Athearn introduced their N scale line in 2002. Irv Athearn, the founder, was inducted into the 'O' Scale Hall of Fame in 2002 in Chicago. In 2003 Athearn released their first locomotive equipped with sounds. Athearn was bought in 2004 by Horizon Hobby Inc. who became the exclusive distributor of the Athearn products. Athearn was then moved from its 58,000 foot manufacturing facility in Compton to a new facility in Carson, California. Around this time, Athearn had 50 employees and was making more than 2,000 model railroad products. Under Horizon, Athearn then purchased Model Die Casting of Carson City, NV and their line of Roundhouse brand trains, launched 1:50-scale precision die-cast products, and created the 4-6-6-4 Challenger with sound as well as other exciting new models, including a Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 (released 2006). In 2006, Horizon purchased McHenry Couplers.The Train Collectors Association.