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Atlas Moderator

Posted - 2005 April 05 :  4:26:29 PM  Show Profile
Atlas Trainman Dedication
by Tom Haedrich, Chairman-Atlas’ Board of Directors

The evolution and development of the TRAINMAN™ lines date back 25 years. The founder of Atlas Tool Co. Inc., Steve Schaffan, (the genius who invented the machines which produced mass market model railroad track-snap track and switches, super flex track, etc.), was then developing two locomotives, one in HO and the other in N scale, with two different overseas manufacturers. The N scale locomotive, an Alco RS-3, was the first locomotive Atlas would produce with a company called Sekisui Kinzoku, better known as Kato. The other, an HO Alco S-2/4, was being built by Steve’s good friends, the Rossler’s of Austria, who’s company name is Roco Modellspielwaren.

As these two locomotives neared completion, just prior to production, Steve Schaffan suddenly died, leaving the future of these particular models, not to mention the future of Atlas, in question. At that time, his only child, Diane, and myself, (her husband), first became involved with Atlas. While I would like to claim some responsibility for the ensuing success of the company, the real credit goes to Diane, who is much like her father in many ways.

The most important decision she made, without hesitation, was to carry on her father’s legacy. Equally important was her commitment to produce the very best products available in model railroading. Continually striving to offer the highest quality track, freight cars and locomotives has been a hallmark of Atlas production standards for 60 years, and four generations of Schaffan family members.

The two locomotives referred to above were indeed produced, leading to a renaissance in model railroad locomotive building, not only for Atlas, but for other model railroad companies in the United States. The quality and popularity of these models led to many more releases, each raising the bar from the previous model. Atlas became recognized as the company that produced models with details and operation equal to, if not better than, brass locomotive makers, at lower prices.

It is important to recognize the many individuals who have worked, and are working still, in Atlas research and development over the past twenty plus years. It is only with their talent, knowledge and dedication that Atlas has been able to achieve the level of recognition we possess in both locomotive and freight car manufacturing.

Where’s the TRAINMAN™ story in all of this? Read on. The popularity of the locomotives eventually led to similarly successful HO and N freight car lines. The successful freight car lines allowed the establishment of Atlas O, a sister company dedicated to O gauge/scale track, freight cars and locomotives. Throughout, we’ve focused on producing and marketing to modelers who appreciate and support Atlas through buying some of the very best model railroad products available.

Over the past 20 years, maintaining such high production standards has become an expensive proposition, for both Atlas and consumers. During the last few years, an important question became…“What about all the other modelers out there who know the Atlas name, but can’t afford, or don’t want to spend their hard earned dollars on high end locomotives or rolling stock?” Equally important is the question that goes to the heart of continuing the healthy development of model railroading in the United States, “What about new individuals who want to enter into the hobby of model railroading, but can’t or don’t want to spend at typical high end prices?” These are the individuals the Atlas TRAINMAN™ lines have been developed for. Whether it’s N, HO, or O, the Atlas TRAINMAN™ lines represent Atlas’ attempt to more widely assure, “model railroading fun for everyone™”.

I hasten to add two critical points: First, Atlas will continue making the Master Series lines of N, HO and O locomotives and freight cars. Our commitment to creating “masterpieces” remains strong and will be a mainstay of our development efforts. Second, while there are some differences between the two lines, (i.e. more frequent use of molded-on versus separately applied details), Trainman models will retain the same standards of quality model building and prototypical realism as the Master Series.

It was Steve Schaffan’s lifelong goal to make quality, affordable track products for model railroaders. Steve was known for sharing his uncanny ability to simplify machine and tool making with fellow manufacturers throughout the world. It is with these thoughts in mind that we dedicate to his memory the newest Atlas lines of quality, affordable freight cars and locomotives in N, HO and O.

Thank you Mr. Schaffan, our very own “Trainman”, for leading the way.
Atlas Moderator

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