More gondola builds

Gondolas loaded with coal from the Virginia and Pittsburgh Coal and Coke Company’s Morgan Mine No. 2 tipple near Rivesville, W. Va., on December 30, 1926. From the Monongahela Railway Company Photograph Collection, 1903-1993 on the University of Pittsburgh Historic Pittsburgh site.

The previous blog post on gondola kit builds featured HO scale Pennsylvania Railroad GRa class cars. That was the main focus of the group kit build project, but the door was wide open for our Pre-Depression Era railroad modeler group to build a gondola kit they had at hand. A few more models came off the workbench!

Mike Quinn models an Erie Railroad branch serving Newburgh, New York in the late 1920s. The Zenith Model Works 3D printed Pressed Steel Car Company HO scale gondola caught his eye. The Erie had similar cars that had slightly different ends. He bought a few and modified a couple to follow the Erie prototypes.

Mike carefully carved and scraped the vertical supports from the car ends. Then he added styrene T-shaped strip as the horizontal braces. The two cars on the right in the photo above are modified for the Erie. The car on the left will be painted and decaled for Pittsburgh & Lake Erie. Mike may install cut levers prior to the paint booth. He will be adding air hoses after they are painted.

René LaVoise built two more HO scale gondolas after he finished his Pennsy GRa that was featured in the last blog post. A Baltimore & Ohio O-27 mill gondola was built from a Westerfield Models kit. The one piece car body casting makes this a straightforward build. The USRA assigned 500 of these gondolas to the B&O. They liked the design and added 5,998 mill gons following the design from 1922 to 1925.

René followed that with an HO scale Tennessee Central composite gondola. The prototype is similar to the USRA design but the car ends are different and these may have had solid floors. René started with an Intermountain Railway Company USRA composite gondola and applied a special decal set that was offered as a tribute to prototype modeler Bill Welch. A pair of TC decals for a gondola and hopper are offered by Ken Soroos via the Resin Car Works site. The decal sets are available as of this blog post date.

About the same time I began the Westerfield GRa gondola kit, I started on an ancient Funaro & Camerlengo Baltimore & Ohio O-15 gondola kit. These have not been produced for a couple of decades. The parts were cast in a brittle yellow resin. While removing flash from one side, I immediately broke the casting in three places. You can see the clean breaks in the photo above. I knew this was not going to proceed like any other resin kit I’ve completed.

I carefully worked through the rest of the assembly without issues. The minimal instructions were of little use. I installed Yarmouth Model Works sill steps, Tahoe Model Works AC&F arch bar trucks, Tichy KC brake parts, and Accurail scale size couplers. Styrene channel was cut for the individual stake brackets.

The prototypes came onto the B&O fleet in 1905. The drop ends made them useful in the mill trade. The 1926 ORER lists 547 in service. They weren’t a large proportion of the B&O gondola fleet, but these are one of only two kits for pre-1930 built B&O gondola prototypes.

I also purchased a Zenith Model Works PSC steel gondola that will wear Pittsburgh, McKeesport & Youghiogheny lettering. They still had two in service in 1926. Wire grabs, wire brake rod, brake staff, couplers, and trucks are the only parts to install. The double sill steps were extra parts in Accurail 36-foot box car kits. All other details were 3D printed on the car body.

Here’s a tip to impress your friends and family. Youghiogheny is pronounced YOCK-eh-gay-knee. It’s a great river with headwaters in western Maryland that flows into the Monongahela (mo-non-ga-HEEL-a) River at McKeesport.

Lastly, a Pennsylvania Railroad G22a class mill gondola rolled out of my shops. This Westerfield Models kit fell together quickly and produces a fine model of a great prototype. I have a couple more in the stash to build. This is another model that was featured on the PRR Projects Group on many years ago. Their archives are great resources for many projects.

All of my models still need attention from the paint crew. A spring task looms to reassemble the paint booth and find a spot for it in the basement.

Many thanks to René LaVoise and Mike Quinn for sharing their project photos and notes. We hope these gondola model builds inspire you to open a kit box and start building one! – Eric Hansmann

Thank you for visiting my blog. You can share a comment in the section below. Follow the instructions so your comment can be posted. All comments are reviewed and approved before they appear. Please share the blog link with other model railroaders. To subscribe to this blog, add your email address to the function at the bottom of the right column on the main page.

4 thoughts on “More gondola builds”

  1. Here’s a hint: Locals talk about the Yock and Mon rivers. Rafting on the Yock is very popular.

    Nice builds, all around!

    1. Thanks for your comment, David! Indeed, the Mon and Yock local references are very popular. I receive many questions on the full pronunciation of each river that I thought I’d add it here. And yes, whitewater rafting on the Yock is very popular. I’ve been down the stretch below Ohiopyle many times. – Eric H.

  2. Interesting article Eric. I think it is very cool to see different types and sizes of gondolas in a string of cars. The open load, each with a unique look, makes for an interesting scene. The different ends and other details are difficult to model with a moulded plastic car.

    1. Thank you, Jim! Gondolas were used to haul aggregate material (rock, sand, coal) and more. They are the pick-up trucks on the rails. – Eric H.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.