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Model Information: Unlike many other Atlas releases from the 1960's, theAtlas 50 Foot Flatcar was actually produced by Atlas in the United States at their New Jersey facility. This model was first announced in the 1967 catalog with two road names with two Piggyback trailers permanently affixed to the car (TOFC). The two models first appeared for sale in the 1969 catalog at $2.50 each. The 1969 catalog shows two different road names and that is all that was available for 21 years. In 1990, a large new release appears with two dozen road names in two configurations: single 40 foot trailers and twin 24 foot trailers.
Early versions featured Rapido couplers and metal wheels and later versions have Accumate couplers with plastic low-profile wheels. In 1996 (likely when they moved the tooling to China) they started producing multiple road numbers for each paint scheme. By 2008, this tooling was almost 40 years old and showing its age, especially when compared to some of the higher quality models Atlas was producing as part of their new 'Master' line. Rather than retire this very popular (and low-cost) model, Atlas moved the model to their 'Trainman' line along with other older models. This model has been released and re-released a dozen or more times in the last 50 years with a wide range of road names and road numbers.
This model at first glance appears to be very similar to the Rivarossi-produced 40 foot flatcar with stakes, but the TOFC model is 10 scale feet longer and close inspection reveals a different tooling.
Flatcars are used for loads that are too large or cumbersome to load in enclosed cars such as boxcars. They are also often used to transport intermodal containers (shipping containers) or trailers as part of intermodal freight transport shipping.
Road Name History:
Until 1972, when the company was sold to its employees, it was named the Chicago and North Western Railway. The C&NW became one of the longest railroads in the United States as a result of mergers with other railroads, such as the Chicago Great Western Railway, Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway and others.
By 1995, track sales and abandonment had reduced the total mileage back to about 5,000. The majority of the abandoned and sold lines were lightly trafficked branches in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Large line sales, such as those that resulted in the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad further helped reduce the railroad to a mainline core with several regional feeders and branches.
The company was purchased by Union Pacific Railroad (UP) in April 1995 and ceased to exist.
Read more on Wikipedia.
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 2017-01-12 13:12:09. Last edited by gdm on 2018-03-20 11:39:40
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