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N Scale - Atlas - 31221 - Boxcar, 53 Foot, Evans Double Plug Door - Illinois Terminal - 900

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N Scale - Atlas - 31221 - Boxcar, 53 Foot, Evans Double Plug Door - Illinois Terminal - 900 Different Road Number Shown
Image Courtesy of Atlas Model Railroad


Stock Number 31221
Brand Atlas
Manufacturer Atlas
Body Style Atlas Boxcar 53 Foot Evans Dbl Plug Door
Prototype Vehicle Boxcar, 53 Foot, Evans Double Plug Door (Details)
Road or Company Name Illinois Terminal (Details)
Reporting Marks ITC
Road or Reporting Number 900
Paint Color(s) Red/White
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Release Date 2003-04-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Boxcar
Model Subtype 53 Foot
Model Variety Evans Double Plug Door
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era NA Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Years Produced 1970's
Scale 1/160
Track Gauge N standard



Prototype History:
This 53' boxcar was manufactured in the 1960s and '70s by Evans Company and was used primarily to haul produce, wood and paper products, and canned goods. This railcar is an insulated RBL (Railcar, Passenger Service, Insulated) featuring a 16 foot opening and double plug doors.

Road Name History:
The Illinois Terminal has one of the most complicated histories for a railroad its size that I’ve ever seen. So without going into too much detail, the IT was established in 1890 when future US President William McKinley bought a streetcar line in the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois area. Within 20 years, he had an electrified interurban passenger and freight system linking Peoria, Bloomington, Danville, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur and Springfield with St. Louis. At its zenith, there was nearly 500 miles of line which included bypasses to keep the freight trains out of the city streets.

In 1904, McKinley went off to Congress and the Illinois Terminal became the Illinois Traction Company until the name reverted in 1937. The interurban passenger operations were significant and outlasted most other Midwestern lines. They were one of only 3 interurban lines in the country to operate sleepers. The principle sleeper route was between Peoria and St. Louis, which had no competition from the local steam roads. At the dawn of the Depression, IT had 124 interurban passenger cars, 22 steam locomotives, and 51 electric freight locomotives.

After the war, passenger service began to wane. By ’56, the intercity passenger service was gone and the last St. Louis area suburban service disappeared two years later. Diesels had begun to arrive in 1950, and by 1955, they had replaced steam and electrics in freight service. The earliest diesels were delivered in black with white trim which was later replaced with variations of bright green and yellow with silver trucks for the remainder of the line’s history.

Now just a hint of IT’s strange corporate machinations: in 1954, the Illinois-Missouri Terminal Railway was incorporated by B&O, C&EI, CB&Q, GM&O, Litchfield & Madison (later C&NW), IC, NKP, Frisco, and Wabash. The I-MT bought the IT 2 years later. The IT was then renamed “Liquidating Terminal” and the I-MT was renamed “Illinois Terminal.” NYC and RI would also buy slices of this IT. This was all for the purpose of providing neutral switching access in the St. Louis - Alton industrial belt for all of the city’s Class 1 carriers. Ironically, a decade before, the IT had been officially named “Liquidating Railway” and “Purchaser Railroad” for the brief period it took to transfer ownership at that time.

By 1980, IT had swapped nearly two thirds of their original mainline trackage for trackage rights on parallel Class 1’s rather than trying to upgrade their own. The freight was handled with 46 diesels with half a dozen SD39’s taking on the heaviest jobs. They also had over 2,600 freight cars. In 1981, the Illinois Terminal was purchased by Norfolk & Western and merged out of existence in 1982.

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.

Item created by: Lethe on 2016-02-06 04:15:34. Last edited by CNW400 on 2020-06-02 14:46:12

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