Creative use for 5-bay ortner hopper

prr2bnsf_sd Jul 31, 2020

  1. prr2bnsf_sd

    prr2bnsf_sd TrainBoard Member

    So, I bought a Santa Fe 5-bay ortner hopper before realizing it was open and not covered (I know, I should have done more homework...). I really like the paint scheme, so I don't want to get rid of it, but I don't have an industry to spot a coal hopper at (I model a terminal*, so there wouldn't be anything passing through).

    I was originally thinking I would use it as a buffer car for ethanol tanks. Does anyone else have creative suggestions on what to use it for/ haul with it?

    *There is a non-modeled interchange at the prototype location
  2. prr2bnsf_sd

    prr2bnsf_sd TrainBoard Member

    I am currently modeling/ have carspots for (modern era):
    • autoracks
    • ethanol distributor
    • warehouse (boxcars and reefers)
    • lumber yard
    • cement plant
    • brewery
  3. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Not knowing your era, you can weather and beat the crap out of it and fill it with ties for a maintenance train.
    Kurt Moose and Hardcoaler like this.
  4. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    Prototypically, modern coal trains run as units. Very rarely will you see a coal car mixed in with a manifest freight. So unless you bought an entire train of them, this car may be hard to fit in as a coal car. However, you are right in thinking about buffer cars. BNSF mostly uses Airslides (think Scaletrains model) as buffers, although I have seen high-sided covered hoppers in use too (PS2CD type of cars). You could repaint the coal load into a stone color to represent gravel ballast. Buffer cars are usually filled with something to offer the locomotives a small amount of protection. There is a prototype for everything.

    Another option may be a bad order car that was set out from a train. You could set up a repair scenario and then use the interchange track to return the car once it is fixed. That way you could use a coal hopper outside of a regular unit train. I have seen intermodal well cars moving in mixed trains like this.

    What if you used it as scenery? I am trying to find that photo of the Santa Fe hopper up in the air used for filling trucks that drive underneath. I feel like I have seen it on a forum before. You could modify the model to serve a purpose off the rails. Maybe a scrapyard or some kind of bulk-loading facility?

    Just a few ideas that I thought of. I think we all get caught up in buying models that don't necessarily 'fit in' with our layout. My collection has a good amount of outliers, but I don't regret getting them. If you ever wanted to change or expand your layout, now you have a car for inspiration.

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Well, a 5 bay might be different for this but there are some places that used to or still do get a single car of coal at a time. There is at least one university that I know of that has it's own boiler for producing steam heat that is still used to heat all it's older buildings. They typically get a car every couple of weeks during the winter months. There are also some bigger industries that still have that same scenario for heat or other steam uses in their works. Just a thought for you.
  6. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Supporter

    Model a derailment where the car has yet to be removed.

Share This Page