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!

Hopper or Gondola, is there a difference?/My First Kitbash.

5539 views
133 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,628 posts
Hopper or Gondola, is there a difference?/My First Kitbash.
Posted by NWP SWP on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 2:57 PM

I've been reading on the types of newer cars used in the transport of coal over the railroad. I seems the term "Hopper" has been replaced with "Gondola" is this an actual change in car construction or merely a change in terminology?

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 4,033 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 3:02 PM

Trinity calls their rotary coal cars gondolas and the bottom discharge cars hoppers.

https://www.trinityrail.com/productcategories.aspx?sid=26

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: SE Minnesota
  • 6,774 posts
Posted by jrbernier on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 3:14 PM

  Hopper cars have bottom discharge gates.  Gondolas do not have discharge gates.  Most are rotary dumped...

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Potomac Yard
  • 1,921 posts
Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 3:47 PM

There's a distinction between a self-clearing car and a non-self-clearing car (although I've never been clear on how drop bottom gons do that make them not hoppers). 

  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 5,765 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 4:53 PM

Because drop bottom gons don't have "hoppers":

 

"a container for a bulk material such as grain, rock, or trash, typically one that tapers downward and is able to discharge its contents at the bottom."

 

Gons have flat floors.  Or they DID, back when they had the bottom doors.  Hence they had no hoppers.

As is obvious, you can use drop bottom gons to carry bulk loads, or linear items like pipe and rail.  Which true hopper cars don't do well at all.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 9,620 posts
Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 5:01 PM

The essence of the hopper car is the hopper itself  - a container with a taper to the bottom.  The taper is what helps the loading from the bottom, more so than would just a hole in the bottom for example.

Some gondolas have bottoms that open but they are doors that simply dump the load, and no taper.  I have to assume that the mere fact that doors on a gondola bottom swing open does not necessarily mean that the load falls out unaided.  More to the point it is not a directed or aimed unloading to a point or points as a hopper would offer.  that may be a key definitional difference.

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Western, MA
  • 7,813 posts
Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 5:02 PM

 

Pretty simple. Just Google the names. You will find plenty of images, and descriptions.

 

Rich

N

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,628 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 10:11 PM

So it's basically a difference in the bottom of the container.

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 5,765 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 10:59 PM

If a car has hoppers, it's a hopper car.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: Northern Virginia
  • 6,046 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 6:04 AM

jrbernier

  Hopper cars have bottom discharge gates.  Gondolas do not have discharge gates.  Most are rotary dumped... 

Au contraire.  The D&RGW had thousands of drop bottom gondolas.  I just purchased some RTR versions in HO from Intermountain - they are defnitely gondolas and have discharge gates on the bottom.

When you see these drop bottom gon's in trains, they sit significantly higher than standard gondolas to allow for room for the discharge gates to open below the cars.  Here is a photo of an SP beet drop bottom gon.

 I'm going to have to go with the tapered bottom characteriestic differentiating the hopper from the gondola.

Of course the D&RGW hauled lots of coal and other materials in both gondolas and hoppers.  Prior to the 1950's, most of the D&RGW cars used for coal were drop bottom gondolas.  When unit trains began to be popular in the 1960's, there was a large production of hi-side gondolas used to haul coal and they were rotary dumped.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Never tangle with a troll.  They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,628 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 2:31 PM

I'd call that a Hopper-Gondola, wouldn't you?

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 9,309 posts
Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 3:16 PM

Its called a hopper bottom gondola.  In the era I model (1900-1905) it was the most common kind of coal car.  By 1920 it was surpassed by the hopper car.

Its a gondola because it has a flat floor where the hoppers aren't .  A hopper is "self clearing ", all the interior surfaces are sloped.  A drop bottom gon is a gon  because the area in the center over the underframe and any portions of the bottom that don't drop are a flat floor. 

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: Northern Virginia
  • 6,046 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 4:50 PM

Or surpassed on the D&RGW by the drop bottom gondola in their case.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Never tangle with a troll.  They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 5,765 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 5:12 PM

Neither the KCS nor the DRGW cars are fully self-clearing.

An advantage of the KCS car is that it dumps in the same outline as a regular hopper.  So it should work well where there's a receiver between the rails.  The DRGW doesn't do that well, at all.

An advantage of the DRGW is that, when the doors are closed, the floor is fully flat.  The KCS car looks like the majority of the "floor" isn't there.  Not too supportive for a load.  And, if the receiving industry is set up for outside-the-rails dumping, it (DRGW) unloads nicely.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 4,033 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 5:17 PM

Model railroader and Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, said about the hopper gondola controversy, 'I know it when I see it'. ......no ...wait....maybe that was something about movies?

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,628 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 5:34 PM

Now if someone wanted to model this.

How would one go about modeling it?

