Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Backdating a gondola car

1308 views
17 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 293 posts
Backdating a gondola car
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, March 09, 2017 10:31 PM

I needed a 65 foot gondola for a special load. My FLHS (Gulf Coast Model Railroading, Sarasota), had a walthers 65 foot undecorated car in stock, so I bought it.

.

The prototype is Thrall from the 1960's, but my railroad is set in August, 1954. I needed to backdate the car. So, I installed Westerfield Poling Pockets and Tack Boards, an older style Miner Brake Gear from Detail Associates, and older style stirrups from A-Line. I also added scratch built corner gussets.

.

To my eye, the car still looks too modern. Any other ideas on simple modifications to back date this beast?

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    July, 2007
  • From: Massachusetts
  • 178 posts
Posted by Bundy74 on Friday, March 10, 2017 8:27 AM

Have you done an online photo search?  I checked Steam Era Freight Cars, and while they don't show any 65 footers, maybe there's some inspiration here:

http://www.steamerafreightcars.com/gallery/gondolasmain.html

**EDIT.  The PRR G26 was built around 1930, so it should be a useful resource for you.

http://prr.railfan.net/freight/classpage.html?class=G26

Modeling whatever I can make out of that stash of kits that takes up half my apartment's spare bedroom.

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 1,600 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, March 10, 2017 8:38 AM

Deleted, never mind, I miss read the gondola part.  Laugh

Mike.

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 7,137 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, March 10, 2017 3:42 PM

I'm aware of that particular car, but not really familiar with it, so a picture of what you've done might help elicit more answers.
If you've not yet lettered the car, using prototypical lettering from your modelling era will help, as lettering schemes often changed over the years.  Some of those changes came from the owning road, but others were mandated by the AAR or other regulatory agencies.
If you plan to letter it for a freelance road, using an older style font, such as Railroad Roman, might help to set the car more firmly in your chosen era.

Wayne

  • Member since
    November, 2016
  • 137 posts
Posted by j. c. on Friday, March 10, 2017 7:00 PM

i know you already have the gon, but you might think about a 52 ft steam era flat with load centered on it and idler cars on each end or a 52 ft6in drop end gon with idlers.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 293 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, March 10, 2017 10:24 PM

OK... a little more information.

.

The Stratton and Gillette is of course a freelanced railroad. Every piece of equipment I own is freelanced and modeled to a point where it is "plausible" for August, 1954. The railroad is an undefendable cross of "anything goes freelancing", and "fanatical adherence to a date and place and real railroad practices".

-

So... having a 65 foot gondola in 1954 is OK with me, but it needs to look exactly like a 65 foot gondola would have looked in 1954, even though it did not exist. It is my problem, and I deal with it as best as I can.

.

Anyway, I can not post a picture right now. I will not have access to the model again for a couple of weeks. I will try to figure out picture posting then and update this thread.

.

Any other ideas are always appreciated. Thank you.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 7,137 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, March 11, 2017 12:53 AM

SeeYou190
So... having a 65 foot gondola in 1954 is OK with me, but it needs to look exactly like a 65 foot gondola would have looked in 1954, even though it did not exist. It is my problem, and I deal with it as best as I can.

Well, according to Bundy74's EDIT... 

Bundy74
**EDIT.  The PRR G26 was built around 1930, so it should be a useful resource for you.

....clicking on his first link and then on the subsequent link to Pennsylvania Railroad Gondolas, and the link there to Class G26 is evidence enough that a 65' freelanced car could easily have existed in August of 1954.  So the only task is still to make your car look like it belongs in 1954.

j. c.

i know you already have the gon, but you might think about a 52 ft steam era flat with load centered on it and idler cars on each end or a 52 ft6in drop end gon with idlers.

 

 
j.c.'s suggestion is another option...
 
 
...but since you've already got the longer car, I'd still go with trying to make it work.  Then you can follow-up with a shorter car with idlers.
 

Wayne

 

  • Member since
    November, 2016
  • 137 posts
Posted by j. c. on Saturday, March 11, 2017 5:31 AM

not finding a photo of the walthers car you have  i might ask are the trucks friction or roller bearing?

