Tangent's Second Caboose: Despatch Shops and St Louis Car Riveted Bay Window Cabooses


Tangent Scale Models
 

In 2007, Tangent Scale Models started the trend of offering unparalleled railroad freight car replicas in HO scale, the likes of which had never been seen in the market.  These highly-detailed replicas have consistently raised the bar for HO scale models with several hallmarks, including precision tooling, hyper-accurate stenciling, true to life colors, and era-specific details.  Additionally, our models are designed to operate perfectly by including CNC-machined wheels, correct weights, and correct coupler heights.  Simply put: We offer detailed freight cars on a higher level.

 

Fast forward to today’s release: our second “Tangent quality” HO scale caboose offering.  The era of “one size fits all” cabooses in HO scale plastic is over.  We bring our passion and knowledge for translating real 1:1 railroad equipment from freight cars to cabooses.  And we are taking things a step further, where our penchant for operations is accelerated with accurate marker lighting in era-specific versions!

 

Our second caboose model is actually a system of cabooses from two builders: the HO scale Despatch Shops Incorporated (DSI) and St. Louis Car Company (SLCC) Bay Window Caboose System, which began as New York Central’s first foray into post-war steel cabooses. You know the cabooses – these are the super common cabooses that had riveted sides and offset bay windows – they were everywhere! They are commonly referred to as Class N7 and N7As (in PC and Conrail terms) and were the largest bay window fleet in the PC and Conrail family! Yup, we have done a NYC caboose (also Illinois Terminal - keep reading)!

 

The DSI / SLCC Steel Bay Window caboose was a witness to incredible changes to railroading during its use. Perhaps your train features a NYC Schenectady-built Mohawk racing along the Water Level Route, an ITC Class C electric rocking-and-rolling through central Illinois, CR SD45s on Horseshoe Curve helper duty, or ALS SW1500s delivering a cut of RBLs to a St. Louis brewery?  Well, we have a caboose for your train!

 

Our “system” of cabooses includes these three build specifications:

 

Build #1: Despatch Shops Inc. NYC Lot 782 - N7 Class Steel Bay Window Caboose

In 1949, the New York Central solved the problem of an aging wooden caboose fleet. NYC turned to its subsidiary, Despatch Shops Inc. in East Rochester, New York, who had built a small number of NYC steel cabooses in 1948. In 1949, DSI fabricated 95 cabooses for the NYC and 5 for the Boston & Albany under lot 782. These 100 cabooses featured a riveted steel construction with offset bay windows. The interiors included bay window seats, bunks, crew lockers, a coal stove and oil lamps for lighting. Between 1962 and 1967, these Lot 782 cabooses would be among the groups of cabooses refurbished at the NYC Beech Grove Shops in Indiana. The rebuilt Lot 782 caboose changes included electrical lighting, a battery charging system, and new oil stoves, along with new Century Green paint and a new number series. The Lot 782 fleet continued through the Penn Central merger – now identified as the N7 Class. Further changes would come during the 1970s, as modernization programs would remove running boards and add additional lighting. Conrail added a coat of blue paint, and the remaining fleet of N7 cabooses saw service into the mid-1980s, until they were purged from the Conrail caboose ranks.

 

Build #2: St. Louis Car Co. NYC Lot 827 - N7A Class Steel Bay Window Caboose

In 1952, the New York Central continued to modernize its caboose fleet. While NYC subsidiary Despatch Shops Inc. in East Rochester, New York, had built 100 steel cabooses in 1949, the NYC asked St. Louis Car Company to build 200 additional cabooses in 1952 under lot 827. These cabooses followed the previous 1949 DSI design closely, with riveted steel construction and offset bay windows. The interiors included bay window seats, bunks, crew lockers, a coal stove and oil lamps for lighting. Between 1962 and 1967, these Lot 827 cabooses would be among the groups of cabooses refurbished at the NYC Beech Grove Shops in Indiana. The rebuilt Lot 827 caboose changes included electrical lighting, a battery charging system, and new oil stoves, along with new Century Green paint and a new number series. The Lot 827 fleet continued through the Penn Central merger -- identified as the N7A Class. Further changes would come during the 1970s, as modernization programs would remove running boards and add additional lighting. Conrail added a coat of blue paint, and the remaining fleet of N7A cabooses saw service into the mid 1980s, until they were urged from the Conrail caboose ranks.

 

Build #3: St. Louis Car Co. Illinois Terminal Steel Bay Window Caboose

In the 1950s, the Illinois Terminal Railroad was undergoing major changes in both operations and equipment.  New GP7 locomotives delivered in 1953 started to replace electric freight motors on through freights, and the aging wood caboose fleet struggled to serve crew needs.  As a result, the Illinois Terminal ordered 10 steel bay window cabooses from St. Louis Car Company in 1953.  While these cabooses were close in appearance to a NYC order built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1952, the features and interiors were distinctly Illinois Terminal.  These cabooses were a riveted steel construction with offset bay windows.  Wood running boards and closed ends without windows gave the cabooses a unique look.  The interiors included bay window seats, double bunks, crew lockers, a coal stove, 110V AC Service for lighting at the terminals and oil lamps for lighting on the road.  Over the years, Illinois Terminal would paint these ten cabooses in a dizzying assortment of schemes, some lasting longer than others.  Further changes would come during the 1970s, as the cabooses were modernized with the removal of the roof running boards, cut-down ladders, and additional lighting.  The Norfolk & Western assumed operations of the Illinois Terminal in 1981, and several of these cabooses survived into the 1980s, refurbished in N&W Red Paint.

