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IC Centralia Shops Steel Wide Vision Caboose

Please click on the images at right for pricing, SKUs, high resolution photos, prototype photos, car number options, and/or to order!  These cabooses are in stock and ready to purchase today!

Our third caboose model is the HO Scale IC Centralia Shops Wide Vision Caboose. These IC cabooses are one of the most recognizable body styles in North America. You know these cabooses – with those long, extended end walkways, wide vision cupolas, and bright orange paint. This caboose was utilized system-wide on the IC, ICG, the “New” IC and yes, even on today’s CN. At its peak, the ICG served 14 states, including major interchange terminals from Chicago, IL, East St. Louis, IL, and Kansas City, MO to Louisville, KY, Memphis, TN and Birmingham, AL. These cabooses certainly got around!

Perhaps your trains model the famous IC “Main Line of Mid-America” North-South racetrack. Or maybe you model the final days of the IC-UP run-through freights between North Platte, NE and Chicago, IL. For others, coal is king in Southern Illinois and Kentucky. Perhaps pulpwood traffic is your jam in Vicksburg, MS. Or maybe you just need to protect your crews with a shoving platform in Mattoon, IL on today’s CN. Tangent has the right caboose for your train!

Here is a manifest train heading north at Camp Moore LA in 1975 on the “Main Line of Mid-America” with a trusty Illinois Central Gulf painted Centralia Shops caboose bringing up the markers.

The cabooses remained in service after the caboose era on road trains ended, when they remained in service on local trains.

And fast forward to today, where these cabooses are still working on the former Illinois Central! Here is one in Mattoon, Illinois in 2018 that Tangent photographed – on the way to Trainfest!

Our “system” of cabooses includes two different Centralia build lots, with multiple assembly variations. Here is a little history on the subject:

IC Centralia Wide Vision Caboose with Stanray Roof

In the late 1960s, the Illinois Central Railroad embarked on a program to modernize its fleet of road cabooses. With most of the IC’s side-door cabooses starting to show their age, the railroad used its own Centralia, Illinois Car Shops to design and build an all-new steel caboose. In 1966, IC tested this process and built a small group of 50 riveted-design cabooses at Centralia. These riveted cabooses featured a smooth welded roof and plain bearing trucks. A couple of years later in 1968, the Darby Corporation built an additional 50 welded-design cabooses. Centralia then accelerated the program and produced 200 new cabooses between 1970 and 1972. This 1970-72 group is the target for the Tangent Scale Models IC Centralia Wide Vision Caboose system. The first 100 cabooses built in 1970 featured riveted body construction, extended platform ends for crew safety, wide vision cupolas, and Stanray “reverse-diagonal” panel roofs.

IC Centralia Wide Vision Caboose with Pullman Standard Roof
The second 100 cabooses, built in 1972, featured Pullman Standard “bow-tie” panel roofs. All of these cabooses boasted modern features such as full electrical lighting and marker lights, bunks and high-back chairs, an oil heater, and roller bearing trucks. This modern fleet of IC Centralia wide vision cabooses served on IC, ICG, and now Canadian National continuously from 1970 to today, painted in a myriad of IC / ICG / ”New” IC / CN paint schemes. Additionally, many cabooses were sold to short lines and regional railroads.

And now, let’s review paint schemes on these prototypes that we have covered in our first production of model cabooses.

First up is the Illinois Central (IC) “Original Orange Split Rail 1970” scheme that shows the as-built paint scheme as the cabooses rolled out of the Centralia Shops. The IC painted their cabooses in a beautiful orange and lettered them with the “Split Rail” logo and “Main Line Of Mid-America” slogan. This group of cabooses features a Stanray roof, along with an accurate Keystone Center-of-Car cushioning underframe and matching brake components layout for the 1970 Centralia lot. The little details are present – from the accurate smokejack and “can” radio antenna on the roof to the water filler covers and pipes on the underframe. IC painted the bathroom window with a half orange patch for privacy. The end of the car includes the lighted IC box-style red-green markers on the ends. These cabooses ride on Barber caboose trucks, complete with accurate Brenco-6 style roller bearings.

This Illinois Central Gulf (ICG) “Orange I-Ball Repaint 1974+” photo represents a common repaint scheme applied by the Illinois Central Gulf’s Centralia Shops. The GM&O and IC merged in August of 1972, and cabooses were painted with a new version of the logo: The IC’s “split rail” was filled in to form the ICG’s “solid I.” The ICG didn’t bother to mask off the aluminum window frames, so they are now orange with the rest of the carbody. This example photo features a Pullman “bow-tie” panel roof. But there is more to it that that – along with PS panels, the roof features a completely different construction layout, and Apex walkway than the earlier Stanray-equipped series. The underframe details also match the 1972 Centralia lot, including accurate brake components layout and the classic IC-style battery box. This group of cabooses was built with Microphor chemical toilets, so there is no visible dump pipe on the underframe.