  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 8,901 posts
Posted by dknelson on Saturday, March 11, 2017 11:25 AM

I have the Walthers car (factory painted C&NW) and yes the paper information the car comes with says it is Thrall built of a type that entered service in the late 1060s.  The 19 ribs extend right down to the bottom of the sill (fish belly type bottom, rather than straight from end to end).  It has roller bearing trucks.

I am looking at a Train Shed Cyclopedia No 46 that reprints flatcar and gondola information from a 1931 Car Builder's Cyclopedia.  There were certainly many 65 foot long mill gons around in that era that would still have been going strong into the 1950s and beyond.  Typically such long gondolas were narrower than the 40 to 50 foot gondolas otherwise shown.  The Pennsy car G26 class photographed has side ribs but not all of them extend to the bottom of the side as does the Thrall.

Looking at the photos and drawings, there are gondolas painted Central Railroad of New Jersey, Bessemer & Lake Erie, Baltimore & Ohio, Lackawanna 65 foot mill gons somewhat resemble the Thrall in general outline altough the Thrall sides seem rather taller.  None of them exactly match the ribs in number or spacing but the visual effect is "sort of close."  

One big difference all of those older cars exhibit however, is that the sides and in particular the ribs are riveted, whereas the Thrall is welded.  If you are really determined to try to make the Thrall car look older than it is, you may want to explore those rivet decals which I have seen available (but no longer recall the source) and add the lines of rivets.  I think MicroMark sells them.

More drastic surgery on the Thrall would be to cut away a foot or so of the top because the cars in the "Cyc" all look a bit shorter than the Thrall.  That might be more than you are prepared to take on.

I suspect a real freight car expert and purist (assuming there is a difference!) would call it out as being a hybrid, which of course is exactly what it is, but at the very least you'd be coming as close as possible.

A Car Builder's Cyclopedia from closer to your chosen era might show other 65' cars that come even closer to the late 1960s welded Thrall.  But my hunch is that the Thrall sides are taller.  Cars built in the 1950s MIGHT have roller bearing trucks.  The gons shown in the 1931 "Cyc" reprint seem all to have solid bearing, so called friction bearing, trucks.

Dave Nelson 

  • Member since
    November, 2016
  • 137 posts
Posted by j. c. on Saturday, March 11, 2017 11:54 AM

Dave you are correct by the PRR drawings i can access long gons built in the 30/40's have 3'6" inside hight the ones built in the 60's have 5'6".

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 7,137 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, March 11, 2017 1:36 PM

Thanks to Dave and j.c. for providing more information about the model that Kevin's using and the various prototypes. 

Altering the car's ribs, or lowering its sides shouldn't be that difficult, but making the car narrower would be more involved.  I'm guessing that the real ones were narrower than usual in order to comply with the Plate B clearance standards of their time.
Adding rivet detail isn't too difficult either, and the're available, in several sizes, from Archer and Micro Mark.

The ones on the ends of this modified Train Miniature car are from Archer...

...while the ones on this scratchbuilt car are from Micro Mark...

I recall reading in the June 1995 issue of RMC that the Con-Cor (formerly Revell) 52'6" welded gondola could be made into a fairly accurate version of a Pennsy G31.  The modifications included slight changes to the top chord of the car's sides, re-worked ends, and re-shaping of the sidesills, all fairly easy to do.  
I recalled that my LHS had one of those cars on their "used" table, and immediately drove down there and bought it...for a buck!

Even though the real cars were built from 1948-51, mine sees service on my late '30s layout... 


Since the used cars showed up regularly and were invariably inexpensive, I accumulated another four of them, which got all of the modifications except those to the sidesills.  I gave them late 30's built dates and lettered them for my own road (a pioneer in freight car development Smile, Wink & Grin ).

Wayne

 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 293 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, March 18, 2017 5:18 AM

doctorwayne
Altering the car's ribs, or lowering its sides shouldn't be that difficult,

.

