IntroductionAtlas Model Railroad
has released a series of N scale passenger cars, part of their Trainman Line
of models. This model is their 60' Observation Car
painted as Lackawanna No.97, item# 50003823
. There are different stock numbers for the different road names.
I do not have any history about this model. The Budd Company and Pullman-Standard were the two biggest American passenger car manufacturers, and other companies like American Car and Foundry also built passenger cars. Some railroads even built their own. Depending on the type of car, the era, and other needs, passenger cars commonly ranged from 40 feet to over 80 feet in length, although "mutts" can be found. Cars of 60 feet were unusual but not unheard of and yet a 60-foot car in N will allow modelers of smaller pikes with tighter curves to model a passenger train.
offers a five-car consist for their 60-foot passenger cars: baggage car, RPO, combine, coach, observation car.
Trainman 60' Observation Car
Packed in a jewel box for safe display or storage, this observation car is nestled in a clear form-fitted cradle with a lid. A thin plastic sheet protects it from scuffing. No parts diagram is provided but a spare diaphragm is included.
This observation car is assembled with injection molded parts. Molding is crisp and I spotted no flash, visible ejector marks or sink holes, or seam lines. I briefly tried to pop the roof off but it showed no sign of moving so I suppose the body is a single part. It snaps onto the frame and it appears that little effort will be required to populate the interior with 1/160 passengers.
Atlas proclaims these features:
Based upon C&NW and CNJ prototypes
Full scale dimensions and details
All cars include separately applied window glazing, diaphragms and roof vents
Observation car includes separately applied end railing details and a drumhead
Detailed interiors (excluding baggage car)
AccuMate® operating knuckle couplers
Surface detail includes rivets and panel lines. All hand grabs and hand rails are molded on. The steps are molded open in the back. On the front end of the car is the vestibule diaphragm, molded in rubber or a soft plastic.
The window glazing is clear except - appropriately - the bathroom windows. Thus, the modeler can see the interior. It consists of rows of seats.
The end railing is an N-scale compromise of material, dimensions, detail, and durability. It is injection molded, thus a bit less prone to damage from mishandling - and less expensive - than a photo-etched railing that could be more to scale. You probably will not notice that due to the nice drumhead.
Two-axle Talgo trucks carry this obs car, typical of passenger equipment except for sleepers, and heavier cars like baggage and postal cars. There is decent sideframe detail molded onto the trucks. Each of the wheel sets are plastic.
The underside of the car features mainly molded details (water and ice bunkers, generator, battery boxes, condensers), enhanced with a few separately applied pieces including vapor traps. The brake system appears to be a Westinghouse air brake system. It is molded on.
Atlas' detail looks good for this scale.
Paint and Lettering
Five road names are offered:
Chesapeake & Ohio
Chicago & North Western
Lackawanna No.97 is painted in an opaque Pullman Green that does not obscure detail. Lettering is sharp.
Each model has a different Atlas item number for the various road names.
I have no dimensional data on Lackawanna observation cars nor the C&NW and CNJ prototypes. (I gladly accept any you may have - just PM or email me.) This car is 61 ½ N-scale feet in length. It weighs 1.2 ounces, about perfect per NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight. The AccuMate® couplers mated well with other N cars.
I rolled the car over Atlas Code 55 track. It rolled smooth and tracked true over turnouts.
N-scalers should be happy with this series of Trainman 60' car
; 60' Observation Car
is a good looking piece of rolling stock. It features good detail for N and an excellent paint job. The few individually applied parts enhance the overall appearance of the model, as do the knuckle couplers. I am dubious about the plastic wheels but at least they are an authentic grimy brown color.
Rivet-counters may point out that 60-foot cars were unusual but not unheard of. A 60-foot car in N will allow modelers of smaller pikes with tighter curves to model a passenger train. I am impressed with this model and recommend it.
Please remember to mention to Atlas and retailers that you daw this Observation car here - on