Car #101: Ballast Hopper
Built September 2008
Now that I finally have some track layed, it's time for a work car.
I figured that a ballast hopper would be the most useful car at this point - of course I can use it to move ballast around (and dump it on the tracks), but I can also use it to move other stuff (lumber, tools, track panels) by laying those things across the car's top.
Prefab metal hoppers (eg. from Cannonball), but those cost $1000 (less trucks), and I'm wanting to do this cheaply (to start), so I decided to build my own hopper out of wood (cost: $100). It certainly won't hold up as well as a steel car, but for 1/10th the price I can accept that :)
I got some carbuilding parts from Cannonball:
The parts I'll be using for this car are the bolsters, couplers, and coupler pockets. I also have a pair of trucks on order, but they've been awfully slow to arrive.
Here's my plan:
The car is about 5 feet long and I'll build it out of 2x12 lumber.
Here'a PDF containing instructions and dimensions: srr_ballast_car_plan.pdf
It took 10 weeks for the trucks to arrive.
They sent one truck assembled (right) and the other unassembled (left):
Here's a wheelset, to give you an idea of the size:
The trucks connect to the bolsters via a special bolt.
The carbuilding kit comes with a pair of unfinished 3/8" steel rods that you need to drill and thread; it turns out that this is pretty difficult to do well by hand (without a lathe), so instead I bought a pair of 3/8" bolts and cut the heads off.
A truck mounted on the car:
The finished car on the track. It's very red - Jack chose the color.
Jack and Annie both fit in the car:
The derailments are caused by uneven track.
Click on the image below to view a movie of Bee taking the very first ride ever on the SRR (4.1MB SWF)
I've read that the ties need to be very level, and now I believe it - even a slight dip in one rail causes the wheels to jump the track when the car is lightly loaded.
Click on the image below to view a movie of Jack and Annie taking their first ride (3.3MB SWF)