Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Penn Central Caboose 23045

Greetings All,

A short entry this week on my purchase of used Bowser N5C Penn Central Caboose # 23045 from my local hobby shop. While browsing I was checking a display case and this caboose quickly caught my eye with it's jade green body, large lettering and porthole windows. It was an interesting looking caboose, one I don't have and after noting it was made by Bowser I thought it might actually be prototypical.

Turns out it actually appears to be prototypical. The N5C caboose was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad starting in 1942. With the NYC / PRR merger they served Penn Central and then Conrail.
                                                   Here is an interesting read on the N5C

A PRR N5C on display at Strasburg PA

From Essex County Rail History
1979/05     ETR obtains PC caboose 23045 [Now privately owned in West Windsor]

 Here is a prototype picture from 1979. 

Here is a prototype picture of  PC 23045 on display in 2012

Penn Central caboose 23045 with the large lettering and numbering. The bottom indicates the car is assigned to the Northern Region, Canada Division. The caboose is class N5C with a 3-42 build date according to the model. 

Here is my HO scale model on an upper west side curve near Reliable Machine Works. 
The car has received a few coats of Lusterless Flat, window "glass", metal wheels and adjusted couplers.
Yellow stirrups have been added as the original steps were not attached to the used model.

I believe this is my one and only PC prototype caboose.
Note the distinctive PRR smoke jack.

The PC 23045 is on the rear of PC Train ML-9. The SP car was found and purchased during the same LHS sale. I remember seeing this car at the LHS on several occasions but it never caught my interest. Then after watching the Green Frog NYC and PC videos I saw numerous cars in this paint scheme on trains ML-9, ML-12 and other manifest freights. The narrator credited the SP with being a developer of the 86' Auto Parts Boxcars. So of course it immediately caught my interest when I saw it again.   


  1. For what it's worth, PRR re-equipped the N5Cs with roller bearing caboose trucks, and in the process it also replaced the side steps. Bowser makes a brass casting for these steps. as well as PC style markers. And of course, my own pet detail, ACI labels!

    1. Thanks for tips John! As for the ACI labels I have a project in the paint shop now that will be getting them.

  2. The distinctive N5s with their port hole windows are a personal favorite of mine. Alas I only own one as well but it see a lot of miles on my layout. Nice find John! I'm very pleased to see the well cared for prototype on display. I hadn't honed in o the SP cars shown in the Green Frog PC series. Funny how something like that catches your eye when you develop a particular interest in something. Nice job making your version of the ML-9 and 12 more faithful to the prototype!

    1. As reported the 23045 is my one and only accurate PC caboose. Like you the "port hole" look has become one of my favorites. One thing I noticed about these cabooses is the heavy structural steel in their centers. I'm thinking this was for the pushers that the PRR needed to use to get up and over the Alleghenies. Emery Gulash caught a lot of ML-9 and ML-12 traffic on both the NYC and PC videos which has given me some additional inspiration. It still amazes me how high those cars are and how long those trains were.