Bluford Shops is announcing new N scale models of a family of steel bay window caboose designs developed by International Car Company in the early 1950s. Over the years the design of the bay windows evolved and Bluford Shops is presenting four phases of these designs plus the iconic half-bay window edition. Ladders and running boards will be included on appropriate paint schemes for each version. The ready-to-run models will feature magnetically operating knuckle couplers, Fox Valley Models metal wheels, wire grab irons, window “glass”, and plenty of weight. Two road numbers will be available on each road name. MSRP: $39.95. Please note that we are still cutting tooling on this project. The pre-order period will remain open at least until January 12, 2018. Delivery window to be announced.

Leading off on the Phase 1 car is Erie Lackawanna in maroon and gray. EL inherited this group of cabooses from Erie who received them from International Car in 1953. This particular EL paint scheme is the same as that used on their locomotives but with the gray and maroon reversed.

41010 Erie Lackawanna maroon/gray #C307
41011 Erie Lackawanna maroon/gray #C349

Southern Railway was a big fan of the Phase 1 style bay window and stuck with it right to the end. This red and yellow paint scheme was adopted in 1969. During this period, red bay windows denoted cabooses in road service.

41020 Southern road service #X336
41021 Southern road service #X397

Leading off on the Phase 2 car (note the narrow bay window with steeper sides but retaining the long slope on top) we have Chicago & North Western. C&NW received this group from International Car in 1955 and by 1968 they could be found in this paint scheme with the now mandatory ACI tag.

42010 Chicago & North Western yellow #10331
42011 Chicago & North Western yellow #10353

Chicago & Eastern Illinois also chose the Phase 2 design for this group of cabooses built by International Car in 1965. C&EI was later divided up between Missouri Pacific and Louisville & Nashville – but not evenly. All of these cabooses joined the MoPac fleet.

42020 Chicago & Eastern Illinois #38
42021 Chicago & Eastern Illinois #36

Western Pacific opted for a version of the Phase 3 car with the wider bay with a dual pane window. These cars were built by International Car in 1955 and 1956 and delivered in this paint scheme which most wore well into the 70s.

43010 Western Pacific mineral red #438
43011 Western Pacific mineral red #445

Having built nearly identical cars in their own Ironville Shops as early as 1955, Nickel Plate Road went to International Car for this group of Phase 3 cabooses. Nickel Plate’s “High Speed Service” had high priority shippers coming back for more.

43020 Nickel Plate Road #452
43021 Nickel Plate Road #499

Rock Island took delivery of this group of Phase 4 cars from International Car in 1967. The bay has been widened again with more steeply angled sides. Rock Island had begun painting caboose ends yellow for increased visibility. The silver railings and ladders also helped in that regard. These cars were stenciled for pool service and could often be found on connecting lines.

44010 Rock Island block letter #17124
44011 Rock Island block letter #17170

After the collapse of The Rock, Union Pacific picked up their fleet of International Car Phase 4 bay window cabooses for a good price. Like their previous owner, UP used these cabooses in pool service (note the P on the bay window.) By this time, UP was painting slogans directly on the sides of cabooses since the old board-in-a-frame method was not holding up to the weather.

44020 Union Pacific “What do We do?…” #24515
44021 Union Pacific “What do We do?…” #24599

Louisville & Nashville took delivery of this group of Phase 4 cars from International Car in 1974. L&N had built most of their own cabooses in their South Louisville Shops but this time a surge in hopper car repairs left the “SLS” too busy to build cabooses. Note the curious polished aluminum trust plate.

44030 Louisville & Nashville #6426
44031 Louisville & Nashville #6473

Delaware & Hudson received this group of Phase 4 cars from International Car in 1968. This was during D&H’s “yellow period” although they would later switch back to red for cabooses. Also of note are the ladders and running board as this was the tail end of the era for that equipment. Removing them was not a priority and many running boards remained on these cars into the Guilford era.

44040 Delaware & Hudson yellow #35720
44041 Delaware & Hudson yellow #35727

The Half-Bay Window caboose design was championed by Conrail predecessor NYC in 1948 and it spread through Central’s sister lines, successors and even a few unrelated lines. Rather than treat this bay window design as an oddity, Conrail embraced it and even ordered more half-bay window cabooses.

40010 Conrail #21204
40011 Conrail #21286

New York Central adopted the cigar band style logo and Century Green paint in the summer of 1959 and this paint scheme began to appear on NYC’s fleet of half-bay window cabooses at that point. Running boards and ladders were still standard equipment.

40020 New York Central green #21039
40020 New York Central green #21047

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