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N Scale - Atlas - NSE ATL 13-22 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Penn Central - 551073

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N Scale - Atlas - NSE ATL 13-22 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Penn Central - 551073 Image Courtesy of Jon Monsein


Commissioned By N Scale Enthusiast
Production Type Special Run
Stock Number NSE ATL 13-22
Brand Atlas
Manufacturer Atlas
Body Style Atlas Caboose Cupola Standard
Prototype Vehicle Caboose, Cupola, Steel (Details)
Road or Company Name Penn Central (Details)
Road or Reporting Number 551073
Paint Color(s) Black, White, Yellow
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Coupler Mount Body-Mount
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Multipack ID Number NSE ATL 13-Set-1
Multipack Element 2
Series Name Norfolk Southern Heritage
Announcement Date 2013-01-01
Release Date 2013-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety Standard
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era NA Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160
Track Gauge N standard



Specific Item Information: Not originally sold separately. Part of NSE ATL 13-Set 1 NS Heritage, Conrail Family #1 Boxed Caboose Set, which is a five pack. containing NSE ATL 13-21, NSE ATL 13-22, NSE ATL 13-23, NSE ATL 13-24 and NSE ATL 13-25. List Price $129.95

Model Information: The Atlas "43" series cupola caboose has been around since the early 2000's. The cupola is located slightly off-center, but towards the middle of the body. It carries three windows on each body side, two larger ones at the ends and a smaller one in the middle. The cupola carries a double-window on each side. This body usually has a raised roof-walk and "loop-over" ladders but not always.

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.

Road Name History:
The Penn Central Transportation Company, commonly abbreviated to Penn Central, was an American Class I railroad headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that operated from 1968 until 1976. It was created by the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads. The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad was added to the merger in 1969; by 1970, the company had filed for what was, at that time, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The Penn Central was created as a response to challenges faced by all three railroads in the late 1960s. The northeastern quarter of the United States, these railroads' service area, was the most densely populated region of the U.S. While railroads elsewhere in North America drew a high percentage of their revenues from the long-distance shipment of commodities such as coal, lumber, paper and iron ore, Northeastern railroads traditionally depended on a mix of services.

As it turned out, the merged Penn Central was little better off than its constituent roads were before. A merger implementation plan was drawn up, but not carried out. Attempts to integrate operations, personnel and equipment were not very successful, due to clashing corporate cultures, incompatible computer systems and union contracts. Track conditions deteriorated (some of these conditions were inherited from the three merged railroads) and trains had to be run at reduced speeds. This meant delayed shipments and personnel working a lot of overtime. As a result, operating costs soared. Derailments and wrecks became frequent, particularly in the midwest.

The American financial system was shocked when after only two years of operations, the Penn Central Transportation company was put into bankruptcy on June 21, 1970. It was the largest corporate bankruptcy in American history at that time. Although the Penn Central Transportation Company was put into bankruptcy, its parent Penn Central Company was able to survive.

The Penn Central continued to operate freight service under bankruptcy court protection. After private-sector reorganization efforts failed, Congress nationalized the Penn Central under the terms of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976. The new law folded six northeastern railroads, the Penn Central and five smaller, failed lines, into the Consolidated Rail Corporation, commonly known as Conrail. The act took effect on April 1, 1976.

Read more on Wikipedia.

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: The N Scale Enthusiast Society (previously known as The N Scale Collector until 2011) was established by Wick Brandon, as a sole proprietorship and was a stand alone company until Wick passed away in 2000. The company has been owned by Micro Trains Line since then.

Wick was the founder of TexNRails and he established NSE right after he sold the pioneering N Scale retailer to the Herz family, and the store moved to Florida. Wick and Lea moved their family from Texas to Bakersfield California, and the entire operation was run from his home in Bakersfield. George Johnsen, the current Chairman, came on board as Associate Editor starting with the third issue of the magazine, and the growth of the organization hasn’t stopped. Wick and George did the first convention in Medford in 1993, and added staff and advisors as the organization grew. Wick held the first auction for the NSE in 1995.

The NSE mission statement reads: “This organization is dedicated to the preservation of the history of N Scale Model Railroading, and the railroads they represent.”

They do:
- Special Run Cars
- Regular Auctions of "collectable" Cars
- Annual Conventions
- Bi-Monthly Magazine

Item created by: jonmonsein on 2021-03-07 13:13:58. Last edited by Alain LM on 2021-03-08 01:37:11

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