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N Scale - Atlas - 30591 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Conrail - 22137

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N Scale - Atlas - 30591 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Conrail - 22137 Image Courtesy of Atlas Model Railroad


Stock Number 30591
Original Retail Price $25.95
Brand Atlas
Manufacturer Atlas
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Atlas Caboose Cupola Extended Vision
Prototype Caboose, Cupola, Steel (Details)
Road or Company Name Conrail (Details)
Road or Reporting Number 22137
Paint Color(s) Blue, White, Black Roof
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Body Material Plastic
Announcement Date 2004-05-01
Release Date 2004-09-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety Extended Vision
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: 1939 - 1957
Scale 1/160


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Specific Item Information: This model is depicted here with Micro-Trains couplers. This particular model was actually produced with Rapido couplers.

Model Information: Atlas released the "30" series extended vision caboose in 1996. This model is very similar to the "43" series cupola caboose in most respects. It can be easily distinguished from the standard cupola caboose in that the cupola is wider than the body on the "30" series - hence the name "Extended Vision". This model may or may not have "loop-over" ladders.

It is re-released every other year (approximately). The original releases sported Rapido hook couplers, but interestingly the 1999 release had versions with Rapido as well as versions with real (licensed) Magnematic couplers.

The current release from Atlas features: Accumate couplers; Thin endrails; Window glazing; Separate brake cylinder; Open smoke stack; Triple valve and air reservoir; Roller-bearing caboose trucks; Roofwalk where appropriate; Accurate painting and lettering.

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.

Steel Cabooses replaced their wood-sheathed brethren after the second world war when the steel glut made the production and maintenance of steel cabooses far more efficient than wooden models. With the advancement of the End-of-Train device, cabooses slowly began to fall out of favor. However, in the early 2000’s, “shoving platforms” began to appear as a place to safely house a crew when a reverse move was required. Instead of riding on the side of a freight car, the crew member now has a safe place to stand, while guiding the rear of a reverse move. Atlas’ shoving platform cabooses will feature blanked out windows (Where appropriate).

Road Name History:
The Consolidated Rail Corporation, commonly known as Conrail (reporting mark CR), was the primary Class I railroad in the Northeast U.S. between 1976 and 1999. Conrail is a portmanteau of "consolidated" and "rail" from the name of the company.

The U.S. federal government created Conrail to take over the potentially profitable lines of multiple bankrupt carriers, including the Penn Central Transportation Company and Erie Lackawanna Railway. With the benefit of industry-wide regulatory requirements being reduced (via the 4R Act and the Staggers Act), Conrail began to turn a profit in the 1980s and was turned over to private investors in 1987. The two remaining Class I railroads in the East, CSX Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), agreed in 1997 to split the system approximately equally, returning rail freight competition to the Northeast by essentially undoing the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad that created Penn Central. Following Surface Transportation Board approval, CSX and NS took control in August 1998, and on June 1, 1999, began operating their portions of Conrail.

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: James on 2017-01-10 21:27:09. Last edited by gdm on 2018-02-03 13:46:11

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