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N Scale - Atlas - 32551 - Cleaning Car, Motorized, Wet-Dry - Maintenance of Way

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Stock Number 32551
Original Retail Price $69.95
Brand Atlas
Manufacturer Takara Tomy
Body Style Tomix Track Cleaning Car
Prototype Cleaning Car, Motorized, Wet-Dry
Road or Company Name Maintenance of Way (Details)
Reporting Marks MOW
Paint Color(s) Gray with Yellow and Black Stripes
Release Date 2003-09-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Cleaning Car
Model Subtype Motorized
Model Variety Wet-Dry



Model Information: You might think trend-setting Shinkansen "bullet" trains represent the best-known Tomix products, or maybe the "Thomas the Tank Engine" series so popular worldwide with young and old, but you would be wrong.

The most widespread Tomix product is a utilitarian Track Cleaning Car. This freelanced car can use spinning abrasive disks or polishing pads (with a cleaning fluid reservoir) to clean the rails, as well as a vacuum to remove dust and small debris. It has been produced in many color schemes, and has been also sold in the U.S. under the Atlas brand. An HO scale version has been sold by Dapol in the United Kingdom. For a thorough account, see Doug Coster's Japanese Model Train Newsletter blog item: http://jmtn.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/tomixs-cleaning-sytems/

Road Name History:
Maintenance of Way is a generic term that encompasses all activities and equipment related to maintaining railroad tracks in good condition.
Equipment is highly specialized and diversified. A non exhaustive list below:
  • Ballast cleaner
  • Ballast regulator
  • Clearance car
  • Crane
  • Dynamometer car
  • Grinder
  • Road–rail vehicle (Hi-Rail)
  • Rotary snowplow
  • Scale test car
  • Stoneblower
  • Tamping machine
  • Track geometry car

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.

Manufacturer Information:
Largely a Japanese manufacturer of children's toys and baby products, Takara Tomy has established a number of different subsidiary companies, with sales offices and factories located in various locations around the world. The firm is the product of a 2006 merger-of-equals between Tomy and Takara.

Takara Tomy produces N Scale model trains under their Tomytec division (we use the term loosely because it is actually a more complex relationship) using two different brand names "Tomytec" and "Tomix". Technically speaking these are not brands in the Western sense but rather they more closely resemble subsidiaries -of-subsidiaries, and where they fit in the corporate org chart may be the matter for a Master's thesis, but for our purposes we can think of them as simply two different brands with one manufacturer. In the past (prior to 1976) some model train products were branded simply "Tomy". To further confuse things, since 2000, outside of Japan, the company goes by the simple name, "Tomy" for their international subsidiaries.

If you consider both brand names as a single company, then the Tomytec/Tomix product line is the largest of its kind in Japan; with Kato following in second place (as of 2017). While Takara Tomy products are popular around the world, the firm's focus on children's toys has limited the international acceptance and distribution of its Tomytec model railroad products. Furthermore, unlike Kato, their focus tends to be heavily skewed towards Japanes prototypes.

Item created by: gdm on 2016-03-03 09:19:33. Last edited by gdm on 2020-06-03 12:41:05

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