N Scale: 2-Bay Rebuilt War-Emergency Hopper w/ Load - Southern 'permanently coupled pairs'
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
These Southern Railway “permanently coupled” pairs of hoppers were an effort by Southern to provide lower rates to customers while not running afoul of the Interstate Commerce Commission. At the time these pairs were conceived in the early ‘60s, the ICC prevented railroads from giving a price break for loading two 50 ton cars to match the allowed price for a single 100 ton car. This was particularly unfair to small customers located on lightly built branch lines. Southern’s response was to make two cars into one by permanently coupling them and assigning the pair a single road number. Permanence was achieved by removing the cut levers on the adjoining ends. The exact number of pairs made from these rebuilt War Emergency hoppers is a mystery because Southern also paired up some 6-panel hoppers and scattered them through the same number series with no distinction between them in the Equipment Register. However, other documentary evidence suggests there were more than 325 of these rebuilt War Emergency pairs. Each package includes both cars of the pair.
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
- body mounted magnetically operating knuckle couplers
- close coupling
- Fox Valley Models metal wheels.