One of the next chronological schemes was Illinois Central Gulf (ICG) “Simplified Orange Repaint w/Logo 1978+” which illustrates the ICG’s attempt to save money and apply a simplified painting scheme to their equipment. Gone is the full “ILLINOIS CENTRAL GULF” and I-ball logo. It has been replaced with a simple bold ICG and black “I” logo. While the paint scheme is simplified, the details are the opposite. These 1978+ cabooses had modernized underframes: the toilet dump pipe is gone, since the prototype’s interior bathroom was reconfigured with a Microphor chemical toilet. A new thin drain pipe for the relocated sink takes its place. If you look closely at the wide vision cupola roof, you will see a tiny pipe vent – this is the breather pipe for the toilet tank! The Centralia battery box has been added, causing adjustment of the underframe supports. The lighting has also changed. Of course, the interior is lit to mimic the incandescent bulbs of the prototype but check out the ends: A flashing red FRA light has been added to the existing IC-style Red/green marker setup.

The Illinois Central Gulf (ICG) “Simplified Orange Repaint 1987+” demonstrates an exact one-of-a-kind ICG repaint with a little extra “flair.” The IC (and later ICG/New IC) regularly ran December “Santa Train” service on the Illinois Division, making sure that the children along the line had an opportunity to speak with Kris Kringle himself and get those Christmas wish lists submitted. This caboose was repainted for Santa Train duties in late 1987, receiving yet another version of the ICG’s simplified orange scheme. But a Santa caboose deserves some extra special attention, so Centralia applied ICG logos to the caboose side along with white handrail and step edge highlights. Big changes were coming fast to the ICG, with a corporate name change right around the corner in 1988. As a result, this was the final caboose repainted orange by the ICG. After Santa service was completed, the caboose returned to freight duties on the railroad. The 1987 era translates to many little details for this caboose: This scheme features accurate plated windows on the body, along with plated box-markers on the end. The coupler lift bars are a replacement style and the small water fill covers on the sill are long gone. The end cupola windows have also been modified to a smaller size by the ICG. This replica has a lighted interior along with an operating FRA flashing red light on each end.

The “New” IC corporate image of the time period, which was later referred to as “Death Star,” is illustrated here as the Illinois Central (IC) “Gray Repaint 1988+.” The ICG removed the “G” in early 1988, and the new slimmed-down railroad adopted an all-new logo and color scheme palette. Centralia painted cabooses in a classy gray with white lettering, including the “New Image” IC logo. These cabooses feature accurate plated windows and plated end marker light boxes. The interior is lit along with era-appropriate flashing FRA red lights applied to each end. That beautiful gray paint allows you to pause and peek at many little details. Did you notice the intricately rendered “Junior JAL-Tread” raised-cleat treadplate on the extended end walkways and step treads? How about that detailed oil tank gauge, fuel oil fill and floor spill drain on the A End of the caboose?

The Chicago Missouri & Western (CM&W) Railway purchased the ICG’s ex-GM&O mainlines between East St. Louis, IL, Joliet, IL and Kansas City, MO in 1987. Its first paint scheme was an Alton R.R.-inspired red and marron. The CM&W rostered a dozen of the ex-IC/ICG Centralia cabooses, but only one would receive this stunning paint application. These cabooses were painted with an intricate and accurate CM&W logo along with classy yellow handrail highlights, nicely matching their repainted locomotives. This is a former IC 1970 lot caboose, so it is equipped with a Stanray roof, a Keystone-equipped cushion underframe with Battery Box and toilet pipe modifications made by the IC. The caboose also features correct “plated” windows and “blanked” end marker light boxes, plus additional modern changes like replacement style coupler lift bars and a “cut off” smokejack. If you look closely at the cupola end windows, you will notice that they are a “modified” style from its days on the ICG.

MidSouth Rail Corporation (MSRC) “Gray Repaint 1989+” is another example of an IC Centralia Wide Vision caboose that has found its way to an ICG spin-off railroad. The MidSouth Rail Corporation started operation in 1986, taking over several hundred miles of ex-ICG lines in Mississippi and Louisiana. The MidSouth rostered a few ex-ICG cabooses. Our example was repainted by MidSouth into a beautiful gray scheme with a green stripe and tall MIDSOUTH graphics. This MSRC caboose survived the ICG era with its body windows intact but did have its end marker lights plated over. This is a Pullman roof ex-IC car, so it also has all the underframe features to match these 1972 builds, including the IC style battery box.

