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This review is from Model Railroader,  January 2004. Reprinted with permission of Kalmbach Publishing Company 



An excellent postwar steel caboose is now available from Atlas O. It comes ready-to-run in two versions fitted with different wheel-sets and couplers for use on either two-rail scale or three-rail tinplate layouts.

The model follows a prototype class NE-6 scale caboose built by International Car Co. for the New York, New Haven & Hartford RR in 1947 and 1948. It’s a cupola design with a low profile (only 13’-11” high) due to the tight clearances that were common in the East. International built similar cars for a number of other Eastern railroads.

Atlas has done a fine job of capturing the proportions and details of the prototype. It matches the dimensions shown in a New Haven caboose diagram sheet perfectly. Atlas uses two body shells with different window spacings to match specific prototypes. It has movable end doors that are spring-loaded to remain closed. All of the windows have clear glazing inset into the openings so the outer surfaces are properly aligned with the sides.

The body shell is detailed with simulated overlapping side sheets, hundreds of fine rivet heads, and end platforms and step treads that have a non-slip diamond texture. Close inspection reveals more fine rivet detail on the roof ribs.

Metal grab irons are mounted on the body, and the plastic running boards have open gratings. The free-standing end platform ladders, brake stands, and corner grabs are thin plastic casings secured with a pair of tiny screws. Blackened metal safety chains are provided.

A detailed interior is molded in several colors and lighted with three simulated kerosene lamps.

The model comes with free-rolling trucks that have die-cast metal Barber-Bettendorf swing-motion side-frames. The metal side-frames are rigidly mounted on acetal plastic bolsters. Wipers mounted underneath the truck bolsters pick up current for the lights from all eight wheels. The metal wheelsets follow National Model Railroad Association standards.

Our sample caboose is a good match for the prototype’s bright red, and the light gray band is cleanly applied. The printed lettering is crisp and legible, including the prototype’s oddly positioned letters g and p in the Nickel Plate High Speed Service slogan.

Our sample weighs 16 ounces, which is 2 ounces heavy according to the NMRA’s recommended practice for O scale of 5 ounces plus 1 ounce for each inch of length.

It’s great to see an excellent model of a common Eastern prototype from the 1950s. – J.D.H


Price:  two-rail, $74.95, three-rail, $69.95

Atlas O
378 Florence Ave.
Hillside, NJ  07205-1799


Ready-to-run plastic car


Magnetic knuckle couplers mounted at the proper height

Free-rolling blackened RP-25 contour metal wheelsets

See-through running boards

Separately applied grab irons

Weight:  16 ounces

Road Names

(Two numbers each)

New York, New Haven & Hartford (original red), Nickel Plate Road, Norfolk & Western (red and white), Penn Central, Susquehanna, and undecorated

Limited-run schemes:  Monongahela (bicentennial) and Raritan River







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