Conrail Cabins & Cabooses
General Modeling Info

All references are to HO scale unless noted.

For years after Big Blue was formed, accurately modeling Conrail cabooses was difficult at best. The Athearn bay window caboose and wide vision caboose were close approximations of the N-7E and N-20 respectively, this accounted for only 30 cars in the vast fleet. The introduction of the Bowser N-5 was the biggest breakthrough as this is by far the most common car in the fleet starting with almost 500 units between it and its N-5B sisters. The N-5C, also from Bowser, accounted for another 169 cars, eagerly greeted by PRR/PC/CR modelers this excellent model is my own personal favorite. The release of the 'northeastern' models by Eastern Car Works and Life Like accounted for another 260 cars in 4 related classes. Walther's has addressed the ex NYC bay window style caboose to a small extent. The NYC, later PC and finally the CR N-21s have small bays similar to those in the Walther's kit. Filling existing windows and adding new ones improves accuracy but nitpickers would have a field day with the result. Wrong number of roof panels/side panels/length/etc... A few cars are so unique scratchbuilding is the only choice.

Walther's International Bay Window Caboose Kit. Walther's recently released bay window caboose does not match any CR classes exactly but may provide the raw material for new conversions. I have not had a close look at one of these kits yet. A quick look in the hobby shop and on the Walther's web site does not give much hope. The small bay is nice, but it is not exactly like any CR class. The carbody windows also are not in the correct places.

Seth Lakin sent in the following notes:
The Walther's international bay window caboose serves a excellent starting point for many CR cabooses. These are the N-5H, N-7D, N-12, and N-21. The N-5H and the N-7D use the long one windowed bay. All side windows need to be filled and new windows cut. The N-7D has rock screenes installed to simulate this I used Detail Master modeling screene and strip styrene. The N-7D has rivets which I could not reproduce. The N-12 and N-21 use the small bay. Both of them need all side windows filled and new windows cut. The small bay that comes with the kit can be used to kitbash the N-5k, N-7, A, B, C, and the N-8B.

A note to N scalers! Check out the review of the Atlas wide-cupola caboose in the March '97 Model Railroader. It looks like a nice car and a good match for the ex Reading N-20 class. One of the factory paint schemes is Conrail, Reading fans make your voices heard..! Let me know what road numbers are available.

When Conrail repainted the cars they were, in most cases, updated to current standards. If not already removed the end ladders and roof walks were removed and older truck styles were updated to Barber-Bettendorf swing motion types. Sometimes windows were eliminated or sealed. Most non-PC cabooses were not renumbered in sequential order.

For specific modeling information see class pages.

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This page is maintained by Tom Wolfgang.
Last updated : November 10, 1999.

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