L&N gondola builds

Jerry Hamsmith and his modeling gang have been busy with another group build. This time, they are working on a Resin Car Works Louisville & Nashville steel gondola. Here’s Jerry with the report.

A number of friends and I recently completed this build. Let’s start with some prototype information before we start building kits. The lead photo is a 1927 Pressed Steel Car Company builder image from the Bill Welch collection.

The Louisville & Nashville purchased all-steel gondolas purchased from Pressed Steel Car Company during the 1920s. Originally numbered in the 50000-59999 series, the cars had an inside length of 40-feet, 6-inches, and an inside height of 4-feet, 7 ½-inches. The 50-ton car had a capacity of 1765 cubic feet. They were equipped with six drop doors. The car ends were flat with two horizontal reinforcing ribs. The cars were acquired in groups over a number of years.

Certain cars from the series were renumbered beginning in 1950, when groups had their drop doors removed (or sealed) and were reclassed as GB gondolas. Company records show these conversions occurring over a fairly long period of time with the converted cars being first placed into the 49000-49999 series, and later into the 29000-29999 and 48200-48999 series, too. Not all numbers in each of these series were used.

Jerry Hamsmith collection

L&N 49502, seen above, was taken about 1956. This car has had AB brakes installed, the drop doors welded shut, and the door locks removed. The smaller reporting marks and the slogan were both 1951 additions. Additional prototype information is available on the extras page for this Resin Car Works kit.


As the group of friends building the kit each have different modeling eras, the final products differ from builder to builder. Here are some of the completed and nearly completed models.

Bob Hanmer’s model will become one of the converted cars on his 1958 era railroad. Most of the modelers built cars that would exist after 1950. These models reflect the prototypes with repositioned two grab irons on the left side of the car and an AB brake system. Most of these cars were modeled with their drop door mechanisms removed.

Chris Vanko’s model will become a car from the mid-1960s. As such, it has the AB brake system.

My model will represent an unmodified car and thus still has the drop door mechanisms and the interior reinforcing supports.

Eric Hansmann is modeling the as-built version and ran into an issue when installing the door mechanism on the underframe. He sanded one of the small parts too much and the small hinge tabs disappeared. He used small rectangles of thin styrene for new hinge tabs. The small white pieces can be seen in the bottom right door mechanism above.

Eric also installed a KD brake system. He made styrene support pieces for the air reservoir, brake cylinder, the long brake lever, and the pivot point for that lever. The details were just installed in the above photo and the wire posts on the chain have not been trimmed.

The B end details stand out on these models. Take your time to add the fine retainer line and the ratchet brake components.

Completed works

Most of the models have been completed with paint, decals, and weathering added. Here are some of the finished models.

Al DeBraal completed a model with the drop doors removed and renumbered. He models the early 1950s.

I finished a car to represent one that had been converted and renumbered in 1955.

Additionally, I built a kit to represent a car before it was upgraded. It still has the drop doors and has not yet been renumbered in 1955.

L&N 48705, circa 1955, Bill Welch collection

A few of the prototype cars received additional reinforcements between the original ribs when the drop doors were removed.

Chris Vanko decided to replicate the later additional reinforcements. His model represents a well-worn car from the mid-1960s.

The build was a fun experience with a number of the steps common among us. But there were prototype deviations modelers took that made each completed kit a unique model. We had each other to keep us motivated, share techniques, and add to the fun.

  • Jerry Hamsmith

Many thanks to Jerry Hamsmith for pulling together details and photos from his circle of modelers. We hope this inspires you to launch a group to build resin freight car kits, or to move along one of those workbench projects.

Questions and comments can be posted below. Please follow the instructions so your comment can be posted. All comments are reviewed and approved before they appear. To subscribe to this blog, add your email address to the function at the bottom of the right column on the main page. Share the blog link with other model railroaders.

3 thoughts on “L&N gondola builds

  1. Nice builds! You may want to change the reweigh dates on nos. 49399 and 49502, as L&N didn’t adopt “The Old Reliable” slogan until late 1951.

Comments are closed.