NYC 399742 + Stone load

 photo NYC399742-StoneLoad_zpsm587lo2r.jpg
(With large stone, a live load – no glue – looks best)

Yet another New York Central gondola is ready to enter service on my layout. This time, the CNR has borrowed the car to deliver a load of stone to Port Rowan from the quarries at Hagersville, further up the line. It’s pretty big stone – they must be rebuilding the breakwater in the harbour.

Like my previous NYC gondolas (NYC 399671 and NYC 399574), this one was built for me by my friend Pierre Oliver. He does this for a living through his Elgin Car Shops business, and I’m happy to send some business his way while I work on the parts of the hobby that aren’t so easy to ship to someone else. I finished this car with NWSL wheel sets, Kadee couplers and train line air hoses from BTS, plus weathering.

Googling “gondola loads” (imagine that!) turned up a nifty picture of a DMIR gondola with a load of large stone:

 photo DMIR-87663_zpszru4a86i.jpeg
(From the gallery on the Missabe Railroad Historical Society: Click on the image to visit the society’s website)

The Hagersville quarries were important the both the CNR and the NYC (through its Canada Southern operation). In addition to supplying ballast, they were a source of stone for highway building in southern Ontario. So large stone it’s a perfect load for one of these cars.

I pondered various adhesives to secure the load into the car, but the stone I used (coarse talus from Woodland Scenics) is fairly porous and I was worried losing that effect. Glue-covered rock = ugly! In the end, I decided the best solution was no adhesive at all.

I don’t expect this so-called “live load” to pose a problem, although since it’s loose in the car I did not fill the gondola above the car sides in the manner of my prototype inspiration. There’s less chance of spilling stone everywhere that way.

I now have two loaded NYC gons and one empty. They’re all different numbers, but by swapping a loaded car for an empty between operating sessions (and updating the paperwork appropriately) I can effectively model loaded and empty NYC gondolas travelling on and off my branch.

11 thoughts on “NYC 399742 + Stone load

  1. Trevor,
    Have you tried “Alene’s Tacky Glue?” It dries clear and flat. Just a thought. Might have to glue “stone by stone” to avoid globs of glue in between stones.

    • I have not, Phil. But that’s a whole lot of stone-by-stone gluing.

      Plus, I worry about inadvertently introducing patterns into the stone load. Our brains like to do that. A car full of Inukshuit would look really out of place in Port Rowan.

      I don’t think a live load is going to be a problem. It’s fairly large stone – not ballast – so it’s not going anywhere.


  2. This post really jumped out at me today in my feed reader when I saw the DMIR gondola (as I am a bit of a fan of the DMIR).

    I also used similar sized Woodland Scenic stone as transition between water and land under a trestle (I’m not sure what they call it but I’ve seen this done on lakes and rivers to prevent shore erosion) so it would only make sense that I need a load for this as well 🙂 Thanks for the idea!

  3. Trevor,
    The load in the gon looks nice, but to my eye it looks a little too smooth for riprap. I think a better looking load would be some 1/4″ or 1/2″ crushed rock (or similar sized). Your load, so take my comments with a grain of rock…

    • Grain taken, Craig.
      I picked up the Woodland Scenics material at the hobby shop (obviously) but have not had time to go looking at alternatives. 1/2″ crushed rock would probably work better. 1/4″ might be too small to hold back the waves.

      Good thing I haven’t glued this in place, eh? 😉

      • Something else about the load makes it look really ‘light’. The prototype picture conjunctures images of heavy stone, while the model looks like pieces of ‘fake rock’.
        Do you have access to a local rock yard? Calling a rock yard might help you figure out what size rock would be used, and then it could be scaled down.

        By the way, riprap comes in all sizes, and shapes, and so think about how big/small the rock needs to be to be removed from the gon and transloaded into a dumptruck. I’m guessing that 1950’s heavy equipment didn’t have the same capacity as 2015 heavy equipment. Now you just need to find a 1/64th dump truck and the scene is set! 😉

        • So a little Googling provided an answer; Hudson’s equation. A mathematical formula to determine the size of riprap for a breakwater. Now you just have to figure out Port Rowan’s expected wave height, specific weight of the rock, etc… Or just go an measure the breakwater the next time your in Port Rowan.

  4. Trevor,

    Thanks for another great post. FWIW, I operate on a few large layouts that use all live loads without any ill effects; one of them an iron ore hauler with about 400 ore jennies. The only down side that I see is the occasional need to pull the vacuum out.


    Mike Aufderheide

  5. Trevor, Not to pile on, but Craig is on to something with his observation that your laod looks a bit light. Part of that is because it is not a full gon like your inspirations shot, but also perhaps because all your rocks are similar in size and uniform in color, like big aquarium gravel.

    The protype rocks vary more, especially in subtle coloration details: dirt covered because that’s where they came from, whitish areas where the rocks have banged together and pulverized their contact points or where they’ve been whacked by equipment moving them around and loading them.

    Craig’s idea of getting real rocks would help. You can find suitable samples by the side of the road. Maybe wash a little dirt/mud/earth color on them and tap the edges with a hammer to give them that ‘don’t get your foot caught between these hefty chunks’ feel.

  6. Trevor

    I use live loads for the limestone traffic from the quarry. There is the occasional spillage whilst loading the gons at the quarry, but neither that, or any derailments, have proved an issue. And yes, I do unload them on the staging track, but it’s just part of restaging a small layout!


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