Actual built-up car kit shown with Kadee #58 couplers and Bethlehem Car Works Grasse River trucks, not included. Weathering by Ralph Heiss.
See more photos at the bottom of the page!
Before the advent of the self-clearing hopper car (and
even well afterward), loose bulk loads like coal, crushed limestone and
aggregate were moved in gondolas like this. Besides bulk freight, many loads
that would have traveled in boxcars in the 20th century were carried on flatcars
or in gondolas in the 19th. Lumber, machinery, pipe, wagons, crated goods and
many others loads that only needed minimal weather protection moved in or on
open cars. Gondolas were among the most versatile type of cars in the 19th
This car design comes from a technical drawing in the book The American Railroad Freight Car by John H. White Jr. The model represents the car as drawn, and could have been seen anywhere in the Midwest or farther from the late 1870's into the 1900's. Itís capacity was around 10 to 15 tons when built, though very similar cars were carrying up to 20-25 tons by the late 1880ís.
While the MK&T was the specific prototype for this car, a great number of railroads throughout the country maintained fleets of similar gondolas, and this model can easily represent many of them. It was chosen for modeling because it is a very generic design, representing many similar cars built from the mid to late 1870ís through the 1880ís. Many would have lasted well past 1900.
The early period layout needs many cars like this to capture the correct look and feel of the era!
∑ This model kit includes space for a steel weight hidden under the floor to help give the car some heft, and keep it on the tracks when in motion. The weight fits into a pocket under the car, and is held in place by a cover that includes the needle beams and frame stringers.
∑ The floor is mounted to the frame separately to allow the builder to drill out the truck and coupler mounting screw holes without fear of piercing the car floor, and also to allow painting it separately if desired.
∑ Several additional details are provided, including a vertical brake wheel and stand, turnbuckles, and brass wire for truss rods, all from Tichy Train Group.
∑ The stake sides included are cast to be taller than the as-built version, so the car can represent a somewhat later version with higher carrying capacity. The extra board can be easily cut off with a hobby knife to represent the as-built 1879 version.
∑ Skill level Ė This model should be easily built by someone with moderate resin kit building skills, and present a slight challenge to the novice.
Trucks and couplers are NOT included.
Here are some photos of the pattern of the actual model before being sent off to the casters:
And of the actual resin parts and details that will be included in your kit:
The car built-up and ready for paint:
And some more pictures of the completed and painted model:
Last update: September 11, 2009