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Z Scale - Micro-Trains - 506 00 221 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, Steel - Gulf Mobile & Ohio - 50108

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Z Scale - Micro-Trains - 506 00 221 - Boxcar, 50 Foot, Steel - Gulf Mobile & Ohio - 50108 Image Courtesy of Micro-Trains Line.


Brand Micro-Trains
Stock Number 506 00 221
Manufacturer Micro-Trains
Body Style Micro-Trains Boxcar 50 Foot Steel Double Door
Prototype Boxcar, 50 Foot, Steel (Details)
Road or Company Name Gulf Mobile & Ohio (Details)
Reporting Marks GM&O
Road or Reporting Number 50108
Paint Color(s) Green
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type Micro-Trains
Release Date 2008-02-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Boxcar
Model Subtype 50 Foot
Model Variety Steel, Double Door
Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)



Prototype History:
While the 40-foot boxcar was a standard design, and it did come in different setups depending on the type of freight being transported, it was not large enough for efficient mass commodity transportation. The 50-foot boxcar made its first appearance in the 1930s and steadily grew in popularity over the years, which further improved redundancies by allowing for even more space within a given car. Today, the 50-footer remains the common boxcar size. After the second world war ended, and steel became once again readily available, steel became the go-to choice for construction of boxcars. Pullman Standard and ACF were some of the most prolific builders of these cars.

These cars came in many variations. For instance, double-doors became practical for large/wide loads, end-doors useful for very large lading such as automobiles, and interior tie-down equipment was helpful in keeping sensitive products from being damaged in-transit. In 1954 the Santa Fe developed its "Shock Control" (and later "Super Shock Control") technology for new boxcars with upgraded suspension systems to further improve the ride-quality and reduce the chance of damaging freight.

In the 1960s, the flush, "plug" style sliding door was introduced as an option that provides a larger door to ease loading and unloading of certain commodities. The tight-fitting doors are better insulated and allow a car's interior to be maintained at a more even temperature.

Road Name History:
The GM&O was the product of the 1940 merger of Gulf Mobile & Northern and the Mobile & Ohio. During these early years, the GM&O consisted of a route from St. Louis south to Jackson, Tennessee where it then split into 2 routes to the port of Mobile, Alabama. In addition, there were routes to Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. GM&O also served New Orleans and Paducah via trackage rights. The merger was championed by Ike Tigrett from the GM&N and Ike would lead the GM&O for most of its history.

In 1947, GM&O acquired the Alton Railroad. This linked Chicago and Peoria with St. Louis and Kansas City. This acquisition made GM&O a Great Lakes to the Gulf carrier and pushed the mileage up over 2,700. GM&O tried to sell the Kansas City line in the 50’s to Santa Fe and Burlington but there was tremendous pressure from other lines to keep Santa Fe out of St. Louis. In the end, GM&O kept the route and Burlington got trackage rights on a portion of it to shorten its own route.

GM&O dieselized early with the last steam locomotive retired in 1949. The first generation freight diesel fleet included Alco switchers, road switchers (all of which were long-hood-forward,) and FA series cab units and EMD F units. For passenger service, GM&O had power from both Alco and EMD. Everything was painted red and maroon with gold lettering. Both Alton and GM&N had used red in the past so this was appropriate. The oddball of the fleet was #1900, a cab unit model 4-S built by Ingalls Shipbuilding. It was the only locomotive Ingalls would ever build.

The 60’s brought fleets of GP30’s and 35’s. These were delivered on Alco trucks from traded in FA’s and wore a new black and white paint scheme designed by EMD. A few years later, more new power arrived from EMD, this time GP38’s and SD40’s wearing two variations of red and white. First generation diesels still on the roster received solid red or maroon in some cases. The diesel fleet consisted of around 260 units.

As for passenger service, The Rebels ran south of St. Louis with a train each to New Orleans and Mobile. Seven trains a day connected St. Louis and Chicago – more than all other railroads combined between those cities. These included the Abraham Lincoln, Ann Rutledge, and Alton Limited. They also had a single daily Chicago commuter train called The Plug. Amtrak took over three of the Chicago – St. Louis departures in 1971.

By contemporary accounts, GM&O was a class operation with a thin layer of responsive management, esprit de corps in the ranks, and good track - all of this despite serving one of the poorest regions of the country. As the 1960s drew to a close, GM&O faced the impending retirement of the original management team. Because the management layer was so thin, there were few young up-and-comers being groomed to take their places. So, to protect the shareholders, GM&O began shopping for merger partners. In 1972, Gulf Mobile & Ohio merged with Illinois Central to form Illinois Central Gulf.

Brand/Importer 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.

Item created by: petecduffy on 2019-05-15 13:37:00

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