I compiled this matrix of Lehigh Valley coal cars and now have models for almost every car in it. Click on the image below to download the Excel file.
These cars are done in the Pre-1939 Paint and Lettering Scheme which could be found through much of the 1940’s:
LV 17573: These Pre-USRA cars in the 17001-18000 series were built by the Standard Steel Car Company in 1913. The last car in the series was retired in 1965. It is a MTH USRA hopper. The only modification was to remove the small triangular brace found at the bottom of the end panels which were unique to the USRA cars. The lettering was removed using Solvaset and relettered with a combination of decals from dhickstrains at msn.com. Unfortunately he does not have a set unique to these cars at this time.
LV 15033: The 250 composite cars in the 15001-15250 series were built at the LV Sayre Shops in 1935, had an inside length of 33′ and a capacity of 2,014 cubic feet. None of these composite cars are known to have been repainted in the freight car red 1939 paint scheme. They were rebuilt with steel sides at Packerton in 1950.
An Athearn 2 bay steel side hopper was used to model this car. Coarse steel wool was rubbed horizontalilly across the sides, then 8″ wide boards were scribed. Evergreen 1×3 strips and Plastruct 3/64 angle was used to form the diagional braces. Slope sheet supports were made from Evergreen angle for all these cars. Channel was used for the end brace and hopper doors between the Wine door locks (Westerfield 1171). A Kadee Ajax brake wheel and A-Line steps were substituted.
LV 15653: The 250 composite cars in the 15501-15750 were also built at the LV Sayre Shops in 1936, but were smaller with an inside length of 30′ and a 1,750 cubic foot capacity. They featured cushion underframes and inverse corrugated ends. None of these composite cars are known to have been repainted in the freight car red 1939 paint scheme. They were rebuilt with steel sides at Packerton in 1950.
An Accurail USRA hopper which has a 30′ IL was used to model this series. The USRA gussets on the side were removed, and the sides were modified as with 15033 above. Westerfield 8152 corrugated inverse ends were used. Extending the Kadee gearbox represented the Duryea Custion Undreframe., and I use Proto 2000 wheelsts as replacements on all my cars. Other details include a Precision Scale Ajax brake housing, Kadee brake wheel, Tichy grab irons, and brass wire for side grab irons, cut levers and air lines. The sides of composite cars were also wood. I cut and fit a piece of 0.010 stryene sheet which was scribed and rivet locations marked corresponding to the exterior bracing.
LV 20456: In 1930 the LV bought 500 used GLa hoppers from the Pennsylvania Coal and Coke Corporation (PCCX). They had been built in 1923 by AC&F and the LV numbered them in the 20001-20500 series. They were modified with Dreadnaught ends and the last cars were retired in 1952.
This is a slightly modified Bowser GLa hopper. The new ends came from a Proto 2000 50’6″ gondola because I wanted to model any empty car, but ends cut from a boxcar would work. This under construction photo was from a modernized car in the series with Ajax brakes, but the other details are the same. Added were slope sheet supports, Westerfield Wine door locks, the Ajax brake wheel, housing and scratchbuilt platform, retainer valve, some vertical and horizontal wire grab holds, cut lever, and A-Line brass steps. I did not remove and replace the grab holds on the ladders on this or some other cars, but that is always something you could add.
LV 41150: The 700 composite quad cars in the 41000-41699 series were built by Bethlehem Steel in 1929. A photo of 41150 recently received from Bill Dale shows at least some of these cars had been repainted in the freight car red 1939 paint scheme. They were rebuilt with steel sides by the LV starting in 1946.
The old Hobbyline/Lionel 4 bay hoppers are very close in size and design to these cars. To me one of the key features of the 70 ton trucks on these cars were the three springs, so I used Eastern Car Works 9053 Bettendorf trucks with Proto 2000 wheelsets. These cars had a 10’8″ height to the top of the sides, but with these trucks it was closer to 11’6″, so I removed 9″ from the tops and attached 0.010×0.080 strips to replace the top angle. The ribs were formed from 0.010x.080 and 2×4 Evergreen strips. Bowser sells a parts sprue for their H-21 hoppers. I used the Wine door locks and interior bracing from it for these cars. The vertical brake wheel came from Cal-Scale, A-Line steps and Tichy straight and drop grab holds for the ladders.
If you wish to model an empty car, the biggest problem with these cars is their light weight , and the underframe design provides no area to add weight. I added 1/16″ lead sheet to cover the slopes sheets which added 1 oz. to the car weight on this and other variations using Hobbyline cars.
LV 42544: In 1936 to meet the demand of coal shippers for 50 ton hoppers the LV initiated a program at the Sayre Shops to rebuild a total of 848 of the steel sided 4-bay 40000-40999 series hoppers built by SSCC in 1929 into 29’4″ inside length cars. The rebuilt 7 panel cars were numbered in the 42000-42848 series. They were rebuilt with 8 panel sides after WWII and the last cars were retired in 1966.
This model was essentially kitbashed using a Hobbytown/Lionel quad hopper by removing an 11’8″ section from the center of the car as with the prototype rebuild. The Ajax brake wheel and platform, Wine door locks, and interior braces came fro the Bowser H-21 parts sprue. Other details include the slope sheet supports, A-Line steps, Tichy grab holds, and 0.010 wire for end grab holds. A small piece of 0.005 sheet was cut and shaped to model the rusted out side panel based on a photo of a prototype car.
LV 20344: In 1930 the LV purchased 500 Gla cars built in 1923 by AC&F for the Pennsylvania Coal & Coke Corporation, and renumbered them in the 20001-21500 series. They were eventually rebuilt with Ajax hand brakes (20 with AB brakes), Wine door locks and all got Dreadnaught ends for some unknown reason. The last cars were retired in 1952.
A few changes to a Bowser GLa hopper make a very accurate LV model. The hardest part was cutting and fitting a Dreadnaught end from a Proto 2000 52’6” gondola. Other details added were slope sheet supports, Wine door locks (Westerfield 1171), PSC Ajax brake housing, Kadee Ajax brake wheel, wire cut levers, and A-line steps.
LV 20841: The LV built 500 cars in 1936 numbered 20501-21000. The unique feature of these cars is that they were built with cushion underframes and some have corrugated ends. The last cars were retired in 1966.
The Accurail USRA cars are a good model for these 30’ IL cars and require few changes. The gusset on the side sheets were removed and a Kadee coupler box was added to represent the cushion underframe extension. Slope sheet supports, Wine door locks (Westerfield 1171), PSC Ajax brake housing, Kadee Ajax brake wheel, wire cut levers and end grab irons, outside running air line, and A-line steps completed the details.
POST-1939 PAINT and LETTERING SCHEMES
This model was also kitbashed using a Hobbytown/Lionel quad hopper by removing an 11’8″ section from the center of the car as with the prototype rebuild. The sides were covered with 0.010 sheet styrene and the new ribs formed from 0.010×0.080 with 2×4 strips.
The Ajax brake wheel and platform, Wine door locks, and interior braces came from the Bowser H-21 parts sprue. Other details include the slope sheet supports, A-Line steps, Tichy grab holds, and 0.010 wire for end grab holds. ECW 9053 Bettendorf trucks with Proto 2000 wheels were used.
As with the quad composites, the old Hobbyline/Lionel 4 bay hoppers had 9″ removed from the tops and 0.010×0.080 stripes attached to replace the top angle. Other modifications included A-Line steps, slope sheet supports, Ajax brake wheel & platform (Bowser), wine door locks (Bowser), interior braces (Bowser), and ECW 9053 Bettendorf trucks.