Return to Unusual Items & Production Prototypes

Description 131 - 506 Transition Prototype
Category Prototype

The photos below are believed to be of a prototype of the 506 caboose, which was introduced in 1955, when Gilbert resumed HO production after the Korean War hiatus..  It was obtained from the collection of James A. Magistro, a former Gilbert employee who was employed as a repair technician in the New Haven plant.  It bears numerous similarities to the 131, the caboose that was offered in the immediate postwar period from 1946 to 1950.
1.  Like the 131, the word "READING" is in sans serif font rather than serif font used on production 506 cabooses.

2.  In addition, the marking "NM H BLT 6-31" is larger than on the production 506 caboose and much like the lettering on the 131, including the approximate half size letter "H".

3.  The numbering "506" also appears to be in serif font rather than in sans-serif used on production 506 models.  It is hard to tell, but looking at the top horizontal line of the "5" there seems to be a small serif at the right side.

4.  The frame and body assembly also is much like the 131, which had truck mounted couplers, in that there is no coupler pocket on the body as is found on the production 506, which has body mounted couplers.   Although this model has only one truck, it is sprung without a coupler mounting arm.   Also, the second bolster is not threaded for a truck mounting screw.

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 131-506 transition photo 1

Seaboard Box Car-Black Highlights
Seaboard Box Car-Black Herald
Angle shot of caboose
From the Collection of James A. Magistro - All Photos by Dom San Giovanni
131 Production Model
131 - Production Model - Photo by Daryl Olszeski
506 Reading Version Production Model
506 - Reading Version Production Model - Photo by Daryl Olszeski