Review by Tony Cook
The Colorado Model Railroad Museum took delivery in early August 2020 of a special production HO-scale caboose model from Athearn. The fully assembled model uses one of the museum’s displays as it prototype. You’ll find this red Burlington Route caboose residing next to the amazing HO-scale Oregon, California & Eastern Railway model layout. The layout is 5,500 square feet of operating HO-scale model trains, though the caboose is life size (1:1 scale).
ABOVE: Here’s a view of the 5,500 square foot operating HO-scale model railroad with the museum’s red C&S caboose shown on left. — Colorado Model Railroad Museum
The caboose is a 1919 wood-side caboose with offset cupola. Visitors of the Colorado Model Railroad Museum can walk through this restored waycar while visiting the museum. The caboose is decorated in red with black roof and white railings and carries C&S reporting marks and road number 10583. The C&S or Colorado & Southern was a subsidiary of Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. The C&S system operated a north-south main line in Colorado that ran along the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The Colorado Model Railroad Museum is located north of Denver, at Greeley, which the C&S accessed via a branch from Fort Collins.
The model comes fully assembled and packaged in an Athearn Collectibles box. Special releases, such as this one for the Colorado Model Railroad Museum, come in Athearn’s unique “Collectibles” branded black and gray packaging. Like other Athearn models, the caboose is wrapped in clear film and securely nestled in a two-piece plastic inner tray. The model is based on a Model Die Casting/Roundhouse tooling for a 30-foot three-window caboose. Part of the Athearn Roundhouse line, this model comes with clear window material, body-mounted plastic McHenry knuckle couplers, and arch bar trucks with 33-inch metal wheels. Separate details include a smoke jack and running boards on the caboose’s roof, along with handrails on the car’s sides and ends. On the end porches, you’ll find railings, ladders, and brake wheels present (all presented in white). The detailed underframe includes many separate details, including truss rod wires.
The decoration includes a red finish with black roof matching the caboose on display at the museum, including identification information in the lower corners on the car sides showing the 1919 build date, 1974 retirement date, 2004 restoration date, and property of Greeley Freight Station Museum.
HO-scale Athearn Collectibles
Colorado & Southern 30-foot three-window caboose
Colorado Model Railroad Museum
680 10th Street
Greeley, CO 80631