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N Scale - Athearn - 14434 - Autorack, Open, Bi-Level - Cotton Belt - 84549

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N Scale - Athearn - 14434 - Autorack, Open, Bi-Level - Cotton Belt - 84549 Image Courtesy of Horizon Hobby


Stock Number 14434
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 Cotton Belt (Details)
Reporting Marks SSW
Road or Reporting Number 84549
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 St. Louis Southwestern Railway (reporting mark SSW), known by its nickname of "The Cotton Belt Route" or simply Cotton Belt, is a former US Class I railroad which operated between St. Louis, Missouri, and various points in the states of Arkansas and Texas from 1891 to 1992.

The Cotton Belt was one of the lines comprising the railroad empire acquired by financier Jay Gould in the last quarter of the 19th century; according to the Handbook of Texas, By 1890 Gould owned the Missouri Pacific, the Texas and Pacific, the St. Louis Southwestern, and the International-Great Northern, one-half of the mileage in the Southwest.

The railroad was organized on January 15, 1891, although it had its origins in a series of short lines founded in Tyler, Texas, in 1870 that connected northeastern Texas to Arkansas and southeastern Missouri. Construction of the original Tyler Tap Railroad began in the summer of 1875.

On October 18, 1903, the Cotton Belt gained trackage rights via the Thebes Bridge and the Missouri Pacific Railroad along the eastern shore of the Mississippi River to reach East St. Louis, Illinois, and then used Terminal Railroad Association trackage rights into St. Louis. The Cotton Belt also operated a yard and a locomotive servicing facility in East St. Louis, just east of Valley Junction, and south of Alton and Southern Railroad's Gateway Yard, and north of Kansas City Southern's East St. Louis Yard. They also had a freight station in downtown St. Louis. Union Pacific Railroad now operates the yard (still named "Cotton Belt Yard"), but the engine servicing facilities have been demolished.

The Cotton Belt and subsidiary St. Louis Southwestern Railway of Texas together operated 1,607 miles of road in 1945; 1,555 miles in 1965; and 2,115 miles in 1981 after taking over the Rock Island's Golden State Route. In 1925 SSW and SSW of Texas reported a total of 1474 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and 75 million passenger-miles; in 1970 it carried 8650 million ton-miles and no passengers.

The Southern Pacific Company gained Interstate Commerce Commission approval to control the Cotton Belt system on April 14, 1932, but continued to operate it as a separate company until 1992, when the SP consolidated the Cotton Belt's operations into the parent company. Cotton Belt diesel locomotives from 1959 on were painted in Southern Pacific's "bloody nose" scheme - dark gray locomotive body with a red "winged" nose. "Cotton Belt" was painted on the sides and in later years the letters "SSW" were painted on the nose.

In 1996 the Union Pacific Railroad finished the acquisition that was effectively begun almost a century before with the purchase of the Southern Pacific by UP in 1901, until divestiture was ordered in 1913. The merged company retains the name "Union Pacific" for all railroad operations. Many former SSW locomotives are used by Union Pacific today, although few still sport unmodified "Cotton Belt" paint. Most of the remaining units have been repainted into the UP scheme, while others wear patched SSW paint with a UP shield logo and new numbers applied over the SSW number.

From Wikipedia

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 15:32:10. Last edited by gdm on 2021-05-08 11:00:50

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