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N Scale - Brooklyn Locomotive Works - BLW-113 - Caboose, Cupola, Wood - Erie - C-28

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N Scale - Brooklyn Locomotive Works - BLW-113 - Caboose, Cupola, Wood - Erie - C-28 Image Courtesy of N Scale Enthusiast


Commissioned By Brooklyn Locomotive Works
Production Type Special Run
Aftermarket Decorator AkSarBen
Stock Number BLW-113
Original Retail Price $11.98
Brand Brooklyn Locomotive Works
Manufacturer Kadee Quality Products
Body Style Micro-Trains Caboose Wood Slant Side Cupola
Prototype Vehicle Caboose, Cupola, Wood (Details)
Road or Company Name Erie (Details)
Reporting Marks ERIE
Road or Reporting Number C-28
Paint Color(s) Brown
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type MT Magne-Matic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Standard
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype 34 Foot
Model Variety Slant Side Cupola Wood Sheathed
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era II: Late Steam (1901 - 1938)
Scale 1/160
Track Gauge N standard



Specific Item Information: Available under the same stock number in three variations of brown (Tuscan Red, Dark Brown, Light Brown)

Model Information: This body style is one of MTL's oldest caboose designs and dates back to June of 1975 when they introduced both a painted/unlettered version as well as a UP paint scheme. Early versions of this car come without simulated glass in their windows, much the same as Atlas' older caboose designs did. More recent versions have simulated glass. The model is of a wood-sided caboose with a cupola towards one end (offset) that was common in the 1st half of the 20th century. The model also has a roofwalk. Micro-trains has produced this car in about 20 different road names since its introduction (as of 2017) and it has also been quite popular for special runs.

At first glance it can be hard to tell the difference between this model (50000 series) and its sister-model the 'straight-side' cupola (51000 series). The difference lies primarily in the cupola (there might be other differences but I cannot see them). If you examine the car from one end (doesn't matter which), you will see that the sides of the cupola (not the car) slant at an angle from the roof of the cupola down to the roof of the car. Furthermore, the window configuration of the ends of the cupola is quite different with the 50000 series having three windows per end, while the 51000 series has only two.

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.

Road Name History:
The Erie (the second railroad by that name) was formed in 1895 from the reorganization of the New York Lake Erie & Western which had cobbled together a Jersey City (across the Hudson from New York City) to Chicago route from the original Erie, the Chicago & Atlantic, Atlantic & Great Western and a few smaller lines. The route had been built to 6’ gauge and had been standard gauged in 1880.

The New York – Chicago main was all double track with big rail. However, the mainline managed to miss every major city along the way. Binghamton, New York and Akron, Ohio were the biggest cities on the mainline between New York and Chicago. Buffalo, Rochester, Youngstown, Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati were all at the end of branches from the mainline. Some said that “you could forget how much unpopulated land there was in the Northeast until you rode the Erie.”

Erie and its predecessors were early victims of “robber barons” that saddled the company with debt that it would carry for over 100 years. The companies went bankrupt 3 times in the 19th Century and once during the Depression (in 1938, after most other lines ironically.) Erie promoted exclusively from within and management was rife with nepotism. It was called “Weary Erie”, and “The Scarlet Woman of Wall Street.”

Erie’s steam fleet was varied although not terribly modern. The Erie passed through Pennsylvania’s anthracite region so camelback locomotives were part of the mix. In fact Erie had the largest camelbacks ever built – 0-8-8-0’s delivered in 1908. Erie was also one of only two roads to employ Triplexes, in this case with the 2-8-8-8-2 wheel arrangement. Their most modern steam consisted of heavy Berkshires delivered in 1929 when the company was under the influence of the Van Sweringen brothers who also controlled Nickel Plate, C&O, Pere Marquette and Hocking Valley. As a result, they dieselized fairly early primarily with EMD, and Alco road and passenger units and switchers from nearly every builder. Like future dance partner DL&W, Erie road switchers were setup for long-hood-forward operation.

Other than heavy commuter operations in New Jersey, passenger operations paled in comparison to other eastern trunk lines. Erie concentrated on freight. From about 1947 until 1955, the Erie was fairly healthy, although still paying way too much for debt service. They even paid dividends for much of this period. Quartets of F units dragged freights over 185 cars long across New York’s scenic Southern Tier. Erie’s big clearances (due to the original 6’ track gauge) made Erie the go-to road for highly lucrative over-size loads. The Erie was much loved by communities along the line.

The mid-to-late 50s presented one disaster after another. Twin hurricanes damaged track (although not as bad as neighbor DL&W who really took it in the teeth), then strikes in the cement and steel industries cut traffic dramatically. Labor trouble in the tire center of Akron (where Erie was a major carrier) led to much of the tire industry leaving the area. Erie’s net income fell in half the next year and then they began to lose money. Combining parallel routes and Jersey Shore terminals with the Lackawanna helped but not enough. In 1960, The Erie merged with the Delaware Lackawanna & Western. Here are Erie’s stats in their final year: 2,215 route miles (about the same length as competitors Nickel Plate and Wabash); 484 diesels; 535 passenger cars; 20,028 freight cars.

Brand/Importer Information:
Brooklyn Locomotive works is a hobby shop that is located in Manalapan, New Jersey. Pete A. Postel founded BLW in 1979. They specialize in N Scale although they claim to cover other scales as well. In addition to serving as a volume discounter with competitive pricing for N Scale hobbyists, Brooklyn Locomotive works also often works with various manufacturers to create their own line of branded special runs. These special runs are usually only available through their retail operation (online or storefront). They also worked for a limited time in the early 1980s as a custom decorator. They bought undecorated kits from Micro-Trains and painstakingly custom painted and decaled a series of cars for collectors.

Manufacturer Information:
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.
In October 1990 Kadee separated in two companies, with the newly created Micro-Trains® Line Co. continuing the Z, Nn3, and N Scale product ranges, with Kadee retaining the HO range.

Commissioner Information: Brooklyn Locomotive Works is a hobby shop, specialized in N-scale, located in Manalapan, New Jersey, that also sells on-line. BLW regularly commissions special runs.
The company was founded by Pete Postel who announced that he would retired by end of 2018. His brother Paul should continue the business from his own shop Hogtrainz.com.

Brooklyn Locomotive Works (BLW) released special runs from various manufacturers under its own brand until approx. the mid-1980s. Thereafter the special runs where sold under the manufacturer's name and denoted as special runs for BLW. Hence in this database, we assign the BLW brand in the former case, and the original manufacturer's brand in the latter.

Item created by: Alain LM on 2020-04-02 13:14:23. Last edited by Lethe on 2020-05-07 00:00:00

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