Those Pesky Offset Twin hoppers


Bill Welch
 

I was struck by how frustrated I was in my comments about the Kadee
offset twin and I hope I did not offend anyone by my initial email on
this subject. I went back to some notes I had made to myself about
it's potential for me in what I want to model. This helped me
remember the various details of the major groups of car "looks" which
in turn reminded me of why this offering is so frustrating to me. I
also looked back at all of Ed Hawkins' very authoritative series of
articles in the RP CYC to remind me of the various differences and
major owner railroads. In Part I he notes that there were "more than
127,000 33-foot interior length 2-bay offset twins were built." This
number includes the AAR Standard, the AAR Alternate Standard, and the
nonstandard cars.

So far, Kadee has done cars for 13 railroads, representing 16,926
cars or 13.32% of the cars built from 1934 through 1960. The B&O
owned 21,300 cars that pretty well match, if not exactly match the
Kadee model. One issue is that 14,000 of the B&O cars had the Duryea
underframe. While I can understand Kadee not creating the tooling for
a system used by only one railroad, I find it quite strange that they
have not done a model representing one of the 7,300 B&O cars without
the Duryea! While it is nice to have a model of a NYC car, their
1,000 cars seem like a small number of cars when compared to the
numbers owned by the B&O. (My authority for this is Kadee's website
that shows examples of the cars they have done, whether they are
currently available, or sold out. I saw no B&O cars listed).

So okay they are only doing one basic car body, especially as related
to the bottom of the side of the car. But they have failed to do the
cars with the heap shields. Several railroads had cars with this
configuration in small and large numbers. The L&N had only 7,200 cars
with angled heap shields and only 8,800 cars with the notched angular
heap shields. I have not calculated how many L&N cars matched the
Kadee car side but I know many did.

What really bugs me is that model companies do not see the
possibilities if they would adopt a modular approach to what they are
doing. By doing 3 sides and ends w/both straight tops and the
various heap shield designs, most of those 127,000 cars could be
modeled and almost all of the railroads in Ed's 2 and 3/4 page table
covering over 55 railroads could be done. I did not include the IC's
cars and their cousins. And many people do not want just 1-3 offset
twins.

While Kadee does beautiful models, and have added to the technology
and engineering of modeling in the way they have approached their
subjects, I would also argue that they have outsmarted themselves
with their approach to this particular car type and I think the shear
number of cars their model does not represent backs me up.

I hope that one of the manufacturers will wake up and see the
possibilities.

Bill Welch

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