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N Scale - Athearn - 2641 - Caboose, Cupola, Wood - Northwestern Pacific - 1276

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N Scale - Athearn - 2641 - Caboose, Cupola, Wood - Northwestern Pacific - 1276 Image Courtesy of Horizon Hobby


Stock Number 2641
Original Retail Price $22.98
Brand Athearn
Manufacturer Athearn
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style MDC Caboose Cupola Offset
Prototype Vehicle Caboose, Cupola, Wood (Details)
Road or Company Name Northwestern Pacific (Details)
Reporting Marks NP
Road or Reporting Number 1276
Paint Color(s) Brown
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type McHenry Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Release Date 2018-05-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety Offset
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era NA Era II: Late Steam (1901 - 1938)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Originally manufactured by MDC Roundhouse, this tooling was later acquired by Athearn. This model Features: Based on Model Die Casting tooling; A perfect match for our Old Time 2-8-0 steam locomotive; Clear window glazing; Molded truss rods with turnbuckles; Molded plastic underframe with brake cylinder; Screw mounted trucks for accurate tracking; Truck mounted magnetically operated knuckle couplers; Plastic wheels. The MDC version carries Rapido couplers.

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.

Road Name History:
We’ll start with a bit of backstory for this one. By the 1980s, Southern Pacific had run out of patience with their Northwestern Pacific subsidiary which ran from the area north of the San Francisco Bay north to Eureka, California. SP sold the northern half to Eureka Southern and in 1993 leased the southern half to California Northern while selling it a segment at a time to various state agencies. By 1996, the state owned all of the southern segments which were combined under a single agency. They then canceled the lease to California Northern and began operating freight service again between Schellville and Willits under the resurrected name of Northwestern Pacific. GP9’s and SD9’s were painted in a version of SP’s Black Widow scheme with a new NWP logo. The new NWP lost money and washouts and bridge problems that had always plagued the line caused operations to cease in 1998. The line sat idle until 2001 when they attempted to resume service between Schellville and Cotati but the FRA determined that the line wasn’t safe and ordered it closed after just a month. In 2009, the state began rebuilding the line as far as Windsor. Freight trains began running again in 2011 and continue to run today. They are currently rebuilding the line up to San Rafael for use as a new commuter rail operation.

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: Jenna on 2018-05-29 12:44:46

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