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N Scale - Minitrix - 3266 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Great Northern

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N Scale - Minitrix - 3266 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Great Northern The image shown is the same body type though not necessarily the same road name or road number.



Brand Minitrix
Stock Number 3266
Original Retail Price $2.00
Manufacturer Roco
Body Style Roco Caboose Cupola Offset 8-Window
Prototype Caboose, Cupola, Steel (Details)
Road or Company Name Great Northern (Details)
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Deep Flange
Body Material Plastic
Release Date 1970-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety End
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: This model was first produced by Roco for Minitrix for import into the USA by Aurora as part of the "Postage Stamp" series of models. It is a model of a generic steel offset-cupola caboose. Unlike the similar model made for Atlas by Roco at the same time, this version carries a total of 8 side windows (five on one side and three on the other) whereas the Atlas version has three and three. Interestingly, when Atlas decided to make their own tooling for an offset cupola caboose they went with the five/three layout similar to the Minitrix version. It has also been imported by Model Power.

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 Great Northern was born in 1881 with the consolidation of several railroads of the northern plains under the leadership of James J. Hill. By 1893, the mainline from the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River to Seattle was complete.

The GN had two distinctly different characters. The eastern half was a largely flat, grain producing region serving cities like Fargo, the Twin Cities, Grand Forks, Duluth, Sioux Falls, Sioux City and even Winnipeg in Canada. The east end also included the iron ore rich regions of Minnesota. Half of North Dakota was blanketed by GN branchlines (21 in all) serving every imaginable grain elevator.

The western half is the mountainous portion that most people identify with Great Northern. This included crossing the northern Rockies and the even more difficult Cascade ranges. Cities on the western half included Billings, Butte, Helena, Havre, Spokane, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. In 1931, a connection to the Western Pacific was completed from Bieber north to Bend, Oregon. This line was disconnected from the rest of the Great Northern. They used trackage rights on the Oregon Trunk and SP&S to bridge the gap. The Cascade Tunnel, the longest on the continent at 7.8 miles, wasn’t completed until 1931. Construction included a massive sluiceway and hydro-electric power station to feed the electrified line through the tunnel and several miles of railroad on either side. This replaced the original Cascade Tunnel which was a third as long but 500 feet higher up the mountain. That replaced the original route that was another 700 feet higher, had 4% grades and 50 miles of snowsheds. All told, Great Northern had about 8,300 route miles.

The steam era was especially unkind to the Great Northern. They seemed to go out of their way to make their locomotives ugly. Belpaire fire boxes were the norm (made famous by the Pennsylvania, made hideous on the GN.) Headlights were often mounted just above center giving them a spinster look. Cab fronts were often at odd angles. The tender coal bunkers were often taller than the engines. But it wasn’t just aesthetics. GN had a knack for buying the wrong engines for the job. 150 Prarie type 2-6-2’s were so unstable at speed that they were busted down to branchline duty almost straight away and none survived after about 1930. Their first 4-8-2 Mountains built for passenger and fast freight were such a disaster, they were rebuilt into 2-10-2’s. Many railroads had built Mountains out of Mikes but no one had ever started with a Mountain and had to build something else from it. The first 2-6-6-2’s were so under-powered, the boilers were used to make Mikados instead. They did manage to build the largest, fastest, and most powerful Mikados in the country however. Their articulated fleet included 2-6-6-2, 2-6-8-0 (later rebuilt into Mikes), 2-8-8-0, 2-8-8-2 types as well as a pair of Challengers originally delivered to SP&S. Many engines were dressed up with green boilers and boxcar red cab roofs.

For the first generation of diesels, GN bought like many large railroads did: a sampling from everyone. Cab and hood units from EMD and Alco and switchers from EMD, Alco, and Baldwin populated the roster. GN’s first generation geeps and SD’s were delivered with the long hood as the front. This included their GP20’s which had high short hoods and the long hood as the front. Aside from an early black scheme for switchers, the GN fleet was delivered in Omaha Orange and green with yellow piping.

Beginning with the arrival of GP30s in 1962, the paint scheme was simplified by dropping the bottom orange band and the yellow piping. For the second generation, General Electric replaced Alco as a supplier of new road engines.

In 1962, some GN freight cars began to appear in Glacier Green which ran along side the vermilion paint adopted in 1956. In 1967, they went for a major shift. Sky Blue, white, and dark gray were joined by a new version of the Rocky the goat logo. There was talk that this would become the paint scheme for Burlington Northern. The GN name and logo was painted on a steel panel bolted the the hand railings of hood units, making it easier to remove after the merger. For whatever reason, they went with green, black and white, a version of which was simultaneously being tested on the Burlington Route. In 1970, Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Spokane Portland & Seattle, and Burlington Route merged to form Burlington Northern.

Brand/Importer Information:
Trix is a German company that originally made Trix metal construction sets. one of its co-founders was Stephan Bing, the son of the pioneer toy-maker industrialist Ignaz Bing. In 1935 the company began producing the electrically powered model trains that it became famous for, under the Trix Express label. Prior to the outbreak of World War II the Trix company produced a small range of fairly unrealistic AC powered three rail models running at 14 volts.

N gauge models under the Minitrix brand were made from the late 1960s mostly of European prototypes (German and British primarily). North American prototypes were also manufactured and marketed under the Aurora "Postage Stamp" brand; later these items were sold under the American Tortoise, Model Power and Con-Cor brands. Trix sometimes utilized North American consultants to aid in the design of this portion of the product line. The "Hornby Minitrix' brand was used in the 1980s for a short lived range of British outline models using the earlier product tooling.

Trix's owner in the 1980s and 1990s was Mangold, which went bankrupt in the late 1990s and Märklin purchased the assets in January 1997. In part, this purchase was a reflection of Märklin's need for added production capacity; Trix had been manufacturing certain items for Märklin in previous years. The purchase was also in response to the earlier purchase of the Karl Arnold company by the Italian company Rivarossi; Märklin were very keen to take over Trix market share in 2-rail H0 and especially Minitrix, until then Märklin had not marketed N gauge models. In 2003, Märklin introduced its first N gauge models under the well established Minitrix brand. A number Märklin H0 scale three-rail AC locomotives have also been introduced in two-rail DC versions under the Trix logo and many models are shared between the two brands.

From Wikipedia

Manufacturer Information:
The company was founded in 1960 by Ing. Heinz Rössler and started with a plastic Minitanks series of military vehicles. After export to the USA became successful, the model line was expanded with model trains in HO scale and the smaller N scale. TT scale was also subsequently added to the product line. The model rail product line covers many European countries including Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands, and also the USA.

On July 15, 2005 ROCO Modellspielwaren GmbH was declared bankrupt. From July 25 the company continues as Modelleisenbahn GmbH, but still uses the Roco brand and associated logo. On October 1, 2007, distribution of the 'Minitank' product series was assigned to the German model car manufacturer Herpa.

Since February 2008 Modelleisenbahn also owns Fleischmann, which like Roco had gone bankrupt. The two companies continue as separate brands under Modelleisenbahn GmbH, while benefiting from economies of scale through joined development projects, marketing and procurement.

From Wikipedia

Item created by: gdm on 2017-02-11 12:13:12. Last edited by gdm on 2018-02-24 16:42:18

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