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Z Scale - Micro-Trains - 522 00 151 - Gondola, 50 Foot, Steel - Grand Trunk Western - 146015

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Z Scale - Micro-Trains - 522 00 151 - Gondola, 50 Foot, Steel - Grand Trunk Western - 146015 Image Courtesy of Micro-Trains Line.


Brand Micro-Trains
Stock Number 522 00 151
Manufacturer Micro-Trains
Body Style Micro-Trains Gondola 50 Foot Steel
Prototype Gondola, 50 Foot, Steel (Details)
Road or Company Name Grand Trunk Western (Details)
Reporting Marks GTW
Road or Reporting Number 146015
Paint Color(s) Blue
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type Micro-Trains
Release Date 2008-02-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Gondola
Model Subtype 50 Foot
Model Variety Steel
Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)



Prototype History:
In US railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-topped rail vehicle used for transporting loose bulk materials. Because of their low side walls gondolas are also suitable for the carriage of such high-density cargoes as steel plates or coils, or of bulky items such as prefabricated sections of rail track. For weather-sensitive loads, these gondolas are sometimes equipped with covers.

All-steel gondolas date back to the early part of the 20th century. However, most of the early ones were shorter, 40' designs. The ubiquitous 50' steel gondola we see modeled so often today is more along the lines of gondolas produced following the second world war when steel became once again readily available. Generally, they had a capacity of 70 tons and were 52'6" long. The first models of this design were produced by the Erie Railroad and the Greenville Steel Car Co, but nearly identical cars were produced by Pullman, ACF and Bethlehem.

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:
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 13:40:07

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