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N Scale - Athearn - 14437 - Autorack, Open, Bi-Level - Gulf Mobile & Ohio - 912789

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N Scale - Athearn - 14437 - Autorack, Open, Bi-Level - Gulf Mobile & Ohio - 912789 Image Courtesy of Horizon Hobby


Stock Number 14437
Original Retail Price $43.98
Brand Athearn
Manufacturer Athearn
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Athearn Autorack Open Side Tri-Level F89-F
Prototype Vehicle Autorack, Open, Bi-Level (Details)
Road or Company Name Gulf Mobile & Ohio (Details)
Reporting Marks GM&O
Road or Reporting Number 912789
Paint Color(s) Brown
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type McHenry Magnetic Knuckle
Coupler Mount Body-Mount
Wheel Type Chemically Blackened Metal
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Announcement Date 2019-10-01
Release Date 2020-12-15
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Autorack
Model Subtype Open Side
Model Variety Tri-Level
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era IV: 2nd Gen Diesel (1958 - 1978)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: Athearn introduced this body style in May of 2019. It is very similar to their earlier bi-level autorack.

This Athearn N-scale model was designed from the start to incorporate as many prototype details and variations as possible, based upon field measurements and builder diagrams, in order to appeal to modelers of multiple eras. Many new body variants, and other separate details were created, allowing us to accurately offer these cars in their different configurations over the years. With the addition of the Whitehead and Kales autorack, The F89FH now has available Bi-Level and Tri-Level autorack variants. You can rest assured of its smooth performance, thanks to a heavy die-cast frame for reliable tracking, and our newly tooled N-scale 70-ton ASF Ride-Control trucks and metal wheels.

Operationally, these cars are appropriate for any layout set from the 1960s to the early 1980s. The Auto Racks would be fastened to the 89’ flatcar for auto service from Detroit.

Prototype History:
Until the 1960s the railroads used boxcars to move automobiles. The ubiquitous boxcar was the railroads' most trusted apparatus to handle freight. These boxcars were later retrofitted with double doors and racks to handle about four vehicles but few other changes were made.

This was replaced by a new design. The autorack is essentially a flatcar featuring two or three levels of racks to transport vehicles. The basic design consists of a flat, horizontal surface usually equipped with standard two two-axle trucks to transport any type of cargo. They can carry could anywhere between 8 to 18 vehicles. The car itself was 89 feet in length and provided groves/guide tracks for the vehicles as well as interior tie-down equipment. Not only could this new design carry several autos but they could also quickly be loaded and unloaded, another advantage over the cumbersome boxcar.

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:
Athearn's history began in 1938, when its founder-to-be, Irvin Athearn, started an elaborate O scale layout in his mother's house. After placing an ad selling the layout, and receiving much response to it, Irv decided that selling model railroads would be a good living. He sold train products out of his mother's house through most of the 1940s. After becoming a full-time retailer in 1946, Irv opened a separate facility in Hawthorne, California in 1948, and that same year he branched into HO scale models for the first time.

Athearn acquired the Globe Models product line and improved upon it, introducing a comprehensive array of locomotive, passenger and freight car models. Improvements included all-wheel drive and electrical contact. One innovation was the "Hi-Fi" drive mechanism, employing small rubber bands to transfer motion from the motor spindle to the axles. Another was the double-ended ring magnet motor, which permitted easy connection to all-wheel-drive assemblies. Athearn was also able to incorporate flywheels into double-ended drives.

The company produced a model of the Boston & Maine P4 class Pacific steam locomotive which incorporated a cast zinc alloy base and thermoplastic resin superstructure. It had a worm drive and all power pickup was through the bipolar trucks that carried the tender. This item was discontinued after the Wilson motor was no longer available, and was not redesigned for a more technologically advanced motor.

Athearn's car fleet included shorter-than-scale interpretations of passenger cars of Southern Pacific and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad prototypes. The company also offered a variety of scale-length freight cars with sprung and equalized trucks. The cars could be obtained in simple kit form, or ready-to-run in windowed display boxes. The comprehensive scope of the product line contributed to the popularity of HO as a model railroad scale, due to the ready availability of items and their low cost.

Irv Athearn died in 1991. New owners took control in 1994, but continued to follow Athearn's commitment to high-quality products at reasonable prices. Athearn was bought in 2004 by Horizon Hobby. Athearn was then moved from its facility in Compton to a new facility in Carson, California. In mid-2009, all remaining US production was moved to China and warehousing moved to parent Horizon Hobby. Sales and product development was relocated to a smaller facility in Long Beach, California.

Read more on Wikipedia and Athearn website.

Item created by: CNW400 on 2020-11-10 15:29:54. Last edited by gdm on 2021-05-08 11:00:50

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