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N Scale - Atlas - 50 003 318 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel, C&O - Alaska Railroad - 1070

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N Scale - Atlas - 50 003 318 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel, C&O - Alaska Railroad - 1070 Image courtesy of John Becker


Brand Atlas
Stock Number 50 003 318
Original Retail Price $22.95
Manufacturer Atlas
Production Type Regular Production
Body Style Atlas Caboose Cupola C&O
Prototype Caboose, Cupola, Steel, C&O (Details)
Road or Company Name Alaska Railroad (Details)
Reporting Marks ARR
Road or Reporting Number 1070
Paint Color(s) Blue and Yellow
Print Color(s) Yellow and Blue
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Body Material Plastic
Announcement Date 2016-07-01
Release Date 2017-07-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety C&O
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Atlas introduced this model in 2008. From the get-go, this has been a Trainman model with slightly less detail and a lower price point than Atlas' Master line products. The "39" Series caboose carries a cupola almost in the exact middle of the body. It does NOT have a raised roofwalk like the NE-6. Instead the rooflwalks are molded into the roof. It does have ladders which "loop over" the roof. It carries two large windows on each side as well as two separated smaller windows on each side of the cupola. The smokestack is taller than the one on the NE-6. This model has always featured body-mounted Accumate couplers. This model falls somewhere between 2nd and 3rd generation rolling stock models. It lacks metal wheels and elegant use of detail parts (no etched metal parts here), but the wheels can be user-upgraded and one could argue that the end platform detail and ladders are sufficient to qualify for 'detail parts' - enough to make this a 3gen model.

Prototype History:
The first all-steel cabooses built for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad were produced in 1937 by the Magor Car Corporation in Clifton, N.J. Magor, along with St. Louis Car Company and ACF, ultimately built a total of 350 cabooses for the C&O using a similar design. The last were produced in 1949. Through subsequent rebuilding and modernization, many remained in service through the end of regular caboose usage in the 1980s. Cabooses of a similar design were also built for Pere Marquette, Missouri Pacific and Chicago & Eastern Illinois.

Road Name History:
Born in 1923 with the consolidation and connection of the Tanana Valley and Alaska Northern railroads, the line was owned by the Federal Government (under the Department of the Interior) from the outset, later becoming the responsibility of the Department of Transportation in 1967. In the mid-80s it was sold to the State of Alaska.

The Alaska Railroad links Anchorage with the port of Whittier and Seward to the south, and Fairbanks and environs to the north. Total mileage is about 525 putting it between Bangor & Aroostook and New York Ontario & Western in relative size. Alaska does run its own passenger service over the length of the railroad. Although the Alaska Railroad is disconnected from the rest of the North American rail network, they do interchange with other railroads. A trio of sea-going barges ferry rail cars from the port of Whittier to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington. ARR had collected a fleet of Alco RS-1s (and a few RSD-1’s) with cowls, effectively making them cab units unique to this line. These were later replaced by second generation EMD power. The big power on the line is a fleet of 28 SD70MACs. A dozen of these are equipped with HEP for use in passenger service.

The port of Whittier is hemmed in by the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. A 2.5 mile single track tunnel is the only way out of the port. The line through the tunnel is paved like street trackage so that highway traffic can use the tunnel. It is a single lane so highway traffic going south enters from the top of the hour until quarter after. Northbound traffic enters from the bottom of the hour until 45 after the hour. Trains get priority and proceed as soon as traffic has cleared.

Brand/Importer Information:
In 1924 Stephan Schaffan, Sr. founded the Atlas Tool Company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1933 his son, Stephan Schaffan, Jr., came to work for his father at the age of sixteen. Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".

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 2017-07-01 14:52:10. Last edited by gdm on 2019-01-30 12:42:47

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