 

Tangent's DSI / SLCC Steel Bay Window caboose system replicas are AVAILABLE TODAY and include the following ten schemes plus four undecorated kit options:

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- New York Central (NYC) "Delivery Brown with White Logo 1949+” replicates the as-delivered paint scheme as applied by Despatch Shops Incorporated.  These cabooses represent the original NYC brown paint with white stenciling.  All of the original 1949 classic white NYC graphics are present, even down to the tiny “packed” data and DSI builder stencil.  The fully-painted, green interior is illuminated with LED “warm” lights to replicate incandescent bulbs.  The model includes scale-size (unlit) oil lanterns mounted on one end on the corner railing posts. We know NYC modelers have been patiently waiting for this caboose, the critical final car on NYC trains from 1949 forward.  We are offering this scheme in four road numbers!


 

- Boston and Albany (B&A) "Delivery Brown with White Logo 1949+” replicates the as-delivered paint scheme as applied by Despatch Shops Incorporated to the B&A versions of these cabooses. Did you really think we would leave Boston & Albany out of our first run? These cars feature the classic 1949 white NYC graphics, with the distinctive “B&A” instead of “NYC” under the bay window.  The fully-painted, green interior is illuminated with LED lights.  The model includes scale-size (unlit) oil lanterns mounted on one end on the corner railing posts.  We are offering this scheme in two road numbers!



- Illinois Terminal (ITC) "Delivery Target Red 1953+" is the first of three different Illinois Terminal schemes we are offering in our first production run of St. Louis Car Company cabooses. These cars feature a safety-inspired bright “target” red paint. The caboose also has other colors present on the exterior, including “canary yellow” handrails and steps. Additionally, the Standard Railway Equipment roof received a coat of light gray paint. The prototype Illinois Terminal lettering above the cupola and the ITC with road number was applied onto thin metal placards which were bolted onto the car side and had an off-white appearance, which we have replicated this “off-white” reflective color with our graphics. Similar to our NYC offerings, our models include large (unlit) oil lanterns on one end of the caboose. The fully-painted and apportioned interior for these models includes the two tone green scheme as found in the original cabooses. Check out those double bunks as you peek through the large windows.  Our Illinois Terminal delivery scheme cabooses are available in two road numbers.



 

We offer other post-1960 schemes, but will refrain from posting about them here.

 

Undecorated KIT Offerings:  We continue to support the builders in this hobby -- we have supported you from Day 1 without drama or excuses.  We know that there are plenty of modelers out there who want to build their own.  Perhaps you want to build a kit for a different paint scheme or home road.  Perhaps you have a special kitbash prototype in mind.  Perhaps you build a kit for the fun of it.  Don't worry, we got you.

 

- Undecorated KIT 1949+ (NYC) is a fully unassembled kit version of the as-built 1949+ era Lot 782 DSI caboose.  This kit features a full running board on the roof and also includes extra part variations for railings, walkways and underframe details to handle the Lot 827 St. Louis Car built prototypes.  Heads up NYC and P&LE kitbashers:  This is a great kitbash path to a custom built NYC 1948 DSI Lot 778 caboose or a shorter P&LE Lot 795 caboose!  This kit is UNLIT - no electronics are included.  It is perfect for those who want to build their own cars or want to customize their own lighting circuit options.  Ready for painting and lettering for a prototype or your own private road.  This kit includes Tangent Gould 70T plain bearing caboose trucks with power-pickup and 33" standard 110 tread CNC wheels.  You supply your own favorite couplers.

 
Besides the above kits, we have these brand-new parts available on our website for additional building and bashing options and combinations beyond the kits.  Yes, we are talking to you, C&EI/L&N modelers.  We also expanded the Unique and Useful parts line with the following NEW additions:

 

- Running Board Brackets (40’/50’ Boxcar or Caboose) contains our etched metal running board brackets to model cars with the running boards removed in the later 1960s, 70s and 80s.  These fine brackets even have the holes in the top surface, just like the real ones, where the bolts “used to be.”  The metal parts have mounting pins for installation, if you want to drill holes, or they can be trimmed off and glued directly to a roof.  Enough brackets are included in one package to handle a typical 40’/50’ boxcar or caboose.

 

- Caboose Flags – Type 1 is a pack of the metal “flags” used on cabooses for daytime running.  This pack contains two styles: Round (red/yellow) as used by the NYC and rectangular (red/green) as used by the Illinois Terminal.  The painted parts have a mounting stem, if you want to drill a hole on the side where applicable, or the stem can be trimmed off for end mounting.  A great update for any cabooses!

