Re: Train Miniature Hart Gondola

John C. La Rue, Jr. <MOFWCABOOSE@...>

One reason for its popularity the first decades of the twentieth century was that it was promoted as being usable for general freight as well as ballast. Ballast in the summer - coal, coke, sugar beets, or what have you during the fall and winter "rushes". This was why the cars were usually found in the ORER in the revenue car list, though often still called "ballast" cars.

Rodger Ballast Car Company patented the center-unloading feature in 1888, and Rodger, in fact, did not manufacture the cars themselves. They took orders, designed the cars, and had them made by established car builders. There was a wide variety of these cars made, especially after improvements patented by E. S. Hart (best known as an electrical engineer) were added. It was then that the cars were marketed as the "Rodger - Hart convertible gondola".

Contrary to the statement by Mid-continental, some versions of the car could dump both center and sides simultaneously. When unloading to the side, the center doors could be "peaked" upwards so that when the side doors were unlatched the ballast simply fell out...most of it, anyway, because there was about a three-plank wide flat ledge along each side. Alternatively, the doors could be laid flat and the ends removed so that the cars could be unloaded by pulling a plow through them, preferably with a Lidgerwood unloader.

Rodger also offered a "double plow distributing car", simply a flat car with a pair of plows under it that were raised and lowered with hand wheels. Red Ball sold a kit for a model of this car for many years. Coupled behind a string of the Trains-Miniature cars, it would make a nice, if somewhat crude (by today's standards) model of an early ballast train.

John C. La Rue, Jr.
Bonita Springs, FL

-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Harman <gsgondola@...>
Sent: Sun, Oct 28, 2012 2:14 am
Subject: [STMFC] Train Miniature Hart Gondola

I picked up one of these at a show last weekend. It was real cheap and I
had never seen anything like it before - and I've pretty much seen about
every plastic freight car. It had no markings indicating the
manufacturer. Painted green with N&W lettering - the half moon logo which
seemed too new for the car. The previous owner heavily weathered it (not
near as bad as the one in the above ebay auction). I figured it was some
AHM car I had never heard of... but later at the same show I found one new
in the box - Train Miniature and the box tab said it was a Hart
gondola. Oddly enough back in the 70s I thought I had bought one of
everything.... but never saw this car before.

I don't think Walthers has ever re-issued it, but maybe it just flew below
my radar. It's a pretty crude model, but it's an unusual car and I'm
wondering how accurate it is and who may have had them and what they were
used for. Maybe add another drop-bottom gondola to my future display shelf
which will just include cool gondolas regardless of era, or even scale (I
still have an unbuilt PBL Sn3 drop bottom). Right now it's going to the
wife's layout since she's the one who found it... if I decide to do a
serious build on one and can find good data, I'll seek out an unbuilt
original kit to start from.


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