Southern Pacific W-50-3 ballast gondola as-built, 1917-1930's

Kit: SP W-50-3 Ballast Gondola (as built)


$32: Kit #100: as-built, hopper doors up. Buy.
$32: Kit #101: as-built, hopper doors closed. SOLD OUT.

Southern Pacific's W-50-3 class ballast gondolas are eye-catching models that were very useful for maintenance of way (MOW) crews. Movable doors and bulkheads could reconfigure the car for different uses. With the hopper doors up, the cars could dump ballast between the tracks. With the hopper doors down, the cars could be used like gondolas to haul rail and ties, or could dump fill out the sides by pulling a plow through a line of cars.

Hart convertible gondolas were a patented design, created by the Rodgers Ballast Car Company in the early 20th century. Hart only sold the license and design; individual car builders used these as starting points to create many wildly different Hart cars over the year. A Hart gondola from one railroad (or one order) often looked completely different to a Hart car from another railroad.

Southern Pacific's 500 W-50-3 cars were built in 1910 and 1911 by American Car and Foundry. Pacific Electric had 50 similar cars. 750 gondolas were bought at the same time by the Union Pacific, and 150 by the Oregon Short Line.

The SP cars were used across the system: upgrading track on the San Francisco peninsula, carrying dirt to raise the 1925 Sacramento depot area, or carrying fill for the Suisun Bay bridge. The SP cars had the side dump doors removed in the late 1920's, but the Pacific Electric cars kept the look of these models through the 1940's.

The SP's version of the Hart cars were done in the '60's by Silver Streak and Train-Miniature, but neither model was particularly accurate. This new kit was created from the original plans at California State Railroad Museum. It includes the iconic large truss under the cars at scale thickness and in the correct location, the operating machinery for the doors, and can come with open hopper doors in the floor of the car.

These models are 3d printed in a single piece body. Minor assembly, grab irons, end steps, brake gear, and painting are left to you.

This version has the side dump door detail, and are appropriate for layouts from 1910 through at least 1930.

Check out photos of the car below, or
more photos in our gallery.
Doors up version:
W-50-3 (as built), A end.
W-50-3 (as built), B end.
W-50-3 (as built), detail.
Stacks Image 130
W-50-3 kit as sold (top)
W-50-3 kit, as sold. (bottom)
Doors down version:
Stacks Image 134
W-50-3, doors down, A end.
W-50-3, doors down, B end.
W-50-3, doors down, detail
W-50-3, doors down, in use.