 

Finally, we are pleased to add an all-new caboose truck to our ever-expanding system of trucks:

 

- 70-Ton Gould Plain-Bearing Caboose Trucks with power pickup is a pair of our all-new plain-bearing trucks as seen on our DSI Inc. and St. Louis Car Co. Bay-Window cabooses.  These trucks have a separate, installed brake beam part, and feature power pickup with wires.  This makes them perfect for your own caboose projects!  The trucks contain CNC-machined blackened brass wheels and we are pleased to offer this new truck in both .110” Standard tread and .088” Semi scale tread versions. 

 

All of these models can be seen and purchased by clicking here.

 

The Tangent Scale Models Despatch Shops Incorporated and St. Louis Car Company Steel Bay Window Cabooses are state of the art, dimensionally-accurate scale replicas with highly accurate “true-to-life” colors and precise letter stencils. Our cabooses were designed from actual blueprints plus meticulous field dimensions, and includes incredible levels of detail such as riveted body panels and underframe and brake system, plus beautiful etch steps and multiple era-specific end platform railing options.  Inside each model are accurate, railroad- and era-specific interior layouts with bunks, seats, lockers and stoves.  We offer “no fuss” track-powered interior lights and end marker lights as appropriate for the prototype, that are compatible with DC or DCC setups right out of the box. (A wand is included in the box to activate the lights.)  Finally, our ready-to-operate replica includes “near-scale” draft gear box including side “key” detail, coupler lift bars accompanying Kadee® scale couplers, sufficient hidden weights, and CNC-machined wheels to ensure the model operates as good as it looks.

 

These cabooses are shipping today!  Features for these replicas include:

- Dimensional accuracy - designed from actual blueprints and meticulous field dimensions using real tape measures

- Highly correct “true to life” colors

- “Hyper-Accurate” lettering including exact fonts and lettering placement

- Genuine Kadee® scale couplers

- “Near-scale” draft gear box with beautifully-rendered side “key” detail

- Multiple road numbers for each scheme, as appropriate

- Era-specific body details for each RTR scheme, including multiple body roof and end window combinations

- Wood, Apex “See through,” or no roof running boards/etch metal running board supports, as appropriate for the era
- Railroad and era-specific ladder roof hand holds: Round, square, and none

- Multiple roof equipment options including locker vents, radio antenna and toilet vent

- End steps to match the prototype: Kass, Diamond, or “See through” Apex
- Two different end walkways platforms – Diamond and Kass – based on the prototype

- Unapologetically fine etch metal end window screens, where appropriate

- Thirteen (yes, 13!) different end railing/safety appliances options, based on railroad and era

- Seven different smokejacks to cover DSI, SLCC, PC and other replacement options

- Unlit NYC/ITC oil lantern and NYC Pyle light options on the corner handrail posts where appropriate

- Illuminated scale-sized PC and CR era end marker lights that can be controlled on or off – on each end – independently, where appropriate

- Illuminated scale-sized CR and ITC late-era FRA end lights with a proper slow flash/prototype “decay” that can be controlled on or off – on each end – independently, where appropriate

- Multiple side oil fill and overflow pipe options based on the prototype and era

- Two “coupler lift bar” options per prototype application and era
- Railroad specific battery/equipment box options

- 4 different toilet pipe options based on the prototype and era

- Windshield wipers applied to bay windows based on era and prototype use

- Full railroad-specific interior – chairs, bunks, desks, lockers, sink and even 2 stove options!  The interior is accurately apportioned and fully-painted with railroad and era-specific detailing. From the signature ITC double bunks to the NYC fold-down table and tufted cushions

- Full underbody details – brake system with brake rods and piping, battery box, electrical plugs and conduit, water fills, axle generator and more – all based on the prototype and era!

- Beautiful side details - wire grab irons, wire ladder rungs, wire roof hand holds, and wire coupler lift bars – no “molded in” plastic grab irons here!

- Separate air hoses with mounting bracket detail

- No complicated decoder.  No complicated programming.  No complicated electronics. DC/DCC compatible track-powered “no fuss” interior and marker light lighting – simple and easy to operate with included wand

- “Warm” color LED lights for that “incandescent bulb” look of the prototype 

- CNC-machined standard RP25 .110” tread 33” wheels (Yes, semi-scale .088” wheels are available separately in both blackened and nickel-plated options!)

- All-New precision Tangent Scale Models 70-ton Gould plain-bearing trucks with separate brake beam part, or Barber 70-Ton Gould roller-bearing trucks with separate brake beam parts, as appropriate for each paint scheme

- Recommended age 14 years and older

 

Don’t miss out on the Tangent Scale Models Despatch Shops Incorporated and St. Louis Car Company Bay Window Caboose System, our second release in the Tangent caboose line. Pricing for RTR models is $114.95, with quantity discounts for direct purchases from Tangent Scale Models. 

 

That wraps up our update for today, and thank you for supporting the family-owned businesses in our industry! 

 

David Lehlbach

Tangent Scale Models

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