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N Scale - Atlas - 3580 - Caboose, Cupola, Steel - Grand Trunk Western - 89058

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Brand Atlas
Stock Number 3580
Original Retail Price $3.25
Manufacturer Atlas Model Railroad
Production Type Regular Production
Body Style Atlas Caboose Cupola Offset 8-Window
Prototype Vehicle Caboose, Cupola, Steel (Details)
Road or Company Name Grand Trunk Western (Details)
Road or Reporting Number 89058
Paint Color(s) Red
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type Rapido Hook
Wheel Type Nickel-Silver Plated Metal
Wheel Profile Deep Flange
Release Date 1981-10-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety Offset
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Specific Item Information: Significant spotting feature of this model is the truck-mounted couplers and incorrect truck spacing.rnrnModel shown with floor/frame modified to correct truck centers and spacing; car was manufactured with extended truck spacing to use truck-mounted couplers; original production models had correct truck centers and body mounted couplers.

Model Information: The "35" series "Offset" Cupola Caboose is an early Atlas body style introduced between 1979 and 1982. It replaced the earlier 6-window version of the offset cupola caboose that was made for Atlas by Roco. The model was first manufactured in Atlas' New Jersey facility but later moved to China. Its cupola is located towards one end of the body hence the nickname "End" or "Offset" Cupola Caboose. This body style has a roofwalk. It has five windows on one side and three on the other (hence it is known as the 8-Window version) as well as two separated windows on each side of the Cupola. It has ladders on each end which do NOT loop over the ends onto the roof.

Prototype History:
The origins of the railroad caboose appear to date back to the 1840s when Nat Williams, a conductor of the Auburn & Syracuse Railroad (a later affiliate of the New York Central) became fed up with cramped and uncomfortable quarters to do paperwork (a common job of the conductor, whose responsibility is general oversight and control of a train, passenger or freight), which was usually done in either a free space of a passenger car or combine/baggage car. To fix this problem, Williams found an unused boxcar and using a simple box and barrel, as a seat and desk, set up shop in the car to do his duties. Not only did he find out he had plenty of room to work but also figured that he could use the unused space to store tools (flags, lanterns, spare parts, etc.) and other essentials to have on board whenever needed (such things become commonly stored on the caboose).

Perhaps the most striking feature ever applied to the railroad caboose was its cupola. According to the story, conductor T.B. Watson of the Chicago & North Western in the 1860s reportedly used a hole in a boxcar’s roof (which he was using as a caboose) to get a better vantage point of the train ahead. It is said that Watson was amazed by the view afforded from the position being able to not only see the train ahead but also from all sides, and to the rear as well. He apparently convinced C&NW shop forces to construct a type of open observation box onto an existing singe-level caboose with windows all around where one could sit and view their surroundings. The rest, as they say, is history and the common cupola was born.

Steel Cabooses replaced their wood-sheathed brethren after the second world war when the steel glut made the production and maintenance of steel cabooses far more efficient than wooden models. With the advancement of the End-of-Train device, cabooses slowly began to fall out of favor. However, in the early 2000’s, “shoving platforms” began to appear as a place to safely house a crew when a reverse move was required. Instead of riding on the side of a freight car, the crew member now has a safe place to stand, while guiding the rear of a reverse move.

Road Name History:
The Grand Trunk Western dates from 1928 as part of the Canadian government’s process of nationalizing some major Canadian railroads (under the name Canadian National) including the Grand Trunk Railway which had built the line. The GT lines in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois were combined under the Grand Trunk Western banner. The GTW linked the Canadian border at Port Huron (north of Detroit, Michigan) with Chicago via Durand, Lansing, and South Bend. There were also routes to Detroit, Pontiac, Bay City, Carson City, and the Lake Michigan car ferry port of Muskegon (with ferry service to Wisconsin where GTW maintained a small yard and stationed a switcher.) The GTW had about 1,000 route miles during this period. So, the GTW was an American railroad that was a wholly owned subsidiary of a Canadian corporation, wholly owned by the Canadian government. In 1970, GTW was made a subsidiary of Grand Trunk Corporation (still wholly owned by CN) which also held sister roads Central Vermont, Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific and Grand Trunk (which operated in New York and New England.) This was done to give CN’s american employees more opportunities to advance in the organization.

The GTW steam fleet looked very much like what you would see on the CN but GTW’s engines were built in the U.S. by Alco, Lima, and Baldwin. A fleet of 58 Alco built Mikes handled the prime road freight assignments until augmented by 43 4-8-4’s from Alco and Lima. Parent CN also relied heavily on 4-8-4’s so this was not a surprise. The last of these was delivered in 1944. Despite picking up F units and geeps for freight service early on, GTW was late to retire steam. The last run (in passenger service no less) was in 1960!

The first generation of diesels included F’s and GP9’s (set up long hood forward as on parent CN) followed by GP18’s for freight service. GTW went to EMD and Alco for switchers. Road units were painted in a green and gold scheme essentially the same as that of CN but with their own lettering and logos.

In 1962, GTW adopted a new “noodle” logo using the letters GT to conform to CN’s own noodle logo adopted two years before. Locomotives were painted black with Morency Orange ends (later replaced with red) with light gray frame stripes and lettering. Cab units received the familiar “sergeant stripe” scheme used on CN. GTW’s second generation of diesels (which also introduced the switch to low short hoods and running short-hood-forward) began in 1969 with the delivery of SD40’s followed by GP38AC and GP38-2 models. In December of 1971, GTW switched from black to blue with red ends and white frame stripe and lettering.

In addition to acting as a link from Chicago to eastern Canada, GTW was also an important carrier for the auto industry. Their freight car fleet included large numbers of auto parts boxcars and auto racks. In the early 70’s, GTW adopted the motto, “the Good Track road” on their freight cars to set them apart from their derailment prone neighbor Penn Central.

In 1980, GTW acquired another railroad critical to the auto industry, the Detroit Toledo & Ironton. This gave GTW routes from Detroit to the Ohio River. A year later, they acquired Norfolk & Western’s half of the Detroit & Toledo Shore Line, merging that small bridge line connecting Detroit with Toledo.

At this point, GTW was over 1,500 miles long with 262 diesels and nearly 12,000 cars. In 1995, GTW’s parent Canadian National was privatized, at which point there was less need for the US subsidiaries to have distinctly separate identities. Grand Trunk Western continues as a “paper railroad” but operations on these lines are now run as part of the greater Canadian National system.

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.

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 2017-09-11 15:16:00. Last edited by dennis.kamper on 2020-07-13 07:22:07

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