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Model Railroading > Thrall coal gondola photos and info needed

Date: 02/11/05 15:58
Thrall coal gondola photos and info needed
Author: wlankenau

Athearn is working on the former MDC/Roundhouse Thrall Coal Gondola.  This project is still a little way off, but we are in need of photos of these cars not only for paint schemes, but also to see some of the detail that we hope to upgrade.  Also, overheard views are needed, as we want to create a coal load for this model as well.

MDC/Roundhouse offered this model in the following roads:

Burlington Northern
Canadian Pacific
Commonwealth Edison
Detroit Edison
Northern Indiana Public Service Co.
Peabody Coal Company
Santa Fe
Union Pacific
Wisconsin Electric

Assuming that these are all legitimate schemes, we are looking for photos of any and all variations (such as Santa Fe with the black and yellow body, and the later solid black body), as well as any roads or utilities that owned these cars that are not listed above.  Detail photos and drawings are also welcome.

Also, we are contemplating a modification of this model to replicate the Coal Liners that were owned by Union Pacific and Rio Grande (and possibly others).  These cars had horizontal ribs that ran the full length of the car.  Information on this is also requested.

Also, we will be needing the same type of information on some other former-MDC/Roundhouse coal cars:  The Bathtub Gondola (previously offered in CP, Chessie and BN) and the Ortner Rapid Discharge 5-Bay Hopper (MDC offered these in Santa Fe, Black Mesa & Lake Powell, Colorado Springs DPU [CSUX], C&O/Chessie, Southern, Colorado & Wyoming, Seaboard System, Norfolk & Western and Southern).  We know that many of the roads listed for the Ortner are not 100% correct, and we are hoping to find other roads that we can use to fill in those holes.  We are also hoping to find information (photos or drawings) of the latch mechanisms that were on the Ortner cars, as the model currently doesn’t have this detail and we would like to add it.

Also, if you know someone who may be able to help, please feel free to forward this e-mail to them as well.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these cars, photos can be found in some of the Morning Sun Color Guides (page 78 in the Rio Grande Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, for example, shows both the Thrall Coal Gondola or the Coal Liner cars).  If you don’t have access to these, and would like a photo so that you know what to look for, please let me know.

Thank you in advance,

Mike Hopkin and Craig Walker
Athearn Trains
1550 Glenn Curtiss St
Carson CA  90746-4012

Date: 02/11/05 20:58
Re: Thrall coal gondola photos and info needed
Author: wc581

Mike & Craig,

Gkad to hear about the Coal hoppers, Looks Like I will have to go and take some pics of the wepx coal hoppers, Roundhouse made the Wepx hoppers also in the bathtubs (which I still have two of) The main thing is to get the right dark yellow that roundhouse use to make, not the bright yellow that they were making at the. I will also take a look thru some camcoardings I did years ago and see if I have pics I can pull off of.

feel free to email me at


Mike Slater

Date: 02/12/05 15:59
Re: Thrall coal gondola photos and info needed
Author: mayor79

How about the Big Stone Power Company cars :) Doubt Athearn would take them on considering they are 5 ft longer than the Roundhouse car, there were only 220 of them built, and they had lids on them. It would be pretty cool though for Milwaukee and BN modelers :)


Date: 02/13/05 12:59
Re: Thrall coal gondola photos and info needed
Author: robby

How about adding a run of KUCX (Kentucky Utilities) hoppers to the Thrall series and GGPX (General American Leasing), GUEX (Georgia Power) and ELFX (Electric Fuels) to the Ortner series. A run of RD-4's lettered up for VAPX (Virginia Power) and CMIX (Consolidated Minerials) might also find some buyers. Sure would be nice to be able to actually buy a pre-decorated hopper for an Eastern Road for a change. Old MDC ELFX Ortner models go for about $20.00 each on Ebay from time to time so there must be a market. Please note that people actually model railroads east of the Mississippi River too.

Date: 02/14/05 10:51
Re: Thrall coal gondola photos and info needed
Author: brfriedm

One market to consider is the secondary market for these cars. There are numerous Thrall's in scrap gon service today. This picture alone has 3 different paint schemes for these old dogs. Shot last month. This allows modern modelers to buy these as well.


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