Hart Ballast Cars

Jim Betz

The recent(sort of) releases of the Atlas Hart ballast gons have me asking
the following:

1) Isn't it true that cars of this type were, for the most part, in
captive/MOW service on their home roads? I have browsed my
books and have not found pictures of ballast cars that weren't
either singles or cuts of cars all from the home road and on the
home road.
If they were used in interchange service - would someone please
expand on what kind of service a side dumping car of this particular
type was used in ... and when that happened would they have been
mixed in with other cars from other roads in a typical mish-mash
fashion or would they have been in cuts of cars from the same road.
Yes, I'm aware of operations such as the building of a dam
where rock from some location would be moved to the dam site -
and that might involve more than one road ... but even then would
-ballast- cars be used for that type of service? Occasionally? Often?
I guess that what I'm asking is if side dump cars of this type were
regularly used in any service other than the ballast work they are so
obviously purpose-built for?

2) The dump door operating levers seem very large to me. I'm
thinking of attempting to shorten them. Has anyone done this
and if so what did you do? My idea was to cut them shorter
and then round off the end as a "handle" - this would allow
tapering the 'web' that goes around the end and making it
look some what acceptable. In my mind this would be better
than having them be so far oversize the way they are now.
Are they really oversize? They seem so to me based upon
all of the similar service car pictures I could find in a 45 minute
search of my books (I'm not certain I found a Hart car in that

3) Have you tried to build a custom load in one? I did and as soon
as I put any white glue in it started running out thru the doors.
DOH on me. How did you solve this problem? I'm thinking of
putting some cut up paper towel in the bottom and adding enough
white glue to attach it to the inside of the car - thus forming a 'dam'.
If I do this would the white glue I use later to do the load 'dissolve'
the glue holding the towel and start leaking? I usually use white
glue thinned 50% with water and a drop of detergent for doing
custom loads.

4) The cars I have all have 'load level' markings labelled "gravel
load limit" (sic). I'm assuming that RR ballast would be loaded
to that level. Correct?

5) The pics I found have a lot of light colored weathering on the
bottoms third of them. Obviously they kicked up a lot of dust
when being dumped/loaded and if there was any moisture on
side of the car the dust stuck and built up. One of the few car
types with significant amounts of light colored weathering!
(Grain/flour and cement service being the others that I know.)

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