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Model Information: Atlas first introduced this model in 1995. It has always been manufactured in China. The early releases came equipped with Rapido couplers/ Later versions come with Accumate couplers.
This is quite definitely a "2nd Generation" tooling. It does feature low-profile wheels with magnetically operated couplers (Accumate). The print quality is excellent and the mold shows great attention to detail. However, the key three features of a 3rd gen model: metal wheels, body-mount couplers and detail parts. While the tooling is very high quality, the only noticeable detail part is the brake wheel - which is nothing special. The stirrups, while not being as clunky as early Atlas and Roco designs, lack the realistic appearance of a 3rd gen model where this part is typically not part of the mold. A nice model for its time (mid 1990s) but essentially a beginner's model at the time of this review (2017).
FGE built the cars and then leased them to its parent railroads. Cars on long-term lease could be found in FGE paint schemes with the railroad’s reporting marks, or painted for the leasing road with minimal if any FGE information. Other cars roamed freely in open interchange service in FGE’s own fleet. Maintenance on these cars was also performed by FGE at their own shops.
Palletized shipments of perishables led to the introduction of this class in the early 1960s. The interior is fitted with restraints, which hold the loads securely and protect them against damage caused by slack action. To speed loading times, 10'6" plug doors are used, providing easier access for forklifts. These cars also carry electronic items, furniture, paper, machinery and other temperature-sensitive cargo.
Today, some FGE products still roam the rails. When it sold its own reefer fleet in the 1990s, cars were sold to Burlington Northern and Union Pacific. Modernized with new refrigeration units, many are still in service. While a few are still in service on local freights on Norfolk Southern and CSX, several more FGE-built cabooses of B&O, Conrail and L&N heritage can be found in parks and museums. What remains of FGE as a company is primarily paper – it is a wholly owned subsidiary of CSX.
Road Name History:
The original Western Pacific Railroad was established in 1865 to build the westernmost portion of the Transcontinental Railroad between San Jose, California (later Oakland, California), and Sacramento, California. This company was absorbed into the Central Pacific Railroad in 1870.
The second company to use the name Western Pacific Railroad was founded in 1903. Under the direction of George Jay Gould I, the Western Pacific was founded to provide a standard gauge track connection to the Pacific Coast for his aspiring Gould transcontinental system. The construction was financed by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, a company in the Gould system, which lost access to California due to the attempted acquisition of the Southern Pacific Railroad by the Rio Grande's main rival, the Union Pacific Railroad. The Western Pacific Railroad acquired the Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad and began construction on what would become the Feather River Route. In 1909 it became the last major railroad completed into California. It used 85-lb rail on untreated ties, with no tie plates except on curves over one degree; in 1935 more than half of the main line still had its original rail, most of it having carried 150 million gross tons.
The Western Pacific was acquired in 1983 by Union Pacific Corporation, which in 1996 would purchase its long-time rival, the Southern Pacific Railroad. In July 2005 Union Pacific unveiled a brand new EMD SD70ACe locomotive, Union Pacific 1983, painted as an homage to the Western Pacific.
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 2017-04-20 10:05:28. Last edited by gdm on 2018-03-06 08:53:35
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