A handful of the IC Centralia Wide Vision Cabooses have continued to serve Canadian National (CN) into the 2000s and beyond. IC 199408 was repainted from its IC Gray scheme into CN’s Oxide Red colors in 2005 at Centralia. At this time, it also received the yellow reflective delineators. This caboose features plated fixed side windows, plated end markers, replacement style coupler lift bars, modernized end cupola windows, and a “cut off” smokejack, all based on the prototype caboose. It includes FRA flashing red end lights. This caboose serves faithfully on the CN today around Champaign, IL and Mattoon, IL. It’s hard to believe, but this caboose will soon wear CN paint longer than any previous IC gray or IC(G) orange scheme!

And now, on to the models! The Tangent Scale Models IC Centralia Wide Vision Caboose is a state of the art, dimensionally-accurate scale replica with highly accurate “true-to-life” colors and precise letter stencils. Designed from meticulous field dimensions, our model includes build year and era-specific details such as a Keystone Cushion Underframe and full brake system details, underframe detail variations, Stanray and Pullman roof variations, side window variations, and wide vision cupola window options. Our model also includes distinctive details like full end platform tread plate and see-through steps and running boards. Inside the model is an accurate IC interior layout — from bunks and lockers to the ice chest and oil bunker. We offer “no fuss” track-powered interior and exterior lighting features, including marker light options that are appropriate for the era and paint scheme of each caboose. Our cabooses are compatible with DC or DCC setups right out of the box (a simple wand included in the box activates the lights). Finally, our ready-to-operate replica includes “near-scale” draft gear box including side “key” detail, coupler lift bars, Kadee® scale couplers, sufficient hidden weights, and CNC-machined wheels to ensure the model operates as good as it looks.

More model photos are available by clicking on the photos at the right!

These cabooses are shipping today! Features for these replicas include:
– Dimensional accuracy – designed from meticulous field dimensions using real tape measures and multiple real IC Centralia Cabooses.
– 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, side vents and side window combinations
– Three different era-specific and road number specific wide vision cupola options
– Two different roof options – “Stanray” or “Pullman Standard”
– Two different Apex “See through” running boards
– Accurate Keystone Center-of-Car cushioning unit
– Railroad and era-specific underframe details to match as-built and IC(G) modified configurations
– Multiple cupola roof options for different radio antennas and chemical toilet vent
– End steps and walkways that carefully replicate the prototype “Junior JAL-Tread” walkway pattern
– Unapologetically fine etch metal side and end window screens, where appropriate
– Five different end railing/marker light options, based on railroad and era
– Three different smokejacks to cover IC/ICG and replacement options
– Two “coupler lift bar” options per prototype application and era
– Railroad specific/era specific battery box options
– Different toilet pipe/sink drain pipe options based on the prototype and era
– Full IC-specific interior – chairs, bunks, desk, lockers, ice chest, oil bunker and the most detailed Vapor Corporation TCHA55 Caban heater in HO Scale! The interior is fully painted with railroad and era-specific colors.
– Full underbody details – brake system with brake rods and piping, release rod, snubber, water fills, axle generator and more – all based on the prototype and era!
– Beautiful side wire curved grab irons, intricate signature Centralia end railings in plastic with accurate wire top ladder hoops.
– Flexible rubber air hoses with mounting bracket detail
– Consumer applied optional metal red/green “flag” paddle parts included for appropriate eras
– Consumer applied optional cupola Prime wind deflector parts included
– LED illuminated scale-sized IC Red-Green Marker light boxes that can be controlled red/green/off – on each end – independently, where appropriate
– LED illuminated scale-sized ICG FRA end lights with a proper slow flash/prototype “decay” that can be controlled on or off – on each end – independently, where appropriate
– LED illuminated interior lighting “warm” lights to replicate incandescent bulbs that can be controlled on or off.
– 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
– CNC-machined standard RP25 .110” tread 33” wheels (Yes, semi-scale .088” wheels are available separately!)
– All-New precision Tangent Scale Models 70-ton Barber roller bearing trucks with separate brake beam part, or 70-Ton Gould roller bearing trucks with separate brake beam parts, as appropriate for each paint scheme
– Undecorated kits and RTR cabooses painted orange!
– Recommended age 14 years and older

Please click on the images at right for pricing, SKUs, high resolution photos, prototype photos, car number options, and/or to order!

You probably already know this, but it is worth repeating. Approaching models to the level that Tangent executes requires a significant contribution of time, effort, and money. Our field dimension work equaled four full days – to insure we got every dimension we needed to meticulously detail the real cabooses prior to undertaking design. Of course the field work is not even half the battle, but it may be the most fun! Here is a quick montage of our multiple days photographing and measuring caboose examples for this project. Many thanks to the Illinois Railroad Museum in Union, IL, where there is a nicely-restored caboose available for measurements, and protected from the elements. We measured the caboose in November 2019, on our way to Trainfest and just before the pandemic hit. Additionally, we sampled a second caboose at Paxton IL to check out the Pullman roof details, among other things!

Please click on the images at right for pricing, SKUs, high resolution photos, prototype photos, car number options, and/or to order!