“Prototypes” for the Athearn 50' Gondola


While not exact, these are close enough to look correct when modeled.




The Athearn 50' Gondola. Almost every HO scale model railroad hos one of these in some form. Only problem is, there does not seem to be any accuracy in any of the paint schemes. This article is intended to show some cars that can be modeled semi-accurately.



I say semi-accurately for one reason. Without major reconstruction (which will be demonstrated in a later article), these cars look the part when modeled with Athearn's gondola. First we must look at the spotting features of the Athearn car. It is a 14 panel, riveted construction, “fish belly” sides, with dreadnaught ends.



On a side note, the Proto 2000 drop end mill gondola is of riveted construction, with 15 panels, and fishbelly side sill. This car can also be used for modeling the prototypes shown below, to some extent better then the Athearn car.



Our first prototype, ACL #98498 features much wider ribs, and 15 panels:





Burlington, and later, Burlington Northern had some 15 panel gondolas that featured riveted side, getting closer to the Athearn prototype:











Baltimore & Ohio also has a similar 50', 15 panel gondola:





Birmingham Southern has a fleet of these 50', 15 panel, riveted side gondolas:







Chesapeake & Ohio gives us a 14 panel, riveted side care, though the end panels are spaced slightly different from the Athearn model. They would make a good use for the Athearn Gondola with hoods.










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