Re: bonsallscalecarshops D&RGW Gondolas

Mark Hemphill


The gons that Corey Bonsall produced these cool models of were almost completely out of the fleet by the early 1960s. Marshall Pass was never standard-gauged. I've not seen any photos of these gons, or any of the prewar-built D&RGW 50-ton or 70-ton gons on the Monarch Branch. It was standard-gauged in 1956. All photos I've seen of it post-standard gauge show the only cars in use are the 72000-73699 series, which were PSC 70-ton gons built in 1953.

D&RGW did send some coal east on the MoPac in the 1960s, but of course not in unit trains until the mid-1970s. I have photos of coal being interchanged to MoPac in Pueblo in the early to mid-1960s.  Interestingly, a lot of that coal in the 1960s that moved onto the MoPac was in MoPac, Southern, and C&EI hoppers, not D&RGW cars. 

D&RGW used its GS gons indiscriminately in coal, iron ore, lead and zinc ore concentrates, limestone, dolomite, sugar beet, pig iron, scrap iron and steel, round wood, and railroad tie service, plus anything else that was convenient for a gon including lumber, pipe, railroad wheels, grey iron castings, etc.

There was also a small but steady movement of coking coal moving to CF&I at Minnequa (Pueblo), Colorado, and USS at Ironton and Geneva, Utah (both near Provo), in MoPac hoppers, from the 1940s until 1983. This was coking coal mined in eastern and southeastern Oklahoma that was blended with the poor-quality coking coals mined in Colorado and Utah to improve the quality of coke made at the byproduct ovens at CF&I and US Steel. Most of this coal came from Coal, Haskell, and Le Flore Counties. Bokoshe, Oklahoma, was a notable source for coking coal for Geneva and Minnequa.

Mark Hemphill 

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