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NP/SP&S/BN ICC 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 fourth caboose model is the HO Scale NP/SP&S/BN International Car Corporation Wide Vision Caboose System.  With this release, we are focusing on the backbone of the newly-formed BN’s caboose fleet:  The Kenton Ohio-built NP, SP&S and “native” BN class of 1969-1972.  These 191 cabooses are easily-recognizable, with their wide vision cupolas, rooftop running boards, classic paint schemes and system-wide use by the NP, SP&S and BN.

The Burlington Northern Railroad peaked at over 27,000 miles serving 25 U.S. States plus 2 Canadian Provinces.  It’s difficult to overstate its size and importance in modern railroading.  This Tangent caboose marks the first “high-detail” BN-delivered caboose replica in HO scale.

Perhaps you are modeling Powder River Basin coal and its expansion in the 1970s.  For others, forest products are king in Washington.  Marias Pass and its growling helper sets are hard to beat, and you can’t beat the “racetrack” in Chicagoland.  Also – don’t forget the offline run-through train moves with foreign carriers as well.  All of these BN modeling opportunities and more – and Tangent has the perfect caboose for you, from 1969 to today.

We want to be very clear.  Our NP/SP&S/BN Caboose System is not a generic International caboose model painted in BN Green.  This is a Tangent-Level Tour De Force of 8 wide vision caboose bodies, covering 6 NP/SP&S/BN ICC Kenton lots, executing multiple eras, paint schemes, modernization & rebuild programs, all with accurate lighting plus era and road number specific details.

How about a little history on each subgroup:

Northern Pacific Railway ICC Wide Vision Cupola Caboose
In 1969, the Northern Pacific Railway (“NP”) modernized its caboose fleet with two ultimate goals: to provide improved utilization of cabooses and to improve the quarters for train crews.  Following up on its order from International Car Corp. (ICC) in 1962 for welded “high cupola” cabooses, NP followed suit in 1969 by receiving a new order from ICC for 25 cabooses.  Built at ICC’s Kenton, OH facility, these were the last cabooses NP ordered before becoming part of Burlington Northern.  These new cabooses were delivered in the pre-merger “Cascade Green” paint with yellow ends, and many operated in their original NP paint into the 1990s with BN restenciling – that marks 25 years of service for these cabooses!

Spokane Portland & Seattle Railway ICC Wide Vision Cupola Caboose

The Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway (“SP&S”) was also busy modernizing its caboose fleet in 1969.  While NP received their new cabooses in May/June 1969, the SP&S received six of their own cabooses of very similar design in July. These were the first (and only) SP&S cabooses ordered from ICC.  These new cabooses operated in their original SP&S red paint at the tail end of the SP&S era, and into the 1970s with BN restenciling.  They also served well into the BN era in various BN/BNSF schemes with exterior modifications.

Burlington Northern Railroad ICC Wide Vision Cupola Cabooses

During the 1960s, International Car Corp. (ICC) provided cupola cabooses of various designs to the CB&Q, GN, NP, and SP&S railroads, and each of these railroads constituted the Burlington Northern Railroad (“BN”), formed in 1970.  During the 1970-1972 period, BN continued purchases from ICC by ordering 160 “wide vision” design cabooses, a group so large that it formed the foundation for BN’s “modern” caboose fleet.  These various BN orders were different in the little details like body windows, roofs, and underframe arrangements.  Many of these new cabooses operated in their original BN paint into the 1990s.  Who remembers the Western Fruit Express (“WFE”) caboose rebuild program in the early 1990s?  We sure do — and have that covered, too, with specific tooling to handle the changes.  This fleet served well through the BN/BNSF era wearing various BN/BNSF schemes with exterior modifications, and some can still be seen today.

