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N Scale - Micro-Trains - 51140 - Caboose, Cupola, Wood - Rock Island - 18305

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N Scale - Micro-Trains - 51140 - Caboose, Cupola, Wood - Rock Island - 18305


Brand Micro-Trains
Stock Number 51140
Secondary Stock Number 051 00 140
Manufacturer Kadee Quality Products
Body Style Micro-Trains Caboose Wood Straight Side Cupola
Prototype Caboose, Cupola, Wood (Details)
Road or Company Name Rock Island (Details)
Reporting Marks RI
Road or Reporting Number 18305
Paint Color(s) Boxcar Red
Print Color(s) White
Coupler Type MT Magne-Matic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Standard
Release Date 1991-04-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Caboose
Model Subtype Cupola
Model Variety 34 Foot Straight Side Wood Sheathed
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era II: Late Steam (1901 - 1938)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: This body style (51000) is much newer than its sister tooling, the 5000 series. It was first released in October of 1989 when they introduced a 3-pack of Seaboard cars, each in a different paint scheme. 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 several dozen 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 (51000 series) and its sister-model the 'slant-side' cupola (50000 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) drop straight down 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 51000 series having only two windows per end, while the 51000 series has three.

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 Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (CRI&P RR) (reporting marks RI, ROCK) was a Class I railroad in the United States. It was also known as the Rock Island Line, or, in its final years, The Rock. At the end of 1970 it operated 7183 miles of road on 10669 miles of track; that year it reported 20557 million ton-miles of revenue freight and 118 million passenger-miles. (Those totals may or may not include the former Burlington-Rock Island Railroad.)

Its predecessor, the Rock Island and La Salle Railroad Company, was incorporated in Illinois on February 27, 1847, and an amended charter was approved on February 7, 1851, as the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. Construction began October 1, 1851, in Chicago, and the first train was operated on October 10, 1852, between Chicago and Joliet. Construction continued on through La Salle, and Rock Island was reached on February 22, 1854, becoming the first railroad to connect Chicago with the Mississippi River.

In 1980 Rock Island was liquidated. The railroad's locomotives, rail cars, equipment, tracks, and real estate were sold to other railroads or to scrappers. William Gibbons (the trustee) was able to raise more than $500 million in the liquidation, paying off all the railroad's creditors, bondholders and all other debts in full at face value with interest. Henry Crown was ultimately proven correct, as both he and other bondholders who had purchased Rock Island debt for cents on the dollar during the low ebb in prices did especially well.

Read more on Wikipedia and Rock Island Technical Society.

Brand/Importer Information: Micro-Trains is the brand name used by both Kadee Quality Products and Micro-Trains Line. For a history of the relationship between the brand and the two companies, please consult our Micro-Trains Collector's Guide.

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.

Item created by: Lethe on 2015-05-31 17:46:30. Last edited by gdm on 2018-02-20 10:29:47

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