Thursday, November 12, 2015

Train Show Hopper Jackpot

I knew when I decided to model the coal hauling part of the NKP's Wheeling District, I would need a substantial amount of hoppers to achieve that goal.  My estimate for modeling the flow of empties and loads in and out of the Adena and AC&NA branches is about 250 to 300 hoppers for an operating session.

After attending a train show this past Sunday in Dalton, Ohio, I am finally at the low end of that goal thanks to this stunning find.

Twenty two Athearn 2 bay offset hoppers, all with unique numbers and Kadee compatible plastic couplers!  The vendor had much more good stuff beyond these NKP hoppers and it took a lot of financial restraint to leave that table with only those cars.

In my W&LE hopper post, I said I was looking to shift to standardizing on Atlas 2 bay offset hoppers.  Well... I couldn't pass up these Athearns, especially at the nice bulk price deal I was offered.
They will help balance the ratio of my NKP lettered 2 bay and 3 bay offset type hoppers. I had way too many of the 3 bay offset type since the Stewart model in NKP 6 packs has typically been the easiest to find and purchase.

The renumber job on my hopper jackpot was done nicely with decals (saving me a ton of time) and sealed with dullcote, which means they are ready for weathering.  All but 3 of the cars have the small "NYC&StL W&LE lessor" lettering which is often left off and is an important detail to me. The reweight date is a past my 1953-55 time frame but that can be fixed later with decals.  I typically use Kadee #158 whisker couplers, but the included copycat couplers at least have the metal knuckle springs which will do for now.  All my hoppers are slowly being upgraded to metal wheels for their better rolling qualities and cleanliness compared to plastic wheels.  Doing this however is an expensive undertaking, for example this whole lot would almost consume $70 worth of Intermountain metal wheels.  These hoppers only make that line waiting for metal wheels longer, but all in good time.

With these cars I can finally lower the level on my hopper acquisition radar!


  1. Would you be interested in a set of 20 Accurail data-only black two-bay 55 ton hoppers? I'm moving out of HO (into P:48), so they are surplus to me. All have metal wheels and Kadee couplers, asking $10/car. Will send pictures if you're interested.

  2. Thanks for the offer, but I believe I've blown my hobby budget for the time being!
    With metal wheels and Kadees you shouldn't have much trouble moving those cars at that price I'd think.