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

First up is the Northern Pacific (NP) “Delivery 1969” w/Pyle Lanterns that was the as-built pre-merger Northern Pacific paint scheme.  The NP took delivery of their 25 wide-vision cabooses from International Car Corporation in May and June of 1969.  Painted Cascade Green with yellow ends, it’s fitting to just say “WOW” when describing this final NP scheme.  The paint details make this caboose stand out.  Notice the carefully masked “unpainted” galvanized roof, black and yellow end railing details and red/white striped ends.  The prototype NP cabooses were delivered with Morton running boards and end walkways, including the distinctive Morton “Uni-wing” flange on the running board edges.  Underneath, these models are fitted with a Waugh cushion underframe, Dana Corporation Spicer axle-drive generator, propane tank storage box and toilet dump pipe.  It’s all there, from the electrical plugs/conduit and Vapor heater breather blocks down to the water fills and fine air release rod.  The body of the caboose has an accurate NP side and end window layout with side screens.

Inside the NP cabooses: these cars had lockers painted in a 2-tone green with swooping, curved color separations, a nod to the Loewy graphics of previous eras. The NP specified a 2-level bunk on the A-End, plus the sink/cabinet and refrigerator.  For lighting, the cabooses were equipped with Pyle lanterns and incandescent bulbs.  Here is a shot of the interior!

Our second scheme offering follows the Spokane Portland & Seattle (SP&S) “Delivery 1969” w/Red Cupola Lights prototype, and the final SP&S caboose order.  Delivered in July of 1969 from ICC, these six prototypes wore classic SP&S red paint on the sides and ends, and had unpainted galvanized roofs, with red overspray.  Tangent has carefully duplicated all of these colors including the red overspray on our model.  The yellow handrails, grab irons and top ladder handholds really stood out against the red body color.  These SP&S cabooses were delivered with Morton running boards and end walkways.  The SP&S lettering includes “The Northwest’s Own Railway” logo.  The as-delivered data includes an ACI label and underframe ICC builder stencil.  Underneath, these models are fitted with a Waugh cushion underframe, Spicer axle-drive generator, battery storage box and toilet dump pipe.  The SP&S carbody and cupola are different from the NP. Also, the small details are as well: little things like the SP&S-specific shorter smokejack, underframe battery box and alternate electrical conduit/plug location.  The interior includes a Vapor “Caban” Heater and lockers and high-back chairs and bunks.  For lighting, the SP&S International cabooses included a round, red marker light on the cupola ends. Inside they had incandescent bulbs. These cars were originally equipped with end screen doors (but they were quickly removed by SP&S).

The next chronological caboose in our “system” is the Burlington Northern (BN) “Delivery 9-1970” w/Red-Green Lights. Step back and think about the world theater in 1970. These were monumental cabooses in Burlington Northern history because they were the first new cabooses delivered to the newly-merged railroad, and the first cabooses to unveil the then-new BN corporate image.  Painted Cascade Green with yellow ends, these 25 cabooses were delivered in September of 1970.  The center raised-sash body windows of NP and SP&S specifications are gone, replaced by rounded-corner countersunk sealed windows.  There were neat things happening with paint and stenciling, including the vertical railings running from the roof eave down to the end corners: Half green, half yellow, just like the real ones.  Compared to the NP cabooses, BN requested a change to the end railing style along with the underframe details and orientation.  The Spicer axle-driven generator was still there, but the caboose features have been modernized to include a toilet retention tank and flush system.  The smokejack and bracing has changed on the roof from the NP and SP&S orders.  The ends featured BN’s signature Red-Green exterior marker lighting, and inside was the typical incandescent lighting.

And these cabooses went offline!  Model the Milwaukee Road?  Here is one of our BN subject cabooses in run-through coal train service on the Milwaukee!

Model the Santa Fe (prior to even the thought of a BNSF merger)?  Here is one of our subject cabooses on a UFIX coal train on ATSF trackage rights.

The Fort Worth & Denver (FWD) “Delivery 1971” w/Red-Green Lights was a three-car group that were part of a larger 50-car BN order from ICC-Kenton in 1971.  These three cabooses were delivered in BN green and yellow paint with FW&D reporting marks and 3-digit number series.  These cabooses share the 1971 BN order features, which mean that International changed the carbody features from the 1970 body listed above.  Check out the roof – it now has raised diagonal panels between all of the intermediate ribs, including the panel under the smokejack.  The body roof also features an ICC toilet room vent along with a Motorola “fire cracker” antenna on the cupola roof.  The underbody features are similar to the previous 1970 BN orders, including the Waugh cushion underframe, toilet retention tank and flush system.  The electrical system has changed in 1971.  Gone is the Spicer axle drive, replaced with a Safety Electrical brand axle-mounted generator.  Inside was a BN/FW&D interior, painted light green by ICC.  The ends featured BN’s signature Red-Green lighting and incandescent bulbs.

Time marches forward, and cabooses were in a constant state of change. As marker light changes occurred, and other safety requirements changed, BN modernized these cabooses in 1981. The Burlington Northern (BN) “1981+ No Running Boards, No Windows” w/FRA Red Lights gives some great examples of 1980s railroading.  This Tangent group of cabooses is from BN’s final 50-car order built by ICC in Kenton, Ohio in 1972.  What does modernization mean?  For these specific numbers, the running boards were removed and 4 grab irons were installed on the roof near the wide vision cupola.  Still present on the roof were the individual running board brackets.  The side window glass was removed and the window openings were plated over with steel to accommodate the safety glass requirements mandated by FRA.  The axle generator was changed to a Dayco belt-drive, visible on the outside of the truck.  With the fresh green paint touch-up, this makes for a completely different look for the end of the train.  The ends also feature an updated FRA lighting set up, as the red-green light was replaced with a single steady-red FRA light.  Fun fact: Did you know that BN FRA end red lights don’t flash?

The rebuilding programs of cabooses continued into the 1990s. Burlington Northern (BN) “WFE Rebuild 1990” w/FRA Red Lights illustrates a 1990s rebuilt look for a group of BN cabooses.  From 1990-1992, Western Fruit Express (a subsidiary of BN) refurbished a total of 133 examples of the BN caboose fleet at a shop in Spokane, WA.  This rebuild program was used to extend the service lives of the cabooses and subjects were pulled from various BN classes.  Our focus today is on refurbished examples from the BN ICC 1972 build group.  These cabooses lost their running boards and received plated window openings, if not already modified.  The WFE rebuilds feature the altered end railings area around the FRA light.  Underneath, eagle-eyed BN fans will notice the belt-drive axle generator detail on the one side of the truck sideframe.  These cabooses received a new coat of BN green paint, along with updated 1990s-era BN graphics.  All BN cabooses are not alike, and these WFE rebuilds feature a slightly different logo and data details from BN’s 1970s and 1980s paint jobs.  Check out that tiny WFE “Pride In Excellence” Spokane, WA shop decal under the COTS panel!  For lighting, these cabooses featured red FRA lights on each end, along with interior lights.

Burlington Northern (BN) “WFE Rebuild 2016+ Era” w/FRA Red Lights illustrates an example of the WFE rebuild program, with additional updates to bring it up to “today” on the BNSF.  This caboose is another veteran of the 1972-built group of ICC cabooses that went through the 1990 BN Western Fruit Express rebuild program.  This caboose survived to at least 2016, and featured additional lettering for the era, specifically yellow reflective conspicuity stripes.  Cabooses are still used in the modern era in local service for crews where back-up moves require safety and protection.  This caboose still retains all of the 1972 BN ICC features, including accurate roof and underframe details placement.  This modernized caboose has lost its running board, but the tell-tale roof brackets remain.  Notice the fine holes in the top of each roof bracket where the bolts use to be!  The side windows have also been plated over.  For lighting, this replica features red FRA lights on each end, along with interior lights.

Click here for an example of one of these cabooses!

And now, on to the models!  The Tangent Scale Models NP/SP&S/BN International Car Corporation Wide Vision Caboose System 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 models include build year and era-specific details such as full brake system details, underframe detail variations, body side/end window variations, and wide vision cupola options.  The details don’t stop there: Tangent includes a Waugh Cushion Underframe, electrical conduits, toilet vent, caboose window treatments accurate for the era of the caboose, plus beautiful see-through steps, end platforms, and running boards all applied to multiple NP/SP&S/BN-specific ICC Wide Vision bodies.  Inside the model are road-specific (NP, SP&S, BN) ICC-applied interiors.  These cabooses include interior lighting, plus marker light options that are era-appropriate for the paint scheme of each caboose.  These “no fuss” track-powered interior and exterior marker lights 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 accompanying Kadee® scale couplers, sufficient hidden weights, and CNC-machined wheels to ensure the model operates as good as it looks.

The Tangent NP/SP&S/BN International Car Corporation Wide Vision Caboose System of replicas is AVAILABLE TODAY and includes the following eight RTR schemes plus an unprecedented ten undecorated kit options. These can be viewed and purchased by clicking on the images in the grid at the right!

Besides the above kits, we have these brand-new caboose parts available as well:

Caboose Flags – Type 3 is a pack of eight (8) metal “flag” paddles used on cabooses for daytime running.  This pack contains 2 styles of rectangular flags as used by BN in the 1970s and 1980s.  The painted metal parts are red on one side and green on the other, matching the prototypes, and have a mounting stem for a customer-drilled #76 hole.  A great update for any BN family caboose!  SKU 242 Click here!

These cabooses are shipping today! Please click on the images at right for pricing, SKUs, high resolution photos, prototype photos, car number options, and/or to order!  Features for these replicas include:

– Dimensional accuracy – designed from meticulous field dimensions using real tape measures of real BN/NP cabooses (preferably located near BBQ joints).
– 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

– Road and Era-specific details for each RTR scheme, including multiple body, roof, cupola, underframe detail and side window combinations
– Eight different road and era-specific wide vision body options
– Three different road-specific wide vision cupola options
– Four different roof options
– Morton and Apex “See through” running boards
– Accurate Waugh Cushion Underframe
– Railroad and era-specific underframe details to match as-built ICC and modified configurations
– Multiple cupola roof configurations for different radio antenna mounting locations
– End steps and walkways that carefully replicate the prototype Morton or Apex walkway pattern
– The finest etched metal side and end window screens in HO scale, where appropriate
– Three different road-specific smokejack options
– Three different era-specific truck axle drive generator options
– Four different end railing/marker light options, based on railroad and era
– Two “coupler lift bar” options per prototype application and era
– NP/SPS and BN-specific interiors – chairs, bunks, desk, lockers, refrigerator, 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, water fills, and more – all based on the prototype and era!
– Beautiful side wire curved grab irons, intricate ICC end railings in plastic with accurate wire top ladder hoops
– Consumer applied optional metal red/green “flag” paddle parts included for appropriate eras
– Consumer applied optional cupola Prime wind deflector parts included for appropriate eras
– LED illuminated scale-sized BN Red-Green Marker light boxes that can be controlled red/green/off – on each end – independently, where appropriate
– LED illuminated scale-sized BN FRA end lights with a proper steady “on” 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
– Recommended age 14 years and older

You probably already know this, but it is worth repeating. Approaching models to the level that Tangent executes is absolutely a labor of love.  We spend a significant contribution of time, effort, and money.  Our field dimension work for these cabooses equaled three 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!  A big “thank you” goes to the Depot Bar-B-Q in East Prairie MO (it’s painted SSW, but its BN heritage is in plain sight!) and to the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis for hosting us in our efforts to measure every square inch of these prototype cabooses.  Both establishments are highly recommended.

Here is a quick montage of our multiple days photographing and measuring caboose examples for this project.

Don’t miss out on the Tangent Scale Models NP/SP&S/BN ICC Wide Vision Caboose System, our fourth release in the Tangent caboose line.

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

To close, here is a going away shot taken between Fenn and Grangeville Idaho, from the Joint UP/BNSF(BN-NP) Camas Prairie Railroad.  Yup, it matches one of the Tangent models!  May your markers always burn!