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N Scale - Micro-Trains - 51060 - Caboose, Cupola, Wood - Spokane Portland & Seattle - 722

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Stock Number51060
Secondary Stock Number051 00 060
BrandMicro-Trains
ManufacturerKadee Quality Products
Body StyleMicro-Trains 051 Caboose Wood Straight Side Cupola
Prototype VehicleCaboose, Cupola, Wood (Details)
Road or Company NameSpokane Portland & Seattle (Details)
Reporting MarksSP&S
Road or Reporting Number722
Paint Color(s)Red
Coupler TypeMT Magne-Matic Knuckle
Wheel TypeInjection Molded Plastic
Wheel ProfileStandard
Release Date1990-05-01
Item CategoryRolling Stock (Freight)
Model TypeCaboose
Model SubtypeCupola
Model Variety34 Foot Straight Side Wood Sheathed
Prototype RegionNorth America
Prototype EraNA Era II: Late Steam (1901 - 1938)
Scale1/160



Model Information: This body style (51000) is much newer than its sister tooling, the 5000 series. It was first released in October of 1989 when they introduced a 3-pack of Seaboard cars, each in a different paint scheme. The model is of a wood-sided caboose with a cupola towards one end (offset) that was common in the 1st half of the 20th century. The model also has a roofwalk. Micro-trains has produced this car in about several dozen different road names since its introduction (as of 2017) and it has also been quite popular for special runs.

At first glance it can be hard to tell the difference between this model (51000 series) and its sister-model the 'slant-side' cupola (50000 series). The difference lies primarily in the cupola (there might be other differences but I cannot see them). If you examine the car from one end (doesn't matter which), you will see that the sides of the cupola (not the car) drop straight down from the roof of the cupola down to the roof of the car. Furthermore, the window configuration of the ends of the cupola is quite different with the 51000 series having only two windows per end, while the 51000 series has three.
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:
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: Micro-Trains is the brand name used by both Kadee Quality Products and Micro-Trains Line. For a history of the relationship between the brand and the two companies, please consult our Micro-Trains Collector's Guide.
Manufacturer Information:
Kadee Quality Products originally got involved in N-Scale by producing a scaled-down version of their successful HO Magne-Matic knuckle coupler system. This coupler was superior to the ubiquitous 'Rapido' style coupler due to two primary factors: superior realistic appearance and the ability to automatically uncouple when stopped over a magnet embedded in a section of track. The success of these couplers in N-Scale quickly translated to the production of trucks, wheels and in 1972 a release of ready-to-run box cars.
In October 1990 Kadee separated in two companies, with the newly created Micro-Trains® Line Co. continuing the Z, Nn3, and N Scale product ranges, with Kadee retaining the HO range.
Item created by: Lethe on 2015-05-31 17:46:30. Last edited by gdm on 2020-07-24 07:29:26

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