OPERATING HOPPER CARS

TWO BAY MODIFIED ATHEARN

 I am willing to sell all the dies for making these hopper cars. After building up about 100 cars for my own use, I don’t think any more are needed. I can also make you these cars from the list at the bottom of this page.


Operation of the car

   Quick’s Coal receives a “live” load of coal.

BNSF Way Freight is going to spot this coal hopper over the coal bunker. The device that opens the car doors is seen at the rails between the shed and Quick’s Coal.

   

Spotting the car 
The car is now stopped and left in its proper position for unloading. It can either be left there or remain coupled to the train for immediate unloading. The exact car position can be within a 1/4 inch either side of center.
   Releasing the coal 

The unloader toggle switch is flipped down and the motor driven unloader holds the car still while the car doors are opened.

   

 Sweeping out the coal is one way.
 While the doors are open, you can sweep out the coal or blow it out with a soda straw. A previous system I used was copper tubes bent over like lamp post and compressed air blasted out the coal.
   

 Pulling out the empty
 It is imagined that the coal was dumped into an underground bunker from which it is then transferred to the tipple with a cable operated bucket. Actually, the coal empties into a container below the layout and is then used to fill the coal mine tipple that we will show you an other time.
   

 The unloader
That little storage shed you see in all the photos is what hides most of the operation mechanized parts. A greater portion is below track level and the shed hides the parts behind and above the rails. I built an elevated coal bunker with the tracks on a trestle with this same type of unloader. The unloading was more spectacular as you had a better view of the coal coming out. All the unloaders are custom built as I never could afford the tooling for the unloader parts.
   

 Quick’s Coal is a Campbell kit # 386
The kit consist of the tipple, office and truck scale. A corner of the office is visable at lower left and seen in the photo below. I lost the truck scale over the years of moving layouts around but will build a new one when the scene is finished.
   

 Leaving with an empty just like the real thing.
The old SD9 is Athearn set up with gear reduction for road switching. I operates on our BNSF and here now at Ashfork AZ. The scene is very much under construction.
   

 CAR MODIFICATIONS
 The bay openings are die punched and de-burred. Steel car weights are trimmed so ceramic magnets can be installed on car body. The frame is cut and trimmed for door clearance and installation. A hole is drilled through the frame and body for mounting the unloading positioning pin. Kadee #5 couplers are installed and fastened with a machine screw and nut. Kadee #501 trucks are used for peak performance and their non-magnetic axles.
   

 Die cut parts
 .015 brass hinge pin plates are die cut and then bonded to the plastic car body. Brass tubes are soldered to the doors. Music wire pins are cut to length with a special jig. Tin plate doors are die punched. The “red” ceramic magnets are custom cut for us in Illinois. Not shown is the music wire centering pin. The dies are operated in an arbor press.
   

 Finished ready-to-run car.
This picture may show the original Athearn trucks and wheel sets.

List of cars in stock and built to order.

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