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N Scale - Life-Like - 7054 - Locomotive, Diesel, Alco PA-1 - Erie - 857

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Stock Number 7054
Original Retail Price $65.00
Brand Life-Like
Manufacturer Life-Like
Body Style Life-Like Diesel Engine PA-1/PB-1
Prototype Vehicle Locomotive, Diesel, Alco PA/PB (Details)
Prototype Locomotive, Diesel, Alco PA-1
Road or Company Name Erie (Details)
Road or Reporting Number 857
Paint Color(s) Black with Yellow Stripes
Print Color(s) Yellow and Black
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Coupler Mount Body (front), Truck (rear)
Wheel Type Nickel-Silver Plated Metal
Wheel Profile Standard
Multipack Yes
DCC Readiness No
Release Date 1998-01-01
Item Category Locomotives
Model Type Diesel
Model Subtype Alco
Model Variety PA-1
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era NA Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Years Produced 1946-1953
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Life-Like introduced this model in 1998. It is a typical 2nd generation engine with flywheels, all-wheel pickup and 5 of the 6 axles provide power. The model runs pretty well.
It was re-tooled in 2005 with a metal chassis. The 2005 release also features Accumate couplers (body-mounted) whereas the earlier plastic chassis version has Rapido couplers (truck-mounted, except front coupler on A-unit that was body-mounted).

DCC Information: Neither version has any support whatsoever for DCC.

Prototype History:
ALCO PA (DL-304/DL-305) refers to a family of A1A-A1A diesel locomotives built to haul high-speed passenger trains that were built in Schenectady, New York, in the United States by a partnership of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) and General Electric (GE) between June, 1946 and December, 1953. They were of a cab unit design, and both cab-equipped lead A unit PA and cabless booster B unit PB models were built. ALCO's beautiful PA-1 is one of America's most famous locomotives. It was ALCO's entry into the passenger train diesel craze, competing directly with the E-Units from EMD. The first PA1 celebrated Alco's 75,000th loco to roll out of the erecting shop.

The PAs, as well as their cousins, the ALCO FAs, were born as a result of Alco's development of a new diesel engine design, the Model 244. In early 1944, development started on the new design. In 1946, this new locomotive made its debut on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad. Southern Pacific PA's #6055 and 6056 were later put into service on the SP's coastal division, pulling trains such as the Morning Daylight.
Having more horsepower than their leading competitor, Alco felt that they had a fleet-ready competitive product. PA1's were sleek, stylish, powerful, and were very well suited for America's passenger and fast freight trains. Additionally, their 65' 8" bodies became excellent billboard advertising for the railroads that they served with pride.
The PA-1/PB-1 were rated 2,000 hp (1,490 kW) and the PA-2/PB-2 2,250 hp (1,680 kW). A total of 297 PA/PB have been built between 1946 and 1953.

ALCO locomotives were also used in service with the famous "California Zephyr" passenger train, adopting a number of paint schemes, the most famous of which was perhaps the "Prospector" paint scheme. This paint scheme was a striking two-tone silver and gold arrangement, highlighted by a series of four black stripes going down the side of the body.

Read more on Wikipedia
and on American-Rails.com

Road Name History:
The Erie (the second railroad by that name) was formed in 1895 from the reorganization of the New York Lake Erie & Western which had cobbled together a Jersey City (across the Hudson from New York City) to Chicago route from the original Erie, the Chicago & Atlantic, Atlantic & Great Western and a few smaller lines. The route had been built to 6’ gauge and had been standard gauged in 1880.

The New York – Chicago main was all double track with big rail. However, the mainline managed to miss every major city along the way. Binghamton, New York and Akron, Ohio were the biggest cities on the mainline between New York and Chicago. Buffalo, Rochester, Youngstown, Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati were all at the end of branches from the mainline. Some said that “you could forget how much unpopulated land there was in the Northeast until you rode the Erie.”

Erie and its predecessors were early victims of “robber barons” that saddled the company with debt that it would carry for over 100 years. The companies went bankrupt 3 times in the 19th Century and once during the Depression (in 1938, after most other lines ironically.) Erie promoted exclusively from within and management was rife with nepotism. It was called “Weary Erie”, and “The Scarlet Woman of Wall Street.”

Erie’s steam fleet was varied although not terribly modern. The Erie passed through Pennsylvania’s anthracite region so camelback locomotives were part of the mix. In fact Erie had the largest camelbacks ever built – 0-8-8-0’s delivered in 1908. Erie was also one of only two roads to employ Triplexes, in this case with the 2-8-8-8-2 wheel arrangement. Their most modern steam consisted of heavy Berkshires delivered in 1929 when the company was under the influence of the Van Sweringen brothers who also controlled Nickel Plate, C&O, Pere Marquette and Hocking Valley. As a result, they dieselized fairly early primarily with EMD, and Alco road and passenger units and switchers from nearly every builder. Like future dance partner DL&W, Erie road switchers were setup for long-hood-forward operation.

Other than heavy commuter operations in New Jersey, passenger operations paled in comparison to other eastern trunk lines. Erie concentrated on freight. From about 1947 until 1955, the Erie was fairly healthy, although still paying way too much for debt service. They even paid dividends for much of this period. Quartets of F units dragged freights over 185 cars long across New York’s scenic Southern Tier. Erie’s big clearances (due to the original 6’ track gauge) made Erie the go-to road for highly lucrative over-size loads. The Erie was much loved by communities along the line.

The mid-to-late 50s presented one disaster after another. Twin hurricanes damaged track (although not as bad as neighbor DL&W who really took it in the teeth), then strikes in the cement and steel industries cut traffic dramatically. Labor trouble in the tire center of Akron (where Erie was a major carrier) led to much of the tire industry leaving the area. Erie’s net income fell in half the next year and then they began to lose money. Combining parallel routes and Jersey Shore terminals with the Lackawanna helped but not enough. In 1960, The Erie merged with the Delaware Lackawanna & Western. Here are Erie’s stats in their final year: 2,215 route miles (about the same length as competitors Nickel Plate and Wabash); 484 diesels; 535 passenger cars; 20,028 freight cars.

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.

Item created by: Alain LM on 2020-12-17 08:16:57. Last edited by Alain LM on 2020-12-21 05:20:23

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