature ever applied to the railroad caboose was its cupola. According to the story, conductor T.B. Watson of the Chicago & North Western in the 1860s reportedly used a hole in a boxcar’s roof (which he was using as a caboose) to get a better vantage point of the train ahead. It is said that Watson was amazed by the view afforded from the position being able to not only see the train ahead but also from all sides, and to the rear as well. He apparently convinced C&NW shop forces to construct a type of open observation box onto an existing singe-level caboose with windows all around where one could sit and view their surroundings. The rest, as they say, is history and the common cupola was born.

Steel Cabooses replaced their wood-sheathed brethren after the second world war when the steel glut made the production and maintenance of steel cabooses far more efficient than wooden models. With the advancement of the End-of-Train device, cabooses slowly began to fall out of favor. However, in the early 2000’s, “shoving platforms” began to appear as a place to safely house a crew when a reverse move was required. Instead of riding on the side of a freight car, the crew member now has a safe place to stand, while guiding the rear of a reverse move. Atlas’ shoving platform cabooses will feature blanked out windows (Where appropriate).

Road Name History:
The Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway (SP&S) (reporting mark SPS) was a United States-based railroad incorporated in 1905. It was a joint venture by the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railway to build a railroad along the north bank of the Columbia River. Remnants of the line are currently operated by BNSF Railway.

The railroad was chartered in 1905 by James J. Hill to connect the two transcontinental railroads owned by him, the Northern Pacific (NP) and Great Northern (GN), to Portland, Oregon from Spokane, Washington, to gain a portion of the lumber trade in Oregon, a business then dominated by E.H. Harriman's Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. Construction began in 1906 under the name Portland & Seattle Railway, proceeding eastward from Vancouver, Washington. 1906 also saw the start of construction of the line between Vancouver and Portland, including work on three major new bridges, crossing the Columbia River, the Oregon Slough and the Willamette River. The northernmost of these was the first bridge of any kind to be built across the lower Columbia River.

In January 1908 "Spokane" was added to the railroad's name, making it the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway. SP&S freight and passenger service (from Pasco) to Portland was inaugurated in November 1908. By 1909 the railroad had completed construction of its line up to Spokane along the Snake River. In 1910 SP&S gained control of the Oregon Electric interurban railway, which the Great Northern had acquired two years before. Under the control of the SP&S the railroad was extended southward to Eugene, Oregon by 1912. SP&S also operated a second subsidiary railroad in western Oregon, the Oregon Traction Company, which owned a route to Seaside, Oregon. A third route on which the SP&S operated extended southward from Wishram, Washington to Bend, Oregon was the Oregon Trunk Railroad.

Read more on Wikipedia and The Spokane Portland and Seattle Railway Historical Society

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.

Commissioner Information: Desiring to bring a creative and artistic approach to model railroad cars, Lowell Smith Signature Series was born in 1994. The first special run car commemorated the Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the Golden Spike - "Wedding of the Rails". Since 1994, Lowell Smith Signature Series has continued to produce over one hundred and thirty-five unique cars or train locomotives to date.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Lowell Smith married his church choir sweetheart Barb in 1978. After a lifetime of rail-fanning, Lowell and Barb ventured out in 1992 to launch a new business in Portland, Oregon.
Following Lowell's passion of model trains, The Hobby Smith was built to be the community center for model railroaders - operators and collectors alike. Located in the Hollywood District of Portland, The Hobby Smith was the place to learn and to enjoy the camaraderie of others with the same passion.


Item created by: gdm on 2018-02-12 10:35:00. Last edited by Alain LM on 2018-06-17 08:03:12

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