At the recent Caulfield model railway exhibition I managed to find three Athearn 50′ Gondolas (undecorated) for $10.00 each. They came from Casula Hobbies‘ back room clear out pile. These kits may have sat there for a week or ten years; apart from the covered tops being missing they were complete.
My understanding is that these kits are completely freelance, designed by Irv Athearn to fit in the same box as the 40′ box car and use the frame from the 50’ flat car. This frame also causes a problem in the side of the Gondola should be straight if you use the drop frame.
For my purposes – I really don’t care. They were 10 bucks each, look interesting and will fit in nicely on the layout as end of life cars, specifically in use for scrap loading. Besides which as a mid to late 1970s layout, a riveted car with a worn wooden floor, full of rusty scrap will look really nice.
The interior of the car at the moment is the standard riveted plastic with horrible ejector pin marks (photos will be forthcoming). I do have some wood siding that I’ll use to replace it though.
For this model I’ll make the following changes:
- Kadee 70-ton Friction bearing trucks with 33″ wheels
- Metal grabs, stirrups, coupler release lever
- Extra weight
- Kadee #58 couplers
The paint scheme: boxcar red with HVL markings. These cars are considered to at the end of their usable life, and as home road cars.