Re: Those Pesky Offset Twin hoppers

Gatwood, Elden J SAD


Many of us share your frustration, and some of you have also had these same
conversations with manufacturers over the possibilities of offering modular
parts on more than box cars. Hoppers and gons are a good example of what can
be done, and was nicely executed on the Accurail 41' IL gon, albeit without
additional options (different ends, for example). This is an especially good
option on gondolas, which standardized on certain lengths, and then had sides
of different construction, as well as floors of steel, wood, or nailable
steel, and a variety of drop and fixed enmds, all of which can be swapped

It has been patiently explained to me that the realities of assembly costs
and engineering sometimes force manufactureres to go to more fool-proof
one-piece bodies with simple add-ons, rather than more complex multi-piece

A study of the variations on the standard and alternate standard offset leads
one to the conclusion that some compromises will have to be made to do either
car in a majority of those roads rostering them, unless a highly modular and
innovative alternative is developed. The variations in IL, interior shape,
rivet patterns, side sills, and especially height, are many, and probably the
reason one has not seen more variations in model form. Snapping all those
pieces together on a modular hopper slope sheet/hopper bottom assembly gives
one pause to see what could go wrong given a few dimensional errors or fumble

Here's hoping someone will take up that challenge...

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Bill
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2009 9:01 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Those Pesky Offset Twin hoppers

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

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Join to automatically receive all group messages.