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August 2001 - Page 34



Trinitys Aluminum-Bodied Coal Gondolas
by David G. Casdorph
Photos courtesy Freight Cars Journal

guess Im getting old it seems like yesterday that the Norfolk & Western was moving coal in gondola cars. Oh, how far we have advanced! Today, coal is still being moved in gondola cars, but the modern coal gondola is very advanced with its aluminumbody and 286,000-lb. gross rail loading. Todays coal gons have rotary couplers so the whole car is flipped and dumped. There have been a number of designs of coal-hauling g ondolas for todays operations. Most of the major builders have offered aluminumbodied coal gons at one point or another. Bethlehem Steel Car made a significant introduction with its Bethgon design. This design continues with Johnstown America today. The basic design uses two longitudinal tubs between the trucks thus adding additional cubic-foot capacity with a lower center of gravity. In 1992, Trinity Industries introduced a similar design and called it the Aluminator. S ix demonstrators were built and placed under Trinity Industries Leasing Company reporting marks (TIMX 1001-1006). This initial design was rated at a 4,400 cubic-foot capacity. Most new-built coal cars (hoppers and gondolas) are built to a standardized 53' 1" outside length. The Trinity Aluminator is no exception. The 4400 design has a 12' 7" extreme height (11' 6" inside height). What made the Aluminator unique was the w ay the bottom of the tubs slope down ward from the center to the ends (the Bethlehem/Johnstown design had straight bottom

Initials BN CLEX CNA GEAX GEAX GEAX GEAX NCUX NCUX NCUX NORX SEMX TILX TIMX TIMX UP UP UP Numbers 534860-535099 2001-2245 192000-192229 1001-1120 2001-2120 11121-11240 11301-11420 10741-10860 10981-11340 11456-12295 5000-5239 98601-98612 4316-4430 1001-1006 1014-1017 28000-28639 33100-33309 33310-33414 Quantity Known Trinity Plant Build Dates 240 7/94 Greenville 245 1-2/99 & 6-7/99 Montgomery 230 11-12/96 120 3/95 Greenville 120 1/95 Greenville 120 6/96 120 4-6/96 120 11-12/97 Mt. Orab 360 11/98-1/99 Montgomery 840 3-4/99 Montgomery From NCUX 11576-11815 acquired in mid-1999 12 10/98 115 12/96 Mt. Orab 6 9/92 Greenville 4 3/95 Bessemer 640 6-9/98 Montgomery 210 4-5/97 Greenville 105 10-11/97 Mt. Orab Size 4400 4525 4525 4400 4400 4400 4400 4525 4525 4525 4400 4400 4400 4400 4525 4930 4930

tubs). The body has 13 side posts each with an alternating rivet pattern. There are three internal cross braces (at the 4th, 7th and 10th side posts). In 1994 Burlington Northern received the first serious order of Trinitys new coal

gondola (240 cars, numbered BN 534860535099). The cars went into service in the Powder River Basin along with its stablemate from Johnstown. The Trinity cars w ere painted with green rotary-coupler ends. The remainder of the body was left

BN 534992 roster view. Shown here in a siding along the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. Notice that the tubs, B-end rungs, handrails, brake wheel, etc., are all painted black.



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