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N Scale - Atlas - 31752 - Covered Hopper, 2-Bay, PS2 - Great Northern - 71501

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N Scale - Atlas - 31752 - Covered Hopper, 2-Bay, PS2 - Great Northern - 71501 Image Courtesy of Atlas Model Railroad


Brand Atlas
Stock Number 31752
Original Retail Price $10.95
Manufacturer Atlas
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Atlas Covered Hopper 2-Bay PS-2
Prototype Type Covered Hopper, 2-Bay, PS2 (Details)
Road or Company Name Great Northern (Details)
Reporting Marks GN
Road or Reporting Number 71501
Paint Color(s) Gray
Print Color(s) Black
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Announcement Date 2005-07-01
Release Date 2005-11-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Covered Hopper
Model Subtype 2-Bay
Model Variety PS-2
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: This model is first mentioned in the 1994 Atlas catalog as 'Expected February 1994'. It was announced in seven road names and an undecorated model. In the 1996 catalog it is shown with 28 different road names. Apparently, it was a very popular model from the time it was launched. This body was one of the first models to be launched from China (most other contemporaneous Atlas products were made from molds sent over to China that had been used in previous USA releases).

Prototype History:
Like their PS-1 boxcars, PS-5 gondolas and other car designs, Pullman Standard applied the PS-2 classification to all of its covered hoppers. Pullman Standard built covered hoppers in many sizes and configurations. But say “PS-2” to railfans and it is this particular car that usually first comes to mind. The 2003 cubic foot car was one of the first, smallest and prolific of the PS-2 cars.

Pullman began building its standardized freight car designs with the PS-1 boxcar in 1947. Next up would be a standard covered hopper – hence PS-2 – shortly thereafter. Although covered hoppers are among the most common cars on the rails today, in 1947 they were a rarity. The PS-2’s primary competition wasn’t other covered hopper designs but boxcars. Grain, cement, sand and dried chemicals were carried mostly in boxcars prior to the 1950s either in sacks and bags or poured in bulk through hatches in the roof. The theory here was that it made more sense to utilize a single car for a variety of products. The car could carry bags of cement one way and then cut lumber the other. Of course a car that could do many things often couldn’t do many of them well.

The PS-2 2600 cu ft covered hopper first entered service in the 1960s. The car was popular for cement and sand service and could still be found in use well into the 2000s. The most common service was cement and sand. Occassionally used as buffer cars in instances were a bulk load was not protected by a bulkhead, for example an uprotected lumber load on flat car would require a buffer car between the load and the locomotive.

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:
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 2017-10-12 16:02:44

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