This Atlas N scale model is based upon the NE-5 standard caboose design that rolled out in 1940. This model, item 50 005 340, is painted in the Chicago Great Western maroon/orange/yellow livery of 1947.

Atlas N NE-5 Caboose


The NE-5 caboose (supposedly this stood for North Eastern) was a 33-foot (between strike plates) welded all-metal design with an average weight of a little over 21 tons.   Delivery began in 1940.   It is typically associated with the New Haven Railroad but this body style was in fact used by other rail lines as well. The cabooses showed real longevity and were found in operation well into the Penn Central and Conrail era.  They featured 14 vertical ribs on the carbody sides, cast iron wheels, and smooth roof.

Atlas accurately reproduced those characteristics and boasts these features:

  • Finely detailed end rails, smokestack and ladders
  • Brake line detail
  • Weighted chassis
  • Friction-bearing or roller-bearing caboose trucks as
  • Factory-equipped with AccuMate® couplers
  • Accurate painting and printing

Part of Atlas' Master Line series of rolling stock, this model is securely packed in a plastic cradle held in a clear hard plastic case. A thin plastic sheet protects the caboose from scuffing against the cradle and case lid. The model is factory assembled and ready-to-run.

Atlas' models usually blow me away with making their first impression with crisp small detail and sharp printing, and this model continues that tradition.  From the underframe hangs basic airbrake and brake rigging which adds a lot of visual interest  when the caboose is viewed in profile from track level.

The trucks and wheels are plastic. I must admit I think plastic wheels often look better than blackened metal wheels because they don’t have that shine of metal wheels found on larger scales. The trucks are held to the underside by plastic pins.

The model is molded without any noticeable flaws. For N scale the end ladders are very thin, too. The one scale drawback of N is the couplers. Though they are oversized, that is par for the scale; I have only found one aftermarket brand that is more to scale.

This caboose is modeled for the time of running boards on the roof.    A smoke jack also details the roof and lower down, open backed steps below each end platform.

The chain guard across the end railing and on the brake posts is nice, too.  Unfortunately, the chain links are not molded open but that is not surprising.

This caboose type had relatively small windows. You really cannot see inside so the lack of interior makes sense.  The windows are clear all the same.

The caboose is 33 scale-feet long from sill to sill, and 40 feet from coupler to coupler. It weighs .9 ounces. NMRA RP-20.1 Car Weight suggests the weight should be .73 ounces.

Atlas N NE-5 Archive

What if the Chicago Great Western Had NE-6 Cabooses?

Atlas N NE-6 Caboose

Paint and Printing

Atlas’ finish on this model is excellent. The paint is smooth and does not obscure detail. The markings and data are sharp for the scale.  CGW No. 622 wears the Deramus 1947 livery that matched CGW's new F-7 locomotives.

Six road names are available:

1. Boston & Maine (Blue/White)
2. Chicago Great Western (Maroon/Orange/Yellow)
3. Chicago & North Western (Yellow/Green)
4. New Haven (Red/White)
5. Penn Central (Jade Green)
6. Wisconsin Central (Maroon/Yellow)

All except Wisconsin Central have two road numbers.


Atlas' N NE-5 Caboose is a sharp looking model.  In previous reviews I compared today's models to those I knew in the 1990s.  This model compares well with other models made today.    The molding of the body is crisp.  The fidelity of the detail parts is impressive, such as the brake gear.  Painting is smooth and markings are sharp.

Overall this is a impressive model for N-scalers who want a transition era welded steel caboose lasting through the era of FRED. I happily recommend this model.

Please tell vendors and retailers that you saw this model here - on RailRoadModeling.



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