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The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) called itself "The Standard Railroad of the World." Its vast operations made it not only America's wealthiest railroad, but the Nation's largest and most powerful transportation company as well. Its rails literally blanketed the mid-Atlantic region from New York to Washington, D.C., and from Philadelphia to Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Buffalo. Its freight network was one of the most dense in the world.


The PRR had a long tradition of designing its own distinctive "Cabin Cars"... as "P" Company men referred to their cabooses... much the same way the railroad designed and built its own locomotives. Many Pennsy cabin cars were built at its sprawling shops in Altoona, PA, or nearby Hollidaysburg. The Pennsylvania's first mass-produced steel cabin car was the "N5", a type first built in 1914 (later models would be identified with a letter suffix). The basic structure of the N5 of 1914 remained essentially unchanged over the years until 1942.


PRR's most distinctive caboose design was the N5c, and it is this type of Pennsy caboose that is now part of the Museum's collection. This style of cabin was similar to its N5 cousin, but it incorporated streamlined elements that had become popular during the Great Depression.




When the N5c was first introduced in 1942, streamlining was in vogue. The N5c was designed to blend esthetically with the PRR's famous streamlined T1 Duplex steam locomotives. The N5c cabin cars featured pairs of portholes in place of conventional rectangular windows... additional portholes were found on the car ends as well. The cupola had a sleek, aerodynamic profile that enhanced the streamstyled effect.


In 1953, toy train manufacturer Lionel Trains gave the Pennsy's unique caboose the ultimate compliment by manufacturing it in model form. For Christmas 1953, Lionel introduced its No. 6417 caboose in a close-to-full quarter-inch scale reproduction of the N5c, complete with portholes, streamlined cupola and a realistic paint scheme. That popular Lionel model has been in production ever since... a testament to the PRR cabin car's enduring popularity.


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Whippany Railway Museum
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Whippany, NJ 07981-0016
(973) 887-8177

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