N Scale: 2-Bay Rebuilt War-Emergency Hopper w/ Load - Illinois Central

Bluford Shops

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Bluford Shops N Scale: 2-Bay Rebuilt War-Emergency Hopper w/ Load - Illinois Central

The story of these 2-Bay Rebuilt War Emergency Hoppers begins in 1942 when the War Production Board directed car builders to substitute wood for steel wherever possible in car superstructures. The familiar 2-bay “war emergency” composite hopper was a result of this directive. Those cars had wooden side sheets and end slope sheets (although the middle slope sheets remained steel.) This saved a bit over two and a half tons of steel needed elsewhere for the war effort. Unfortunately, the wood boards were considerably thicker than steel sheet which effectively lowered the cubic capacity of the car. While you could build ten composite hoppers with the steel of nine all-steel hoppers, the lower capacity of the composite cars meant you needed more composite cars to carry the same load. During 1944, the directive was set aside and cars that were on order were delivered with the familiar diagonal bracing but with all steel construction. After the war, as composite cars came due for rebulding, the wood side and slope sheets were replaced with steel. A large majority of the composite cars were rebuilt in this manner sometime during the 1950s

Illinois Central rebuilt their 600 War Emergency hoppers with all-steel parts in 1955 and 1956. The rebuilds were performed at the cars birthplace, Illinois Central’s own Centralia Shops. When originally built as composite side cars, IC was painting their hoppers black but that changed after the war with open top cars adopting the same freight car red used on their boxcars. This is the version depicted on this run. IC returned to black for hoppers in the 1960s.

These ready-to-run cars feature:

  • die cast slope sheet-hopper bay-center sill assembly
  • injection molded plastic sides, ends, and hopper doors
  • fully molded brake tank, valve and air lines
  • body mounted brake hose detail
  • load
  • body mounted magnetically operating knuckle couplers
  • close coupling
  • Fox Valley Models metal wheels.


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