For whatever reason, railroad maintenance of way equipment always seems to appeal to model railroaders. Perhaps it's the unique paint schemes that this type of equipment typically sports, or maybe it's the fact that much of the equipment is specially built or converted from regular revenue service cars. It seems everyone who has ever built more than a handful of freight cars has built some MofW equipment at some point.
Many years ago I saw a couple of photographs of 55-ton hopper cars that had been assigned to ballast service on the Clinchfield Railroad. I knew right then that I had found the paint scheme for the ballast hoppers on the CWE and that a few would show up on the layout some day. I had originally planned to convert several old Athearn 2-bay hoppers for this project, but once Accurail came out with their 55-ton hopper, I decided to use them instead. They appear to be a very close match to the Cinchfield cars, and the detail on the kits is fantastic.
So here are some shots of the recently completed ballast hoppers. The first two are the Accurail cars.
CW&E 95034 was weathered based upon the photo below of one of the Clinchfield cars. I'd give credit where due for the photo, but it's another one of those that I picked up off the Internet.
Next up are a couple of MDC ballast hoppers with longitudinal doors.
And last up, an Atlas ballast hopper. I picked this up at a local train show for eight bucks and was amazed at the detail: wire grabs, full brake rigging, etc. This is the kind of detail you'd find on a brass model not that long ago.
Here are a few down-on shots of the loads.
All of the cars were weathered with artist's acrylics, powders and some airbrushing. On CWE 95034, I even added some rust using water soluble oils. The weathering on that car incorporates just about every weathering trick I know!
In the shot below, we see the ballast train as it moves out of a pretty empty Hollister Yard.
Next time we'll take a look at all of the equipment in the train and explore some ways to incorporate it into an operating session.