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September 1999 - Page 45

out before the car was bulked-out w i th coal. Most of the hoppers converted in t h i s manner spent their last years in shuttle ser vice on the Southern's coal-rich l i nes in Vir g i n i a . One s u c h operat i o n w a s o v e r t h e former Interstate Railroad i n southwestern Virgi nia. According to Ed Wolfe's The Inter state Railroad, t he shuttle c a rs p i c ked-up coal at more than a dozen different loadouts in Wise county and were brought to the huge Bullitt complex near Appalachia, VA . Here, at Westmoreland Coal's transloading faci l i ty, the shuttle cars were u n l oaded v i a rotary dumper. The coal was then blended to a cus tomer's specific needs and shipped south in unit tra i n s . The 55-ton s h u t t l e c a r s , a l s o known a s "yellow balls" i n shuttle service, were used throughout the 1 970s unti I n ewer, 70-ton hoppers took their place. By 1 98 2 , t h e year o f t h e Norfo l k Southern merger, the thousands of 5 5 -ton hoppers had dwindled

to dozens. The April 1 982 ORER reveals that 42 cars re mained in the 1 1 0000 c l as s and only 20 cars in the 1 06000 class.


T he Athearn 34 ' offset-side twin hopper is an excellent starting point for modeling a Southern shuttle hopper. It has the correct rib spacing and overall basic dimensions. To beg i n the proj ect, I m odified some of the molded-on detail of the Athearn mode l . I removed the top three grabirons on the sides and the top two on the ends as well as the long brac ing rods under the slope sheets. I f you're carefu l , you can save the molded-on bolts and washers. I also removed the exi st ing l i p from over the tops of the ladders on all four sides and fi led them flush with the sides. I drilled the holes for the replacement grabs and rods directly under the bolt mold i n g s . For the re m a i n i n g grab s , I u s e d a

V E RY sh arp X-Acto blade to remove the back port i o n of the grabs to leave a t h i n , m o re p r o t o t y p i c a l g r a b . I ' ve fo u n d t h i s method saves t i m e over replacing them and produces the same effect. To s l i m down the steps, I used a fi Ie to shave about half of the bulk from the rear of the step and cleaned things up with the X-Acto blade. Next, I g l ued the weights i n p l ace under the ends. [ u sed sections of 3 /"," L -girder to c re a t e the T- s h a p e d s l o p e - s h e e t brac e s . N o t e t h a t t h e v e r t i c a l m e m be r s c o m e together i n a V-shape a n d are n o t parallel as on l ater hopper designs. I found it was eas i e r to attach the cross m e mber d i rectly to the weight and then add the vertical mem bers to it. [ d on ' t have exact di mensions, [ s i m p l y eye b a l l e d i t to l eave about a 3 5 a n g l e from upright for t h e vert ical mem bers. My crossmembers ended up 5 /'6" from the ends. I notched the vertical me mbers 0 11

Southern 1 06036 with an unmod ified Southern hopper and an old L&N offset hopper of l i ke origin. Judging from the o ther two hoppers. 1 06036 i s loaded. It appears the loading agency actually paid attention to the ca pacity stenciling a nd avoided load ing it to the top as many other pictures featuring the taller cars reveal. Date and location un known.
Photographer unknown, Dan Bourque collection

S E PTE M B E R 1 999


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