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 9,309 posts
Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 6:40 PM

Styrene or 3 D printing to scratchbuild, or find a rotary dump coal car with similar design and kitbash it.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,628 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 6:53 PM

What about cutting two of these and splicing?

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 1,093 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 7:36 PM

Are you talking about kitbashing that?

What were you going to make from it?

Also, Hoppers are more W shaped, while gondolas sit lower and have more of a rectangle shape to them.

  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 5,765 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 8:09 PM

NWP SWP

What about cutting two of these and splicing?

 

 

Sure.  It looks promising.  There are obvious similarities.

How accurate will the model be?  How much work will it take to make it accurate enough for your tastes?

I am impressed with the KCS prototype.  It would be a grand model to run!

 

Ed

 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 3,021 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 8:47 PM

NWP SWP
What about cutting two of these and splicing?

.

That sounds like an A+ great idea.

.

How about buildng it and posting pictures in Weekend Photo Fun so we can all share in the excitement?

.

-Kevin

.

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

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,628 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 9:44 PM

I'm going to detail it a about as well as a Athearn RTR version of a Thrall Coal Gondola, and the biggest consession would be using friction bearing trucks, unless I go brass, if I can find them cheap enough. Another thing I might not do is have it lettered for KCS, maybe Rio Grande or SP.

I found 10 Roundhouse Thrall Coal Gons for 55 bucks, I might bid on them, I don't know if I will go for exact replication of the KCS prototype as far as the stall spacing and count and such.

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

Moderator
  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 14,316 posts
Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 28, 2018 7:24 AM

NWP SWP
I'm going to detail it a about as well as a Athearn RTR version of a Thrall Coal Gondola, and the biggest consession would be using friction bearing trucks, unless I go brass, if I can find them cheap enough.

If you are going to go with metal replacement trucks, Steven, I would just use Kadees.  I've found brass trucks to be very tempermental because they can bend and distort easily.

At least that's the case on a few used brass cabooses that I purchased in the past.  When I initially placed them on the track, they kept derailing.  I soon discovered that the truck frame that attaches to the bolster was not flat but bent.  I had to use some flat pliers to straighten them out; not difficult to do since the brass is thin and fairly pliable.

Kadee friction bearing trucks, IMO, would be more reliable, more readily available, and less expensive than brass ones.  FWIW...

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: Northern Virginia
  • 6,046 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:37 AM

Why not used the roller bearing trucks that come with the HO Thrall gondola model.  Since the prototypes were produced in the mid-1960's and afterward, I doubt they would have had friction bearing style trucks.

 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Never tangle with a troll.  They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 3,021 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:51 AM

riogrande5761
We can all give advise till we turn blue but is any of it being acted on in real life?

.

I have not seen any pictures of previous projects, but they were all way too ambitious that were mentioned before.

.

I have real hopes for this one. It is a good project for an early attempt, and I am looking forward to the pictures. I am also looking forward to answering questions that will arise, and seeing the final result.

.

Steven looks like he is on the "right track" with this idea.

.

-Kevin

.

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

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,628 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:58 AM

I gotta find special trucks because the prototype rides of three axle buckeye roller bearing trucks.

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

Moderator
  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 14,316 posts
Posted by tstage on Thursday, June 28, 2018 9:07 AM

NWP SWP

I gotta find special trucks because the prototype rides of three axle buckeye roller bearing trucks.

From earlier "projects" I thought you stated that you weren't so concerned about accuracy.  Why not just start the project and let the prototype trucks be icing on the cake?  Until you enter it into a prototype kitbash contest, few folks are going to notice (or even care) they are "incorrect".

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: Northern Virginia
  • 6,046 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 10:03 AM

NWP SWP

I gotta find special trucks because the prototype rides of three axle buckeye roller bearing trucks.

In the photo of those exotic long hi-side gondola's (leave you to find something exotic to focus on), the left car has 2-axle trucks and appears to be a similar car.

In the end I have to ask, why not just buy freight cars which were more common and save yourself and us a lot of drama?

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Never tangle with a troll.  They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,628 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Thursday, June 28, 2018 1:50 PM

I gotta cash my paycheck, and I'll order the stuff I need, so far I need two Roundhouse Coal Gondolas, I need a sheet of black styrene sheet, a Zona razor saw, and I tried finding black squadron putty but couldn't so I'm going to get gray. It'll probably be tomorrow afternoon when I order it all, I'm going to get my toolbag to work on the pool pumps at the hotel's right now. It a long story of why both pumps are broken and you probably won't believe me. I'll be sure to post pictures of the progress on the car project.

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 3,021 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, June 28, 2018 2:01 PM

NWP SWP
I'll be sure to post pictures of the progress on the car project.

.

I will be looking for the pictures in Weekend Photo Fun. You have comitted to posting update pictures before and always fell short.

.

As I said, I do believe this is the perfect project for you to finally "just do it", and I have faith that you can deliver this time.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible 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!

Users Online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!