The Van Sweringen brothers, Oris Paxton Van Sweringen and Mantis James Van Sweringen, were Cleveland real estate promoters who bought out the NYC's interest in the Nickel Plate in 1916. They eventually controlled a large business empire, which included railroads such as the NKP, C&O, Erie, and Pere Marquette. Senior mechanical officers from these roads were brought together in an organisation known as the Advisory Mechanical Committee, charged with the task of developing standardised motive power and rollingstock for the Van Sweringen roads.
The NKP 2-8-4s were a product of the A.M.C., derived from the Erie
2-8-4s and the C&O 2-10-4s. One could describe them as either A.M.C. or Van Sweringen engines, I suppose, given their lineage. This also accounts for the term not being used in relation to other 2-8-4s, which were not derived from these designs
Life-Like have made an excellent choice of locomotive to model, since this basic design was used, with detail variations, by six railroads:
C&O PM W&LE NKP RF&P VGN
The rather beautiful L&N M-1s were also closely related to the AMC design engines.
Oris and Mantis Van Sweringen of Cleveland. Real estate tycoons who became the first, great practitioners of the leveraged buyout. At the height of their railroad empire they controlled the Nickel Plate, Chesapeake & Ohio, Erie, Wheeling & Lake Erie, Kansas City Southern, Chicago & Eastern Illinois, Denver & Rio Grande and the Missouri Pacific. 2 billion dollars in holdings purchased with about $500,000 cash. Done in by the depression.
| 2. Why are they (Life-Like) the only ones that seem to use this term?
They aren't the only ones. The term refers to specific Berkshires purchased by the Van Sweringen's for their railroads. Distinctive appearance.
But they and the other AHM/Rivarossi steam engines were a godsend to modelers when they came out in 1968 or so. The only other alternative was brass or buying Bowser or Mantua/Tyco and spending a fortune on Cal Scale and Kemtron castings. The designs are basically 35+ years old.
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Maybe as a Proto 1000 model, they coulda- since the 1225 is a different class with different physical features than either of the PM Berkshire classes for which they made tooling. We'd have loved for them to tool up an N-1 and paint it as 1223 and 1225, but the extra expense wasn't justified by the additional sales they could anticipate.
'course to make a P1K version as the Polar Express, they'd've had to license it. I'll bet that Lionel arranged exclusive rights to it.
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