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N Scale - Ak-Sar-Ben - 9208-1 - Flatcar, 50 Foot - Milwaukee Road - 833133

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N Scale - Ak-Sar-Ben - 9208-1 - Flatcar, 50 Foot - Milwaukee Road - 833133 Image from TroveStar Classifieds


Aftermarket Decorator Aksarben
Stock Number 9208-1
Brand Ak-Sar-Ben
Manufacturer Atlas Model Railroad
Body Style Atlas Flatcar 50 Foot TOFC
Prototype Vehicle Flatcar, 50 Foot (Details)
Road or Company Name Milwaukee Road (Details)
Reporting Marks MILW
Road or Reporting Number 833133
Paint Color(s) Boxcar Red
Print Color(s) White
Additional Markings/Slogan Busch
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Flatcar
Model Subtype 50 Foot
Model Variety Double TOFC
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era II: Late Steam (1901 - 1938)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Unlike many other Atlas releases from the 1960's, the Atlas 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 20 years. In 1988, 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.

Prototype History:
A flatcar (US) (also flat car (US) or flat wagon (UIC)) is a piece of railroad (US) or railway (non-US) rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck mounted on a pair of trucks (US) or bogies (UK), one at each end containing four or six wheels. Occasionally, flat cars designed to carry extra heavy or extra large loads are mounted on a pair (or rarely, more) of bogeys under each end . The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads. Flatcars designed for carrying machinery have sliding chain assemblies recessed in the deck.

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.

From Wikipedia

Road Name History:
First of all, Milwaukee Road has only ever been a popular nickname. The real name from 1874 was Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul. For the next 36 years, the CM&StP linked Chicago with Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Wausau, the Twin Cities, Duluth, Kansas City and Omaha with a dense network of branches in Wisconsin, Iowa, southern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota. Essentially, the lines ended at the Missouri River.

With a dearth of friendly western connections, CM&StP decided to build their own line to the Pacific. The original target was the bustling megalopolis of Eureka, California. However, they built toward Seattle instead. In 1909 the line opened. Along the way, they served Miles City, Lewiston, Great Falls, Harlowton and Butte, Montana; Avery, Idaho; and Spokane, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. In 1912, they began to electrify two long segments, Harlowton, Montana to Avery, Idaho and Othello, Washington to Tacoma.

In 1921, they leased the Chicago Terre Haute & Southeastern and a bit later the Chicago Milwaukee & Gary to reach the coal fields of southern Indiana. Both roads were in trouble and dragged the CM&StP into receivership. In 1928, they emerged with a small name change. It was now the Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific. Right after that, the nickname “Milwaukee Road” began to catch on.

The three Class One’s that already served the Pacific Northwest, Northern Pacific, Great Northern (along with their jointly owned minion Spokane Portland & Seattle) and Union Pacific were not pleased with their new neighbor and avoided building interchanges with them unless absolutely necessary. This left Milwaukee to haul whatever traffic they could originate or terminate on their own line or via a hand full of shortlines with which they interchanged. This is why when you see photos of Milwaukee Road trains west of the Dakotas, an exceptionally large majority of cars are lettered for Milwaukee Road.

Milwaukee’s steam fleet is generally quite handsome beginning with the period after WWI. Many locomotives were built in their own shops. The steam era came to an end on the Milwaukee in 1957.

The electrified lines were ruled by boxcabs and Bi-Polars for decades. In the 1950’s, Little Joe’s diverted from the Soviet Union arrived on the Milwaukee (and the South Shore.) By the late 60’s diesels began to regularly invade the electrified lines. Little Joes and diesels were MU’ed. The aging catenary could only handle so many electrics at a time so diesels filled the horsepower gap. By 1972, falling traffic, a declining fleet of serviceable electrics and the deteriorating catenary caused Milwaukee Road to de-energize the western lines lines with Avery to Harlowton lines following two years later.

Meanwhile on the east end, as a condition of the 1971 merger of Monon into L&N, Milwaukee Road received trackage rights from Chicago to Louisville. This gave Southern a friendly connection to Chicago it was losing with Monon.

In 1977, Milwaukee Road entered receivership again. This time, radical restructuring was needed. In 1980, everything west of Miles City, Montana was abandoned. Some lines were picked up by connections or spawned new shortlines but nearly 1,000 miles of track was pulled up. In 1982, Miles City to Ortonville, Minnesota was abandoned. Milwaukee was concentrating on their pre-1909 routes plus the new line to Louisville.

In an attempt to win back middle distance TOFC traffic, Milwaukee began running fast and short piggyback trains, usually behind a single SD40-2 and with a dozen or so 89’ flats. Unit coal trains added to the bottom line. By the mid-80s, the streamlined Milwaukee Road was up for sale and Grand Trunk Western, Chicago & North Western and Soo Line got into a bidding war. GTW had diverted 40,000 cars onto Milwaukee Road between Chicago and Duluth to help them turn a profit in 1983. Ironically, the ICC (which controlled mergers at the time) pushed GTW out of the contest leaving just C&NW and Soo. Furious, GTW diverted their 40,000 carloads off the Milwaukee. C&NW outbid Soo, but the ICC chose Soo Line anyway. Milwaukee Road merged into Soo Line in 1985. Almost immediately, Soo shops began painting big black rectangles over MILWAUKEE ROAD on the diesels, giving birth to the “bandit” paint scheme.

Brand/Importer Information:
Ak-Sar-Ben Hobby Co
Information on AkSarBen Hobby and their history is sketchy at best. Of course, AkSarBen is Nebraska spelled backwards so one might assume that they got their start in the Husker state. The most recent evidence of their existence, however, was in the 2010 Model Retailer Hobby Industry Directory listing them in Jacksboro, TN. The phone number listed is disconnected, so, who knows for sure? What is known is that AkSarBen Hobbies was owned by Allen Miller and got their start in the 1980's producing very high quality custom, limited edition HO and N Scale products. They probably have left the model train business for more than 20 years ago.

Manufacturer Information: 'Atlas Model Railroad' represents the New Jersey manufacturing facility for Atlas brand model railroad products. Atlas also imported European made models in their early years and those items will be noted as having manufacturers set appropriately. In the 1990s Atlas moved all their toolings to China.

Item created by: gdm on 2017-01-04 11:19:13. Last edited by Lethe on 2020-05-18 12:19:40

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