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N Scale - Life-Like - TS SAN 91-03 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, Evans 5277 - New Mexico Rail RunNers - 1991

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N Scale - Life-Like - TS SAN 91-03 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, Evans 5277 - New Mexico Rail RunNers - 1991 Image Courtesy of John E. Becker


Production Type Special Run
Stock Number TS SAN 91-03
Brand Life-Like
Manufacturer Sanda Kan
Body Style Sanda Kan Boxcar 50 Foot Evans Hi-Cube
Prototype Vehicle Boxcar, 50 Foot, Evans 5277 (Details)
Road or Company Name New Mexico Rail RunNers (Details)
Reporting Marks NMRR
Road or Reporting Number 1991
Paint Color(s) yellow body black ends and top
Print Color(s) red
Additional Markings/Slogan First Anniversary
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Coupler Mount Truck-Mount
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Announcement Date 1991-01-01
Release Date 1991-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Boxcar
Model Subtype 50 Foot
Model Variety Evans 5277 Hi-Cube
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Scale 1/160



Specific Item Information: refer to photo. original production number - unknown. original retail price - unknown. jewel box card reads: " New Mexico Rail Runners 1st Anniversary Evans 50' Box Car NMRR 1991".

Model Information: Life-Like worked with Sanda Kan to develop this tooling as part of Life-Like's push to move all production of rolling stock to China in the 1990s. As was common at the time, the ownership of the tooling was controlled by Sanda Kan which took advantage of this to manufacture this model for Industrial Rail as well as Life-Like. It has also been sold/decorated by Con-Cor, Bev-Bel and Eastern Seaboard Models, though I do not know if any of these other companies purchased the undecorated models from Life-Like or Sanda Kan directly.

Unlike many of the other Chinese models of this period, this one does not seem to be a direct copy of any of the earlier European made N Scale models. This series of boxcars models the modern, no-roofwalk 50' Evans high-cube prototype. It has been claimed that the model specifically targets the Penn Central X72 version of the Evans car.

Prototype History:
With the Per Diem rules implemented by the US government to encourage railroads to purchase more boxcars, boxcar manufacturing roared into gear in the 1970s. Every major manufacturer cranked out 50 foot boxcars to satisfy the demand. Evans was no exception. Empowered by its acquisition of United States Railway Equipment (USRE), Evans-USRE boxcars became ubiquitous during the IPD boxcar boom of the 1970s. With modern upgrades such as box-corrugated, non-terminating ends, Stanray X-panel overhanging roof, and riveted car sides near the end posts, the Evans-USRE 5277 is a classic boxcar of the IPD era.

The former Evans railcar repair facility in Springfield OR is now owned/operated by Gunderson.

Road Name History:
We are a non-profit model railroad club incorporated in New Mexico. The New Mexico Rail RunNers started in February of 1990 with a group of ten Albuquerque modelers working in N scale. Membership now numbers close to 30, several of whom live outside the Albuquerque Metro area.
Membership is open to all. We also promote model railroading as a fun hobby for youth, and have attracted a handful of teen members. Meetings are held the first Saturday of each month (usually at our club location), with work sessions scheduled as needed.
Our Purpose is to enjoy model railroading and share our hobby with the public. We do this by displaying and operating our layout at public events such as the NMRA Regional Conventions, local and out -of town events.

Brand/Importer Information:
Life-Like Products LLC (now Life-Like Toy and Hobby division of Wm. K. Walthers) was a manufacturer of model railroad products and was based in Baltimore, Maryland.

It was founded in the 1950s by a company that pioneered extruded foam ice chests under the Lifoam trademark. Because ice chests are a summer seasonal item, the company needed a way to keep the factory operating year round. As model railroading was becoming popular in the post-war years, they saw this as an opportunity and so manufactured extruded foam tunnels for model trains. Over the years, Life-Like expanded into other scenery items, finally manufacturing rolling stock beginning in the late 1960s. At some point in the early 1970s, Life-Like purchased Varney Inc. and began to produce the former Varney line as its own.

The Canadian distributor for Life-Like products, Canadian Hobbycraft, saw a missing segment in market for Canadian model prototypes, and started producing a few Canadian models that were later, with a few modifications, offered in the US market with US roadnames.

In 2005, the company, now known as Lifoam Industries, LLC, decided to concentrate on their core products of extruded foam and sold their model railroad operations to Wm. K. Walthers.

In June 2018, Atlas and Walthers announced to have reached an agreement under which all Walthers N scale rolling stock tooling, including the former Life-Like tooling, will be purchased by Atlas.

Read more on Wikipedia and The Train Collectors Association.

Manufacturer Information:
Established in 1973, Sanda Kan was originally a venture (subsidiary?) of Life-Like products. In 1979, Mr. Wai Shing Ting, formerly of Cox Hong Kong, joined Sanda Kan and took over as de facto CEO. At some point ownership of the venture changed hands and Mr. Ting became the primary owner. In 2000, Ting sold Sanda Kan to ZS Fund. The company was later resold to Kader Holdings, the venerable Hong Kong based toy manufacturer. The original location of the Sanda Kan facility was in Hong Kong, but after the liberalization of the mainland Chinese economy, the primary manufacturing site moved to Guang Dong (Canton), while the administrative offices appear to have remained in Hong Kong. At its height, Sanda Kan operated in 10 factories across Guang Dong with over 10,000 employees in 1.2 million square feet of space.

Sanda Kan is a highly recognized developer and manufacturer of precision models. It produces a full range of model train locomotives, from the very small 1:220 scale to the large 1:22 scale products. Other hobby items include electronic slot racing cars, sophisticated digital controls as well as accessories such as scenery, promotional cars and trucks. It continues to work closely with some of the world’s leading brands from concept to mold construction through to final production.

Sanda Kan’s unique structure allows for maximum flexibility. Its production facilities are located in Songgang, Shenzhen and Wanjiang, Dongguan. Each location is outfitted with mould shops providing full service on-site mould construction and maintenance. Both locations are also sub-divided into individual factories capable of manufacturing complete products, which are comprehensively equipped with injection moulding machines, tempo printing and spraying facilities, and dedicated assembly lines. This arrangement provides our clients with the dedicated capacity, service and privacy levels that they may require.

In 2008, Sanda Kan was acquired by Kader Holdings, the parent company of Bachmann and Tinco, but remains in operation producing model trains for numerous clients including: Atlas, Lionel, Aristo-Craft, Micro-Ace, S-Helper, Hornby, Brawa, Marklin and Tomix.

For more on Sanda Kan and Mr. Wai Shing Ting, please visit the Atlas Model Trains article on Wai Shing Ting.

Item created by: jbeezz28 on 2019-04-29 11:55:34. Last edited by jbeezz28 on 2020-10-06 11:06:39

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