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N Scale - Kato USA - 106-1052-B - Passenger Car, Lightweight, ACF - Great Northern - 279

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Stock Number 106-1052-B
Brand Kato USA
Manufacturer Kato
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Kato Passenger Car ACF Baggage
Prototype Vehicle Passenger Car, Lightweight, ACF (Details)
Road or Company Name Great Northern (Details)
Reporting Marks GN
Road or Reporting Number 279
Paint Color(s) Omaha Orange and Pullman Green
Paint Scheme Empire Builder
Coupler Type Kato Operating Knuckle
Wheel Type Chemically Blackened Metal
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Multipack ID Number 106-1052
Ready-to-Run No
Announcement Date 2006-05-01
Release Date 2006-06-01
Item Category Passenger Cars
Model Type Lightweight/Streamlined
Model Subtype ACF
Model Variety Baggage
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Specific Item Information: Passenger Car Features:
  • Painted in "Empire Builder" green and orange
  • Each car is equipped with low flange wheels, KATO magnetic knuckle couplers and shock absorber construction for smooth and reliable operation
  • Interior of cars can be lighted with optional installation of #11-209/210 Interior Light Kit with White LED (Light Kit with White LED is DCC friendly)

Prototype History:
In the post-war period, passenger rail service boomed. In order to increase efficiency, the railroads set to replacing their old wood, steel and concrete heavyweight passenger cars with newer lightweight, streamlined cars. The new cars were made from stainless steel, aluminum and Cor-Ten steel. These cars required less motive power to pull and were cheaper to manufacture. Production was also concentrated in a few manufacturers rather than each railroad making its own. This led to standardization which further reduced costs. The new "lightweight" cars were also given "streamlined" designs to make them more visually appealing. Budd, Pullman Standard and ACF were all well known manufacturers of these cars.

ACF produced both smoothside and corrugated cars. Cars from ACF were used on Great Northern's Empire Builder route as well as by many other railroads offering passenger service.

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:
KATO U.S.A. was established in 1986, with the first U.S. locomotive model (the GP38-2, in N-Scale) released in 1987. Since that time, KATO has come to be known as one of the leading manufacturers of precision railroad products for the modeling community. KATO's parent company, Sekisui Kinzoku Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

In addition to producing ready-to-run HO and N scale models that are universally hailed for their high level of detail, craftsmanship and operation, KATO also manufactures UNITRACK. UNITRACK is the finest rail & roadbed modular track system available to modelers today. With the track and roadbed integrated into a single piece, UNITRACK features a nickel-silver rail and a realistic-looking roadbed. Patented UNIJOINERS allow sections to be snapped together quickly and securely, time after time if necessary.

The Kato U.S.A. office and warehouse facility is located in Schaumburg, Illinois, approximately 30 miles northwest of Chicago. All research & development of new North American products is performed here, in addition to the sales and distribution of merchandise to a vast network of wholesale representatives and retail dealers. Models requiring service sent in by hobbyists are usually attended to at this location as well. The manufacturing of all KATO products is performed in Japan.

Supporters of KATO should note that there is currently no showroom or operating exhibit of models at the Schaumburg facility. Furthermore, model parts are the only merchandise sold directly to consumers. (Please view the Parts Catalog of this website for more specific information.)

Item created by: Alain LM on 2016-07-25 09:12:27. Last edited by gdm on 2018-02-02 10:16:26

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