SPECIAL GONDOLA TYPES
Gondolas were often modified for special types of service. This page discusses those available in N-scale.
CEMENT CONTAINER GONDOLAS
ATLAS and MICRO-TRAINS
Nearly every railroad owned a small fleet of gondolas modified to carry containers to haul a wide variety of products. Such gondolas were given the AAR designation of type LG. One type of container was a cylindrical “bottle” used to haul powdered cement. Developed in the 30’s, they were owned by the LCL Corporation and unloaded by compressed air. They were painted a reddish brown similar to Tuscan red and, like freight cars, carried road numbers and dimensional data. In most photos, they were also “weathered” with a liberal amount of cement. Four railroads operated cement containers: New York Central, Delaware, Lackawanna and Western, Lehigh Valley and Delaware & Hudson.
Both Atlas and Micro-Trains offer gondolas with a load of cement containers. Atlas simply includes the load with their 40’ gondolas, while Micro-Trains made the effort to model an actual cement gondola. The chart below is a complete list of cement gondolas; it includes details such as inside length, body type and number of containers. While some series resemble available N-scale models, all had holes cut into the sides to facilitate connection of air hoses for unloading.
DELAWARE & HUDSON- Both of the D&H cement car series were 46’ 12-panel straight side gondolas similar to the Lima/Model Power car.
DELAWARE, LACKAWANNA & WESTERN- The Lackawanna used three types of gondolas, none of which resemble any N-scale models. However, adding cement containers to Micro-Trains 48070 could be a quickie stand-in.
LEHIGH VALLEY- The LV built cement gondolas from three different series of 50’ 14-panel straight side gondolas, two of which closely resemble the Micro-Trains 48000 model (Hint, hint).
NEW YORK CENTRAL- The Central’s three series of cement gondolas were made from 46’ USRA gondolas. As you can see from the photo above, a Con-Cor gondola with the fish belly removed comes close. The model was lettered with Tichy Train decals for New York Central USRA gondolas. With only one extra panel, four extra feet of length and slightly higher sides, Micro-Trains 10500721 makes a decent stand-in. It represents the original 1937 series which was painted black. The final series of 100 cars, built in 1946, was painted brown and carried only five containers (Hint, hint again).
G36C COVERED GONDOLA
MINITRIX and POSTAGE STAMP TRAINS
In the late fifties, the Pennsylvania Railroad began supplementing their aging gondola fleet with the G36 class. Having an inside length of 52’6”, these all-welded cars featured 12-panel sides with a shallow fish belly. Several subclasses were constructed totaling about 6,000 cars. An additional 564 class G36c covered gondolas were constructed; which featured extended sides that gave the car a capacity of 2,597 cubic feet. The initial series, numbered 385072-385321 was delivered in 1959 and were painted in the shaded keystone scheme. Two subsequent groups built in the early sixties were painted in the simplified keystone scheme. Additional cars were constructed prior to the Penn Central merger and designated class G36m.
Roco produced a model of this car which was sold by Minitrix and Postage Stamp Trains (Aurora). Sadly, like many early N-models it has been shortened by 2-1/2’ to fit on a standard fifty-foot underframe. Of the four road names offered, only Penn Central was appropriate for the model, and it did not have a road number. The chart below lists those roads that owned the G36c, as well as the road names offered. For those who like to tinker with their trains, cutting off the side extensions could give you a model of a G36 open gondola, however, there is no interior detail on the model. A cheesy Mexican version of this car also exists, which would be useful for such a project.
ATCHISON, TOPEKA & SANTA FE- Most , if not all, of Santa Fe’s covered gondolas had corrugated panels and had either 14-panel fishbelly sides or 11-panel straight sides.
CHICAGO, BURLINGTON & QUINCY- The Burlington had taller covered gondolas with similar capacity (2556 cubic feet), but they were built new and had 14-panels with straight sides.
WESTERN MARYLAND- I couldn’t find any evidence for the green color scheme, or cars of similar capacity. Since the model doesn’t even have a road number, your best bet would be to take off the roof and put it on a Micro-Trains 46110.