Saturday, March 2, 2024

Northern Pacific GS Gondolas


Two prototype photos, Minnesota Transportation Museum or Minnesota Historical Society (uncertain,) courtesy of James Dick and Aaron Gjermundson

After Springfield, I had posted some info about the PRR G22 gondolas, including the upcoming Rapido offerings and other HO scale models, and followed up with my G22 modeling efforts. What I forgot to do was post about the Northern Pacific GS gondolas that are also coming from Rapido featuring a joint effort with the NPRHA (links to gondola and wood chip car reservations.) The NP had two groups of virtually identical cars built in 1940 by Pressed Steel (car nos. 50000-50499) and by the NP's Brainerd, Minnesota shops (car nos. 50500-50749.) The photos directly above and below are of the series built in 1949 by the NP. The earlier cars are quite similar, with the biggest differences being trucks and hand brakes. The car displayed here had ASF A-3 Ride Control trucks and Superior hand brakes. The model displays a car with cast steel double truss sideframe trucks and Ajax power hand brakes.

Diagram for the 50000 series built 1940

The cars in this series were equipped with Scullin (50000-50249) and ASF (50250-50499) truck sideframe castings, although they both follow NP casting pattern FS-589, making them virtually identical in HO scale (the prototypes would have had data cast into the sideframe that is legible in HO, but not from more than a few inches away.) Draft gear included Cardwell-Westinghouse NY-11-E (50000-50099,) Miner A-22-XB (50100-50299,) Peerless H-1 (50300-50399,) and Waugh Gould No.43 (50400-50499.)

Diagram for the 50500 series built 1949

Test shots for the models were on display at Springfield. The actual designs were developed in conjunction with noted historian and modeler Rick Leach and the NPRHA, assuring a high degree of accuracy. As can be seen in these photos, the model is a faithful replica of the prototype. While these did see varied service on the NP, like all gons, they did wander and could be seen just about anywhere. They lasted well into the 1970s.

Thank you to Aaron Gjermundson for providing information and photos about the prototypes and to Jim Dick for also adding information and clarifying details.

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