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Model Information: This body style first appears in Atlas' 1992 catalog with a pre-production photo and labeled "Coming in late '91". Seven road names were announced as well as a 3900 Undecorated model. The original release was made in Atlas' New Jersey facility and marked "Atlas USA" on the frame. Later production was moved to China and marketed under Atlas' Trainman® line.
The first ACF covered hoppers were rib-side cars, like many others of the time. In the 1960's ACF eliminated the supporting ribs and started building what they called the Center Flow(R) hopper with a smooth, rounded side. The cars were built at several ACF plants, but the Huntington, West Virginia plant built only Center Flow cars since their inception and was the primary builder.
Road Name History:
The railroad runs between Huntley, Montana and Spokane, Washington, largely within Montana, and the main line passes through the towns of Missoula, Livingston, Bozeman, Billings, and Helena. Montana Rail Link connects with the BNSF on both ends and also in Garrison, Montana. The railroad has over 900 miles (1,400 km) of track, serves 100 stations, and employs approximately 1,000 personnel. The main yard is in Laurel, Montana, with smaller yards located in Missoula, Billings, and Helena.
Montana Rail Link's present status and main line date back to 1987, when MRL under Missoula businessman Dennis Washington agreed to lease Burlington Northern's southern Montana main line between Sandpoint, Idaho and Huntley, Montana, near Billings. This spin-off was controversial as it happened during contract negotiations between Burlington Northern and the United Transportation Union. MRL workers are represented by various unions. Montana Rail Link trains operate between Billings, MT and Spokane, WA using trackage rights over BN successor BNSF Railway's tracks connecting those points.
Montana Rail Link still uses cabooses, which are used to carry remote control switching equipment on Laurel switch engines. A significant number of MRL movements are actually BNSF trains, complete with locomotives, that MRL receives at one end of its track and forwards back to BNSF at the other end. MRL also operates trains of its own to gather and distribute local freight along its lines. Forest products and grain are primary commodities, and MRL also operates a special train, called the Gas Local, between Missoula and Thompson Falls, Montana, to bridge a gap in a long-distance gasoline pipeline.
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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: Chance on 2016-09-13 10:44:26. Last edited by gdm on 2018-01-22 17:12:30
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