Login Register

Bethlehem 70-Ton Riveted Drop-End Gondola

Tangent Scale Models is pleased to now offer the 52-6 riveted 70-ton drop-end gondola car as designed and produced by Bethlehem Steel. First produced in March 1937 for Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as class O-59, B&O alone purchased 4,000 of these drop-end gondolas which served every corner of North America in many services. Five additional railroads purchased these Bethlehem-design gondolas in intervening years until production ceased in 1957, with some going to second-hand owners as well. Most of these gondolas were phased from revenue service by the mid-1980s, with many serving additional years in various MOW roles.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the largest purchaser of these cars, starting in 1937. We have offered the 1937 cars in the past, so let’s look at this photo of one of the last B&O series delivered, this one in 1941.

The “Anthracite Roads” purchased these cars in large numbers, which is no surprise because Bethlehem Steel was directly and indirectly served by many of these railroads. The World War II years were especially prolific for production; Lehigh Valley’s second order was delivered in 1942.

While these cars were delivered during the steam era, they lasted well into the transition and diesel eras. In 1970, a group of Lehigh Valley cars were sent to Washington, Indiana for a rebuild program at United State Railway Equipment (USRE). These cars emerged in flashy bright green paint, as evidenced in the Lehigh Valley Color Guide. 18 years later, deep into the Conrail era, they weathered into a muted color but proudly wore the flag of the “Black Diamond.”

Our models include many features found on these very common prototypes. You want these beauties on your layout!

For example: note the wood floor at left, and the steel floor at right. Also notice the “conventional” underframe at left and the Duryea underframe at right. Finally, note the “wine” tie downs at left on the top of the car (for tying down lading) and no tie downs on the right. Our models come with correct floors, underframes, and tie down apparati for the schemes they represent.

Bethlehem Gondola R1 Interior Comparison

Here are a few other selected photos. More can be seen – and cars can be ordered – by clicking in the grid at the right side of this page.

Our motto is “Unparalleled scale replicas for discriminating railroad modelers”.  We hope you’ll agree! Our Bethlehem 70-ton riveted Drop-end Gondola replicas include:

  • Dimensional accuracy – scaled exactly from Bethlehem Steel plans
  • Highly accurate “true to life” colors
  • Exact fonts and lettering placement – compare our replicas to the prototype photos on our website!
  • Detail variations: Tie downs appropriate for each paint scheme
  • Detail variations: Steel or wood decks inside the car
  • Detail variations: Duryea or conventional end sills appropriate for each paint scheme
  • Detail variations: End door variations (Dreadnaught and Straight Corrugated) appropriate for each paint scheme
  • Detail variations: Tack board locations appropriate for each paint scheme
  • Detail variations: Brake platforms appropriate for each paint scheme
  • Detail variations: Handbrakes applied to match production specifications (Universal, Ajax, or Equipco handbrakes available as separate parts, too!)
  • Interior deck sits at the scale height
  • Interior detail inside the gondola
  • Wire grab irons and coupler lift bars
  • Separate air hoses
  • Weighted to NMRA specs for smooth operation
  • Genuine Kadee® scale metal couplers
  • Tangent 70-ton ASF A-3 Ride-Control trucks
  • CNC-machined 33” wheels in high quality Tangent Scale Models trucks, with semi-scale wheels available separately
  • Recommended age 14 years and older.

Do not miss out on this popular Bethlehem 52’-6” 70-Ton Riveted Drop-End Gondola! Pricing for our new RTR gondolas is $38.95 each.

Please click on the images at right for pricing, SKUs, high resolution photos, prototype photos, car number options, and/or to order!