Another Gondola

Kansas & Texas Coal, Co. gondola

Building cars from prototypes: Kansas and Texas Coal, Co. thirty foot gondola built by St. Charles in 1898.

Here I will share my progress constructing a Kansas & Texas Coal, Company gondola; a private owner car built by St. Charles in 1898. I have little information on these cars but a picture ordered from Art Griffin along with the decals which he makes available. I do know that The K&T Coal, Co. was an active and prominent provider of coal to the public at the turn of the century and adds in the KC Star of the period indicated that I must have one or two of their cars on Liberty Street.

Add copied from microfilm of the Kansas City Times circa 1890.

As with most of my projects, this one started out with a decal set from Art Griffin and progressed to a pile of styrene sticks and more ambition than talent. Construction began with the deck and side framing much like a flat car. The deck was nibbled where the stakes would be and the side boards were cut and ready for the stakes to go on. Once the stakes are attached, the side boards go on followed by the ends. Here is where this project nearly stalled.

Most gondolas of the period appear to have been 34 feet in lenght and four boards high with a capacity of 60000 lbs. The St.Charles builders photo of the K&T car shows a car that was five boards high but only 30 feet long yet the capacity was still 60000 lbs. I am curious why the K&T Coal, Co. chose these dimensions. These side dimensions are Very similar to the D&RGW narrow gauge high side gondola so I assumed the hardware for these cars would work for my model. I was partly wrong. The side stakes are very nearly correct but the corner irons are not.

The picture above can be found at and shows the corner iron similar to those used on the K&T Coal Co. cars.

These corners presented a bit of a stumbling block. I had ordered a set of Grandt Line D&RGW Highside gondola parts which include iron corner reinforcements. The prototype photo on the right below, shows how (the board edges and irons have been highlighted) four individual irons straddle the joint of the side boards with one strap on the top corner and one on the bottom corner. The Grandt Line parts on the left are for one solid brace per corner, inside and out.

Now, I might have saved myself a lot of grief by simply building up these corner irons with styrene and tiny NBW but the thought of all those little flea like bits made my head hurt and I really wanted to use the Grandt Line Parts somehow.

Here was my solution to the problem. It is still a compromise considering that the rivet/bolt arrangement is not the same as on the prototype but I can overlook that.

How it all went together

Top and bottom deck pieces are laminated.note offset around bottom deck

Deck ready for notches.

Top of the deck is nibbled out to locate side supports.

Notches for supports.

Deck sides are notched to fit end buffer.

The completed deck with notches for side supports.

Under carriage details start to appear. Sills and joists, truck bearings and coupler pockets.

Each side and end is assembled piece by piece.

These footboards are attached to the top of the car at both ends.

Superstructure ready for truss rods and trucks.

Truss rods are .010 bronze wire with turnbuckles.

Ready for the brake wheel assembly.

Detail of those little brace clamps.

All the detail in place and ready for the pain shop.

Model completed...

...and lightly weathered.

"In-service" photo.

While I was at it, I built two.