The Pennsylvania Railroad and merger successor Penn Central built a total of 3,750 G43 / G43A / G43B / G43C gondolas at the Sam Rea Shops in Hollidaysburg PA from 1966 to 1970, the largest gondola fleet built by Sam Rea or any carbuilding shop in the 1960s. In other words, these cars are highly relevant! The G43 gondolas were a modern fleet of 100-ton mill gondolas with 52’6” interior length, with different design configurations for various customer applications. The G43 fleet was built to replace older gondolas with a rugged design suitable for mill (steel products), scrap, and aggregate services. Additionally, many were modified during the Conrail era with coil “racks” to transport uncovered steel coils. Many still serve NS and CSXT today in various services including coil service, as well as other revenue and MOW services. Some cars were sold to the secondary market and still operate today with leasing firm reporting marks. Also, check out our website for examples of these cars faraway from PRR/PC rails. These are not just for East Coast modelers!
All of the G43 series gondolas are easily identified by their side corrugations. This example is offline in Ft. Worth, Texas!
The similarities end there; each of the G43 sub-classes are visually distinctive from one another. The PRR G43 and early PC G43A cars have corrugations in every panel and have dreadnaught ends.
Here is another PRR car, this time out west on the Milwaukee Road’s Pacific extension on St.Paul Pass!
The later G43A / G43B / G43C cars have no corrugations in the outward two panels, as well as DSI (Despatch Shops, Inc., Rochester NY) corrugated ends.
These DSI ends applied to a PRR shops car are one of the first examples of car building cooperation for the newly-formed Penn Central – cooperation between the former NYC and PRR shops. While all cars built prior to the G43B had steel floors and conventional draft gear, the G43B cars introduced wood floors and cushion draft gear.
To prove how these cars are not only for PRR and PC modelers, here is an example waybill for PC 564855 from 1972 for a car loaded with sheet steel. This car originated on B&O at Bessemer PA, headed to Price Mississippi. The route NEVER touches PC rails. Instead, B&O hauls it to St.Louis where it is interchanged directly to the GM&O. The GM&O hauled it to Birmingham Southern (BHS).
The G43C subclass, built in 1970, were the last series of cars and returned to steel floors and conventional draft gear. Note that this one is photographed in the western US – somewhere on SP/UP/ATSF perhaps.
And if this isn’t crazy enough, here is a waybill for that SAME CAR, from 1972 (and not coincidentally, a car number that we offer in model form!). Yup, while this was a huge fleet of 3,750 of these cars, we managed to find a photo and a waybill for the same car, albeit a few years apart. This time the car was loaded with steel plates in Coatesville PA, served by PC, and was moved to East St. Louis IL to be transferred to the TRRA. Then it was transferred to the GM&O who then moved it from East St. Louis to Tuscaloosa AL. A load of steel plates like this could have gone ANYWHERE in North America.
Oh, and here is another G43C car – this time in 1979 on Cajon Pass.
While the G43 series gondolas were not permanently configured by PRR / PC for coil steel loading when the cars were constructed, a sizable portion of the fleet was retrofitted during the Conrail era to haul rolled steel coils, easily identified by their 6XXXXX numbers. These cars still operate today in NS/CSX service. Conrail 5XXXXX numbers were general service cars. PRR and PC cars also hauled coils, typically using racks made from wood.
Models of the PRR/PC G43 series gondolas have NEVER been available before in plastic, brass, or resin. The Tangent Scale Models G43 series offering follows these prototype variations. We have produced three side configurations, two end configurations, and four floor configurations, including two with coil “racks” installed to haul steel coils (which we are also now selling as separate parts). Our G43 is perfectly scaled from actual PRR/PC drawings. We have captured the look of the side corrugations, and these models incorporate full interior detailing including the side corrugations. Finally, our cars are equipped with 100-ton trucks and correct CNC-machined 36” wheels to give these gons a “beefy” modern look. Our cars have a proper depth floor, and are outfitted with Kadee® scale couplers, so the cars operate as well as they look!
Finally, check out our correct “true-to-life” colors and “hyper-accurate” lettering including exact fonts and lettering placement.
With more than 3,750 prototypes placed into service which saw nationwide service hauling many commodities, the Tangent Scale Models HO-scale replica is a perfect addition to your layout or collection. Our first production includes the 4 RTR paint schemes LISTED AT RIGHT (Click each to see photos!) – plus six undecorated kit variations.
Features for our RTR replicas include:
- Dimensional accuracy – designed from actual Sam Rea blueprints and verified with field measurements
- Highly correct “true to life” colors
- “Hyper-Accurate” lettering including exact fonts and lettering placement – compare our replicas to the prototype photos!
- Genuine Kadee® scale couplers
- “Near-scale” draft gear box with beautifully-rendered side “key” detail
- 3 specific production variations that highlight production from 1966-1970, including different bodies, interiors, with or without coil racks, different underframes, different ends. Sell off the toy trains – we do freight cars right
- “See through” brake steps
- Separate air hoses
- Lacy details – wire grab irons, coupler lift bars, and stand-off ladders and stirrup steps
- CNC-machined 36” wheels in high quality Tangent Scale Models trucks (with semi-scale replacement wheels available separately)
- Accurate 100-ton N-11 trucks with free-rolling metal wheels
- Recommended age 14 years and older
Please click on the images at right for pricing, SKUs, high resolution photos, prototype photos, car number options, and/or to order!