Tag Archives: hoppers

Illinois Central twin hopper kits

The latest Resin Car Works kit!
The latest Resin Car Works kit!

Resin Car Works announces their second freight car kit, an Illinois Central, Enterprise design, 33-foot, offset-side, twin hopper. From 1937 to 1949, 12,000 of these offset-side twin hoppers were manufactured for the Illinois Central by a variety of builders, including the railroad itself.

These are fleet builder kits with cast on grab irons to minimize the time and effort to get these models into service on your railroad. The kits are $36, plus shipping. Trucks and couplers are not included. A United States Army version is also available. Visit the Resin Car Works website for more details.

New York Central offset side hoppers


A recent discussion on the Steam Era Freight Car (STMFC) YahooGroup reminded me of some hopper conversations from the past. There were a few posts on New York Central (NYC) offset side hopper cars and the lack of models available. Here are some quick tips to modify some readily available models to better reflect NYC prototypes. Click on any image here to view a larger size.

A likeness of an NYC offset twin can be created by removing 1-foot, 6-inches from the center of an Athearn, Accurail, or Atlas car (the triple A of model train manufactures). It is easy to hide the cut as there’s a riveted seam which runs down the center of the car.

The car also needs to be raised a bit which is can be accomplished by using washer on the kingpin. This gives the model more of the NYC look of being taller than a standard twin hopper. Compare the length and height differences between a NYC twin and standard twin in the lead photo of Peoria & Eastern 2831 and Rock Island 89727.


P&E 2831 is an Athearn car. Once the car is raised the couplers need to be lower. This is done by attaching a new coupler box to the old one. Some styrene is added to the bottom of the hopper to again give the car a taller appearance.


NYC 868422 is an Accurail car essentially modified in the same manner as the Athearn car.


Decals are available for this and other NYC hoppers from Resin Car Works! Check out the selection on our website.


Illinois Central Twin Hoppers

In-process Illinois Central hopper.
In-process Illinois Central hopper.

There was some recent discussion on the STMFC YahooGroups list concerning the likes and dislikes of cast on grab irons on resin freight car kits. The March 2015 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist mentioned in their news section that one of the future kits being considered by Resin Car Works (RCW) is an Illinois Central Twin Hopper with cast on grabs. One of my goals with RCW is to simplify the construction of resin freight cars to lower the cost and to make it possible for large fleets of such cars to be constructed. There are many freight car prototypes that won’t be made in plastic as the sales aren’t enough to recoup the cost of development and production. The only other economical means to produce such cars is with low production, low development cost, rubber molds and resin castings.

Illinois Central prototype  hopper image.
Illinois Central prototype hopper image.

One of these cars is the Enterprise offset side twin hopper that was owned in large numbers by the Illinois Central. As a mid-fifties modeler whose layout is set in Central Illinois I need dozens of these IC hoppers for operations. I also have several friends that need dozens of these cars. My operations are based on coal mines around Taylorville with the coal being moved to dumpers at Havana Illinois. Click on any image here to review a large size.

CI&M rail-river transfer facility.
CI&M rail-river transfer facility.

These dumpers had a capacity larger then what the home road could supply so coal in other roads hoppers would be seen at this site. The two largest numbers of foreign road cars were from the New York Central and IC. If you look closely at the second photo you’ll notice a long string of NYC hoppers.

CI&M transfer yard.
CI&M transfer yard.

To have a large number of IC hoppers on any layout, the construction had to be simplified which the cast on grabs has done. As RCW is a basement type businesses very short on available time, the choice was been made to issue only one kit with the cast on grabs. Those modelers who only desire one or two of these kits can easily remove the grabs just like on a plastic kit.

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