Bluford Shops N Scale: 2-Bay Offset Side Hopper - Litchfield & Madison
Litchfield & Madison was a 44 mile railroad linking Madison, Illinois (across the Mississippi River from St. Louis) and Litchfield. They funneled through traffic from Chicago & North Western and Illinois Central to the St. Louis area and loaded coal from large deposits along the line. This group of offset side hoppers was built just after America’s entry into the Second World War. For some reason, the order seemed to have been split between cars with Wine-style corner pleats (favored by C&NW and featured on our models) and Enterprise-style pleats (favored by IC.) The L&M was merged into Chicago & North Western in 1958.
A 2-bay hopper design with offset sides was first proposed in the 1920s and first appeared in the form seen here in 1934. The AAR adopted it as a standard design the following year. The offset design permitted greater interior capacity than a rib side car with the same outside dimensions. It was thought this more than made up for the car’s higher cost of construction. The last new 2-bay offset side hoppers were built in 1960.