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N Scale - Atlas - 2381 - Boxcar, 40 Foot, Steel ARA/X-29 - Penn Central - 65638

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Stock Number 2381
Original Retail Price $1.50
Brand Atlas
Manufacturer Rivarossi
Body Style Rivarossi Boxcar 40 Foot Steel
Prototype Vehicle Boxcar, 40 Foot, Steel ARA/X-29 (Details)
Road or Company Name Penn Central (Details)
Reporting Marks PC
Road or Reporting Number 65638
Paint Color(s) Jade Green
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Nickel-Silver Plated Metal
Release Date 1969-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Boxcar
Model Subtype 40 Foot
Model Variety Steel
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era II: Late Steam (1901 - 1938)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Atlas contracted with Rivarossi of Italy to produce this model. This body style was introduced by Atlas in 1969. It is distinguishable from the Roco-made 2200 series box car by the configuration of the door. The Rivarossi models are 9 scale feet high versus the 2200 series 10' scale height. The Rivarossi model could have been inspired by a PRR X-29, whereas the Roco version seems to more closely approximate a PS-1. In the 1975 catalog, both body styles are intermixed and labeled simply 'boxcars'.

Prototype History:
The first all-steel box car adopted as standard by the American Railway Association or ARA was a sound design, but unfortunately adopted near the depth of the Depression. Accordingly, not many railroads had the funds to buy this design, and orders only totaled 14,500 cars. But some of the railroads which did buy the 1932 car bought substantial numbers of them, and they are significant railroads: the Missouri Pacific (with subsidiaries, purchasing over 3000 cars) and the Seaboard (2000 cars). The Seaboard cars are especially interesting because the railroad chose to use the flat steel roof and ends reminiscent of the ARA’s proposed all-steel box car of 1923 (not adopted as standard), and widely used on the Pennsylvania X29 and Baltimore & Ohio M-26 classes.

In the early 1920's the Pennsylvania Railroad developed plans for a steel-sheathed box car and designated the design X-29. Production of this design began in 1924 and lasted into 1934. During this time period almost 30,000 Pennsylvania X-29 cars were built. Not all X-29's were the same. Their parts components varied from the original cars almost immediately. Variations included: frame components, brake systems, side sheathing, ends and doors just to mention the major changes. The 1924 X-29 was produced with the split K-brake or AB brake (added later), flat ends and side sheathing that has the 2nd to last panel from each end of the car overlapping its adjacent panels.
The ARA / X-29 box cars were noticeably shorter in height (8'-7" inside height) than later cars. .

There are many photographs showing X-29's lasting into Penn Central maintenance of way service.

More on PRR X-29 on this web site.

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.

Item created by: gdm on 2016-03-04 16:34:53. Last edited by Alain LM on 2020-09-24 15:40:38

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