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July 2014 RailKing Product Spotlight

RailKing O Gauge 19th Century 34’ Box Car

In the beginning, American railway equipment followed British practices. But the open gondola, which remained the basic British merchandise car for over a century, was not as well suited to American needs. Whereas Britain’s mild climate and coke-burning engines made it possible to transport freight in open cars, covered with a tarp when necessary, American winters were much harsher, distances traveled were greater, and wood-burning American engines threw off sparks that ignited unprotected goods.

July 2014 Premier Product Spotlight

Premier Line O Scale Bay Window Caboose

As freight cars grew taller, observing a train from the cupola of a caboose became increasingly difficult. In the wooden car era, another problem with cupola cabooses was sagging roofs. In an effort to solve these problems, the Akron, Canton & Youngstown railroad introduced the bay window caboose in 1923. (In fact, however, bay windows had been used on New York & Harlem Railroad passenger cars as far back as the 1850s, to enable conductors to better anticipate station arrivals.)

July 2014 Premier Product Spotlight

Premier Line O Scale 3-Bay Centerflow® Hopper

Although covered hoppers had achieved widespread use by the 1950s, it wasn’t until the following decade that they began to carry North America’s grain harvest. Prior to the 1960s, U.S. and Canadian farmers sent their wheat and other grains to market in 40’ box cars. The crop was packed in sacks or in cars with disposable grain doors that covered most of the door opening and turned the car into a rolling grain bin. Either way, loading and unloading was labor-intensive and time-consuming.

June 2014 Premier Product Spotlight

Premier Line O Scale Coalporter Hopper

The Coalporter is one of the latest evolutions in the more-than-150-year history of the American coal hopper. But technically speaking, it’s not a hopper. It’s a high-sided gondola, because it lacks the bottom-opening doors that characterize a true hopper. The only way to unload a Coalporter is to turn it upside down, which is exactly what happens at the rotary unloading facilities at factories and power plants served by Coalporter trains.

September 2013 Premier Product Spotlight

Premier Line O Scale Flat Car w/ Pipe Load

The flat car is perhaps the oldest of railroad cars, predating even the steam locomotive. From the very beginning, it was useful for commodities that could not have fit into a covered car. As far back as 1834, the horse-drawn Granite Railway in Quincy, Massachusetts ganged four of its four-wheel flatcars together to ship 60-ton granite blocks destined to be made into columns for the new Boston Court House.