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Body Style Information: This Model Power tooling is a Chinese knock off of the New Jersey made 1976 vintage Atlas PS-1 boxcar. It was also imported by Life-Like. We are not sure of this was a deal struck between Model Power and Life-Like (who were presumably competitors) or if the Chinese factory simply decided to sell to Life-Like as well as Model Power. The Life-Like models are identical to the Model Power models.
Model Power re-run their previous Mehano-made models with this new tooling, using the same roadnames and numbers and the same stock number. The main difference between the Mehano and the Chinese molds can be observed on the door. The best way to distinguish them remains however the marking on the under-frame (Yugoslavia or Hong-Kong)
This model is of equivalent quality to the Atlas version (perhaps even sharper molding and lettering). It likely appeared in the late 1980s when Model Power contracted with Chinese manufacturers to replicate various successful toolings from Europe (Roco, Lima) and the US (Atlas). Like all of this group of models, these care feature Rapido couplers attached to trucks with injection-molded plastic wheels. Most of these models look fine on a modern layout and will run well once you swap the Chinese trucks for MTL Bettendorf truck/couplers.
Prototype Information: The 40' Boxcar is widely known as one of the most popular freight cars used by railroads as they transitioned from steam to diesel. In particular the Pullman Standard or PS-1 design was one of the most popular and was widely used by North American railroads. These boxcars were built beginning in 1947 and share the same basic design, with certain elements such as door size, door style or roof type varying among the different railroads and production years. When production of these cars ceased in 1963, over 100,000 had been produced.
So just what is a PS-1? Well the simple answer is it is any boxcar built by Pullman Standard from 1947 on. The design changed over the years – sometimes subtly, sometimes for customer request, and sometimes in a larger way. In general, most PS-1’s built from 1947 to 1961 share the same dimensions and basic construction techniques. These cars all had a length of 40′, a height of 10’5″ or 10’6″, welded sides and ends and roof of Pullman’s own design. The greatest variation was in the size and style of doors used. Pullman Standard also offered 50′ and later 60′ boxcars – also with the PS-1 designation.
The Boston and Maine Railroad was chartered in New Hampshire on June 27, 1835, and the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts Railroad was incorporated March 12, 1839, in Maine, both companies continuing the proposed line to South Berwick, Maine. The railroad opened in 1840 to Exeter, New Hampshire, and on January 1, 1842, the two companies merged with the Boston and Portland to form a new Boston and Maine Railroad.
The B&M flourished with the growth of New England's mill towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but still faced financial struggles. It came under the control of J. P. Morgan and his New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad around 1910, but anti-trust forces wrested control back. Later it faced heavy debt problems from track construction and from the cost of acquiring the Fitchburg Railroad, causing a reorganization in 1919.
By 1980, though still a sick company, the B&M started turning around thanks to aggressive marketing and its purchase of a cluster of branch lines in Connecticut. The addition of coal traffic and piggyback service also helped. In 1983 the B&M emerged from bankruptcy when it was purchased by Timothy Mellon's Guilford Transportation Industries for $24 million. This was the beginning of the end of the Boston & Maine corporate image, and the start of major changes, such as the labor issues which caused the strikes of 1986 and 1987, and drastic cost cutting such as the 1990 closure of B&M's Mechanicville, New York, site, the largest rail yard and shop facilities on the B&M system.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Technically, Boston & Maine Corporation still exists today but only as a non-operating ward of PAR. Boston & Maine owns the property (and also employs its own railroad police), while Springfield Terminal Railway, a B&M subsidiary, operates the trains and performs maintenance. This complicated operation is mainly due to more favorable labor agreements under Springfield Terminal's rules.
Read more on Wikipedia.
In early 2014, Model Power ceased its business operations. Its extensive portfolio of intellectual property and physical assets are now exclusively produced, marketed, sold, and distributed by MRC (Model Power, MetalTrain and Mantua) and by Daron (Postage Stamp Airplanes and Airliner Collection).
There are exceptions. When Sanda Kan first started developing rolling stock for Life-Like in the late 1980s, no such protection existed. As result the exact same models being imported by Life-Like were also being imported by Industrial Rail (and possibly others). Life-Like was not the only importer to be burned like this. Model Power developed cars in China to duplicate rolling stock toolings made in Europe and the US only to see those same models get imported by Life-Like.
It is perhaps the case that Industrial Rail got permission to import the Sanda Kan models from Life-Like or that Life-Like go permission from Model Power to bring in the PS-1's but it seems more likely that the factory managers in Southern China got greedy. But, you never know.
Item created by: gdm on 2016-03-28 15:30:16. Last edited by gdm on 2017-10-27 16:37:33
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