Asheville, North Carolina: 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.
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!
Today, we release our second run of new schemes for our HO scale Despatch Shops Incorporated and St. Louis Car Company 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 ones that had riveted sides and offset bay windows – they were everywhere!
This caboose was a witness to incredible changes to railroading during its use. Perhaps your train features NYC FA-2 locomotives 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 NW Geeps handing local duties in St. Louis? 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 purged 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 second run of NYC/ITC caboose system replicas are AVAILABLE TODAY and includes the following nine schemes plus four undecorated kit options:
- New York Central (NYC) “Brown repaint w/Black Logo 1955+” duplicates a much-requested scheme by the NYC fans, with the black-background NYC oval logo. This caboose was originally built in 1949 by DSI but has been repainted in 1955. NYC modelers will spy that small, era-accurate triangle of paint code information on the left side along with repack stencil data and correct serial number on the right. It’s these little details that make the caboose a New York Central replica. The model features its original DSI-applied smokejack, roof walkway and end railings. The corner railings are painted yellow, along with the bottom “Kass” step tread on each corner. 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. This caboose is ready to move freight on your NYC trains from 1955 forward. We are offering this scheme in four road numbers! SKU 60122
– New York Central (NYC) “Lot 827 Century Green Repaint with Right NYC Logo 1963+” represents the earliest version of the green repaint scheme applied by New York Central to the Lot 827 class. These St. Louis Car Company-built cabooses were shopped at NYC’s 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 (“Jade”) Green paint and a new number series. Check out those distinctive roof vents added during rebuilding but the original SLCC “taller” style smokejack. These cabooses feature the NYC “cigar band” logo on the right side of the car and the NYC font stencils in the center under the bay window. The fully-painted and lit interior features black seats and stove, and Century green cabinets and walls which was the repainted interior color when these cabooses were shopped. This scheme is available in four prototypically accurate numbers. Each SKU includes road number-specific yes-or-no application of the white painted areas above the bay window, and locations of the NYC logo and “Road To The Future” slogan. SKU 60123
– Penn Central (PC) “Green Repaint 1968+” is one of the earliest Penn Central paint schemes to be applied to the former NYC Lot 782 cabooses. It features the large white PC logo and italicized PENN CENTRAL on the carbody. This scheme features a black roof, standard for PC, and correctly maintains its running board and end ladders. PC carefully applied yellow paint to the corner grabs, bottom steps and rounded top ladder grabs. The caboose still features its original St. Louis Car Co. tall smokejack along with the NYC Beech Grove upgrades like rooftop vents. The fully-painted interior is illuminated with LED “warm” lights and features black seats and stove, and accurate light green cabinets and walls. The model includes scale-size (unlit) pyle markers prototypically mounted on both ends on the corner railing posts. We offer this scheme in three prototypically accurate road numbers. Note that each SKU is a little different: We have adjusted the location of the PC logo, road name, reporting marks and data to match each specific prototype PC number. SKU 60124
– Conrail (CR) “N7A Early Green Repaint 1976+” gives us a glimpse into the very early days of Conrail. Blue was not yet assigned as the official caboose color, and the earliest repaints of cabooses and other fright equipment was indeed PC green. Yes, you read that correctly. This is not a patch out of a former PC paint job. This N7A is a full green repaint by Altoona’s paint crew in early May of 1976. The prototype and model feature a modernized appearance per PC practice, who removed the running board and end ladders along with adding additional end railings and the signature PC-style replacement smokejack. The model’s fully-painted interior features black seats and stove, and light green cabinets and walls which was the selected interior color. The interior is lit, as are the tiny pairs of red marker lights on each end that PC applied to these cabooses. Notice the “POOL” denotation on the end doors of this caboose was used to denote its pool service status (i.e. it could run everywhere). Accurate ACI and those distinctive PC/CR COTS panels have been applied, which was standard for this era. We offer this scheme in one exact prototypical road number. SKU 60125-01
– Conrail (CR) “N7 Blue Repaint 1977+” shows another take on a Conrail blue repaint. These offering models a caboose that did not lose its roof walkway and end ladders until Conrail’s formation. So what does this mean? The end railings are specific to this type of setup. Notice the vertical ladder styles have been maintained, even after the running board was removed by CR personnel. (The predecessor PC’s practice was to torch off these ladder styles during modifications.) This makes for a very distinctive look on the ends, one that we thought was worthy of modeling! These N7 cabooses have the classic Conrail blue paint, with red ‘Scotchlight’ rectangles on the ends. Note the red marker light pairs on the ends, which of course light up on our models. The Conrail cabooses continue the black-painted roofs found on the Penn Central cars, as well as 2-panel consolidated stencils. We are offering this scheme in two road numbers, each with accurate and distinctive lettering details to represent the two prototypical numbers offered. Per prototype photos, SKU 60126-01 maintains its plain bearing trucks while SKU 60126-02 has roller bearing trucks, SKU 60126