Lowering the sides is beyond the time I am willing to put into this project. I am going to alter the ribs. I think I will add strips to the side to make them look rolled and riveted instead of welded. That is a good idea.

.

I also need to order some of those rivet decals. Those look great, and I can see lots of uses for them in the future.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 293 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:01 PM

OK, first attempt at adding a picture to one of my posts...

.

.

As you can see, I added 0.010" by 0.040" strips to the side of the welded posts. I have ordered rivet decals from Micro Mark. As soon as they arrive I will add them to the strips.

.

You can see the older style brake wheel, grab irons,and poling pockets on the end.

.

I installed the tack boards before I put on the ribs, so they stop and start again at the tack boards. It will take a very sharp eyed picker of the nits to pick that out once it is painted.

.

In the picture it is sitting on BLI 70 ton AAR trucks I had in the scrap box. I will ordee Kadees for it before it goes on the layout. I think #566 will be the ones I want. The kit came with 100 ton roller bearing trucks. They would not do.

.

What do you think? Is it approaching 1954 plausiblity suitable for my world of nonsense?

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    August, 2011
  • From: New Zealand
  • 3,096 posts
Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:05 AM

SeeYou190
What do you think? Is it approaching 1954 plausiblity suitable for my world of nonsense?

Gidday Kevin, I’d need to be able, to not only blow up your photo but have to wear my spectacles as well, to see well enough to make a comment, and to make it worse, I’m no expert in 1950s gondolas.
 
However, I feel your mods are on the right track!
 
My fictitious railroad is also set in the mid-50s, and I when I start to agonise over a cars suitability, especially if there is little reference to them for that specific timeframe, I comfort myself by thinking that any rivet counter that had actually seen that car, and was of working age back then, would be in their 80s by now, and possibly not comment.
 
Keep up the good work.

Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 7,137 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:41 AM

I think that you're on the right track, Kevin, but I also think that the style of lettering you choose will help reinforce the look which you're seeking.

...I’d need to be able, to not only blow up your photo but have to wear my spectacles as well, to see well enough to make a comment....

Bear, clicking on Kevin's photo should yield a full-screen view, and that works for most pictures posted here.
I've found that clicking on my own photos simply takes me to the same version on the photobucket site, but there is an option there (a miniature magnifying glass....or maybe it's a frying pan Stick out tongue ) upon which a viewer can click to get a full-screen image.

Wayne

  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 8,901 posts
Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:49 PM

I wish I had a Car Builder's Cyclopedia from closer to your early 1950s era - the reprinted material from the 1931 Cyc is not entirely useful to opine on how close you are coming with this interesting conversion to a good prototype from the 50s, other than a car from 1931 was likely still running in the mid 1950s.  

However, in the 1931 Cyc I would say that so far, assuming you add the rows of rivet decals already discussed, you are coming pretty close to the photos of the Baltimore & Ohio 65 foot mill gon and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 65 foot mill gon.  The model sides are higher than the 3'6" sides of the B&O (no height is given for the Lackawanna car) and the B&O and Lackawanna gons had the brake wheel mounted facing sideways (i.e. the wheel is parallel to the car side)  presumably so the gon ends could be dropped down.  

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    February, 2015
  • 28 posts
Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 11:53 PM

   Athearn offers a 65 foot mill gondola in their Ready-To-Run line that is a plate B car with drop ends with an MSRP of $27.98.  This car replicates a prototype from the 1950's.  Be careful of the roadnames currently offered.  The only one accurate for your era would be the SP car.  Personally speaking backdating your car would be an exercise in futility because of the width of the car.  Most 65 footers of the era you model were narrower to enable them to negotiate the same curves as shorter 52 foot cars without knocking out obstructions close to the track when the  side on the inside of the curve made its dramatic swing away from the track centerline.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 293 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, March 30, 2017 11:25 PM

NHTX
Most 65 footers of the era you model were narrower to enable them to negotiate the same curves as shorter 52 foot cars without knocking out obstructions close to the track

.

Well, I guess that is a little detail I am just going to have to ignore!

.

Too far into this project to turn back now!

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of nonsense set in August, 1954.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook