Conrail Cabins & Cabooses
Class N-21A

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Sorry, I don't have a photo of this class, does anyone?
If you would like to see it here drop me a note!

N-21A Class Data
1 car 21230, bought new by Conrail in 1978 as class N-21.
N-21 CR 21230, was reclassified to N-21A in October, 1978, at Reading Car Shop. This car was fitted with National Swing Motion Trucks and the foundation brake was changed from near side to far side hookup. Thus the reason for reclassification to N-21A. The National Trucks had 6" X 11" roller bearings and special coil springs to accommodate the more or less constant weight on rail of a caboose.

This car was tested at speeds up to 82 mph between Collinwood and Ashtabula. The test train was all locomotives and cabooses. The GE locomotives had axle mounted devices that had to be road tested so they were used to power the test train. In addition to CR 21230, there were an N8, N7B, N5C, N7A and a regular caboose for the train crew. Thus two tests for the price of one.

The ride quality of the National Trucks was superior to the Barber-Bettendorf Caboose Truck. and was at least equal to the ride quality of the fully equalized Stillwell Caboose Trucks under some EL cars. The Stillwell Trucks were standard on some railroads.

Due to the era of the caboose coming to an end and some cracking problems with the National side frame castings the test trucks were removed on November 1, 1985, and the brake rigging restore to the original and the Class N-21 was reassigned,

Due to union agreements all Conrail Cabooses were to be eventually equipped with Barber-Bettendorf Trucks and as a result the Stillwell trucks were replaced. Although the Stillwell trucks were worn beyond reasonable limits for reclamation they could have been replaced in kind but the cost would have been prohibitive.

CR 21295 was to have been the second N-21A but it was never converted.

Information provided by John Reehling

Outline created from The Car and Locomotive Cyclopedia '80 and photographs by T.W.Wolfgang.

N-21A Dimensions
Length over
37' 4 1/4" 30' 0 13/16"
23' 2 1/2" 8' 11" 10' 8" 12' 2 5/8" 52,800

Sources : Rail Classics 7/88, Rails Northeast 10/81 and The Car and Locomotive Cyclopedia 1980.

Modeling the N-21A
HO scale
Could be kitbashed based on Athearn or Walthers bay window caboose. Make new sides, ends and bays. Roof, floor, platforms. I am not aware of anyone manufacturing a National Swing Motion Truck in any scale.

Other scales?
Any tips would be appreciated!

Articles about the N-21A
I am not aware of any acticles covering this particular car.

Drawings of the N-21A
The Car and Locomotive Cyclopedia 1980 published by Simmons-Boardman, rough drawing and photos.

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Last updated : July 14, 2000

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