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N Scale - Micro-Trains - NSC 97-76 - Great Northern Circus 13-Car Set - Great Northern - 13-Pack

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N Scale - Micro-Trains - NSC 97-76 - Great Northern Circus 13-Car Set - Great Northern - 13-Pack


N Scale - Micro-Trains - NSC 97-76 - Great Northern Circus 13-Car Set - Great Northern - 13-Pack


Brand Micro-Trains
Stock Number NSC 97-76
Original Retail Price $259.90
Commissioned By N Scale Collector
Manufacturer Micro-Trains Line
Production Type Special Run
Body Style Micro-Trains Body Style Assortment
Prototype Description Great Northern Circus 13-Car Set
Road or Company Name Great Northern (Details)
Road or Reporting Number 13-Pack
Paint Color(s) Various
Coupler Type MT Magne-Matic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Standard
Multipack Yes
Multipack Count 13
Multipack ID Number NSC 97-76
Release Date 1997-01-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Freight Cars
Model Subtype Boxcars
Model Variety 40 Foot
Scale 1/160



Specific Item Information: Complete set of all 13 Great Northern Circus cars. Includes sets NSC 97-68 (5 cars), 97-75 (5 cars), 96-75 (1 Caboose), and 98-09 2 Cars). Issued for NSC 6th Convention.

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: Micro-Trains is the brand name used by both Kadee Quality Products and Micro-Trains Line. For a history of the relationship between the brand and the two companies, please consult our Micro-Trains Collector's Guide.

Manufacturer Information:
Micro-Trains Line split off from Kadee Quality Products in 1990. Kadee Quality Products originally got involved in N-Scale by producing a scaled-down version of their successful HO Magne-Matic knuckle coupler system. This coupler was superior to the ubiquitous 'Rapido' style coupler due to two primary factors: superior realistic appearance and the ability to automatically uncouple when stopped over a magnet embedded in a section of track. The success of these couplers in N-Scale quickly translated to the production of trucks, wheels and in 1972 a release of ready-to-run box cars.

Micro-Trains Line Co. split off from Kadee in 1990 to form a completely independent company. For this reason, products from this company can appear with labels from both enterprises. Due to the nature of production idiosyncrasies and various random factors, the rolling stock from Micro-Trains can have all sorts of interesting variations in both their packaging as well as the products themselves. When acquiring an MTL product it is very important to understand these important production variations that can greatly enhance (or decrease) the value of your purchase.

Please consult our Micro-Trains Collector's Guide

Commissioner Information: The N Scale Enthusiast Society (previously known as The N Scale Collector until 2011) was established by Wick Brandon, as a sole proprietorship and was a stand alone company until Wick passed away in 2000. The company has been owned by Micro Trains Line since then.

Wick was the founder of TexNRails and he established NSE right after he sold the pioneering N Scale retailer to the Herz family, and the store moved to Florida. Wick and Lea moved their family from Texas to Bakersfield California, and the entire operation was run from his home in Bakersfield. George Johnsen, the current Chairman, came on board as Associate Editor starting with the third issue of the magazine, and the growth of the organization hasn’t stopped. Wick and George did the first convention in Medford in 1993, and added staff and advisors as the organization grew. Wick held the first auction for the NSE in 1995.

The NSE mission statement reads: “This organization is dedicated to the preservation of the history of N Scale Model Railroading, and the railroads they represent.”

They do:
- Special Run Cars
- Regular Auctions of "collectable" Cars
- Annual Conventions
- Bi-Monthly Magazine

Item created by: gdm on 2017-08-22 08:18:19. Last edited by gdm on 2019-11-04 13:39:19

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