– Conrail (CR) “N7A Blue Repaint 1979+” is the second of our Conrail-era offerings in this run. These Conrail cabooses represent the CR repaints that were performed in 1979. These cabooses received a similar Conrail blue paint job as found in our 1977 caboose offering. However, these cabooses include accurate red and white red ‘Scotchlight’ stripe rectangles on the ends for visibility. Conrail removed the PC-era end marker lights when these cabooses were rehabbed, and instead substituted a single orange FRA-flasher light, mounted on end of the car (which works on our model). Yes, the 1977+ and 1979+ Conrail cabooses operated concurrently (and with PC cabooses, we might add). Finally, Conrail replaced the plain bearing trucks with 70-ton roller bearing trucks. We are offering this scheme in four road numbers, each with accurate and distinctive lettering detail and smokejack offerings to represent the four prototypical numbers offered. SKU 60127
– Illinois Terminal (ITC) “Delivery Target Red w/Stripes 1953+” replicates an example of the final two cabooses delivered to the ITC by St. Louis Car Company. These cars feature the same safety-inspired bright “target” red paint, but SLCC also applied white reflective delineators across the bottom of the body and ends. This is a very distinctive look. The caboose also has other colors present on the exterior, including “canary yellow” handrails and steps, along with a light gray Standard Railway Equipment roof. 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, this model includes large (unlit) oil lanterns on one end of the caboose. The fully-painted and apportioned interior includes the two tone green scheme as found in the original cabooses. Check out those double bunks as you peek through the large windows. While ITC loved to repaint their cabooses, the prototype number 989 stayed in its original red for an incredible 17 year run until 1970, making it the last survivor of the of the ITC St. Louis Car Co. delivery scheme. This caboose scheme is available in one accurate road number. SKU 60128-01
– Illinois Terminal (ITC) “Personalized Service Green Repaint 1972+” takes us to the 1970s, where the Illinois Terminal is repainting cabooses in additional variations of green paint. This scheme advertises “The Road of Personalized Services” and brackets the Illinois Terminal shadow script lettering with body length yellow stripes. Accurate for this era, the model also features ACI labels and a single COTS stencil with prototypical data details from the ITC’s Federal Yard in Alton, IL. The silver underframe really shows off the details of the model including accurate Illinois Terminal equipment boxes, toilet dump pipe and Gould Foundry plain bearing caboose trucks. The interior is painted a solid dark green for this era and is illuminated with LED “warm” lights to replicate incandescent bulbs. This scheme is available in one prototypically accurate number: 983. As with all of our cabooses, see the prototype reference photo on our website! SKU 60129-01
– Norfolk & Western (NW) “Red Repaint 1982+” is the final paint scheme to be applied to the ITC St. Louis Car Co. caboose fleet. The NW took over operations of the ITC in 1981 and refurbished several of the ITC cabooses in 1982 for local and transfer service. It is amazing what a fresh coat of caboose red and white NW graphics can do! The prototype side windows have been plated over, and the rooftop walkways and end ladders are long gone. This model features these same modernizations, and make sure that you check out the intricate roof walkway metal brackets. You can see the individual walkway bolt holes on top of each one! These are the finest walkway brackets available in HO Scale. The ends of the caboose feature era-appropriate flashing FRA red lights. The underframe has also lost the equipment boxes and toilet pipe. The interior of the caboose is lit, which can still be seen through those big bay windows. We kept getting asked from the NW guys about this scheme, so now’s your chance to have a little bit of the 1980s in your caboose fleet. This NW red beauty is available in two accurate numbers. Don’t forget to check out the website for the prototype reference photos! SKU 60130
– 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. SKU 60100-01
– Undecorated KIT 1963+ (NYC-PC-Early CR) is a fully unassembled kit version of the modernized 1963+ era Lot 782 DSI caboose. This kit features a full running board on the roof as well as the roof vents, battery box and other upgrade features from the NYC Beech Grove Shops upgrade program. The kit also includes extra part variations for St. Louis Car railings, end walkways and underframe details. This caboose kit covers the 1963+ NYC era, PC era before running board removal as well as some early CR paint jobs. Heads up NYC kitbashers: This is a starting path to a custom built 1963 DSI Lot 919 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. SKU 60101-01
– Undecorated KIT 1979+ (CR) is a fully unassembled kit version of the modernized 1979+ era Lot 782 DSI caboose (N7). This kit features a roof without a running board but does have the roof vents, battery box and other upgrade features from the 1960s NYC Beech Grove Shops upgrade program. The kit also includes extra part variations for St. Louis Car railings, end walkways and underframe details (N7A). This caboose kit covers the 1979+ CR era, perfect for those who just can’t get enough CR cabooses on their roster. Heads up CR kitbashers: This is a great starting point towards a CR Era N7B (ex 1963 DSI Lot 919) or a CR Era N10 (ex 1969 PC Altoona Car) 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 roller bearing caboose trucks with power-pickup and 33″ standard 110 tread CNC wheels. You supply your own favorite couplers. SKU 60102-01
– Undecorated KIT 1975+ (ITC-NW) is a fully unassembled kit version of the modernized 1975+ era Illinois Terminal St. Louis Car Co. caboose. This kit features a roof without a running board and also has the “cut-down” modern ends with ladders removed. This kit is a great choice for the late 1970s ITC and NW modelers. 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. SKU 60103-01
Besides the above kits, don’t forget that we have caboose bodies and 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. Also, check out these parts and trucks available separately and used on the DSI/SLCC Bay Window System of cabooses:
– 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. SKU 208.
– 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! SKU 240.
– 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. SKUs 112 (Normal Tread) /113 (Semi-Scale).
All of these models can be seen at www.tangentscalemodels.com!
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!)
– 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 $116.95, with quantity discounts for direct purchases from Tangent Scale Models.