Unlike many of our structure and rolling stock builds, this is not a step by step presentation of how our CW gons have been scratch built. It is in response to a few emails I have received in the past six months asking about the gon’s that show up in some of my photo’s and where I got the plans for them. In checking our rolling stock records I found that these cars were scratchbuilt in our shops about 35 years ago. We have two classes of gon's. The 330 class and the 340 class.

(Click on an image to get a larger version.)

This is the only photo we have of the 330 class cars under construction.

This photo shows the 340 class gon under construction. Note the difference in the number and spacing of the side stakes.

Since both of these cars were scratchbuilt in our shops without the aid of plans, we recently employed a sort of "reverse engineering" process to produce scale drawings in PDF format of both classes of gon's. While these two series of cars are similar, there are some subtle but important differences such as brake wheel mounting and spacing of side stakes and pockets. These drawings, done in 8.5” x 14” (Legal Size) format for easy printing on almost any computer, can be downloaded free of charge and each include a Bill of Materials to build that car. Per request, we have also provided N scale drawings that print to 8.5” x 11” format however, the Bill of Materials on those drawings do not reflect N scale components as I have no knowledge of what is available to build these cars in that scale.

Download plan sheet for: HO Scale Standard Gauge CW 330 Class Gon

Download plan sheet for: HO Scale Standard Gauge CW 340 Class Gon

Download plan sheet for: N Scale Standard Gauge CW 330 Class Gon

Download plan sheet for: N Scale Standard Gauge CW 340 Class Gon

The observant viewer will note that there are a few discrepancies between the plans and “as built” cars shown below. In preparing the plans, I discovered that certain items such as the hand grabs that were used are no longer available so the hardware components specified in the Bill of Materials and shown on the drawings reflect items that we know to be currently available.

Both series of cars were designed to be built using the Grandt Line D&RGW Hi Side HOn3 Gon kit # 5002. As the hardware on many standard gauge cars in the late 1800’s was similar to that used on narrow gauge equipment, I felt we could get away with such considerations of economy. These cars roll on Kadee Arch bar trucks and have the road standard Kadee #5 couplers mounted.

The D&RGW narrow gauge gon’s were the inspiration for both classes of our standard gauge gon’s. Here are several recent images of one derelict car sitting in the in the Silverton yard. Such images are a great resource in studying prototypical construction practices, especially those that can be applied to model building. (See our Photographing Models page for suggestions on how to display such images for easy inspection and research.)

Download a ZIP file containing images of the D&RGW gons that were the inspiration for our cars.

A major consideration that impacted design of our cars was that they would have to handle different loads representing loose bulk materials such as gravel, sand, wood chips or railroad ties as well as large size items that might be too large or unwieldy to get into a box car without the aid of a crane such as crated machinery. That eliminated any bracing or rods that may normally be found spanning across or through the load carrying areas.

With a few changes, such as a slight difference in length and spacing of the queen post beams, these gon’s were built on the same frame that is used for our flat cars. That same frame again with changes in the size of certain components is the basis for our box cars. Interchangeability of components between cars facilitates cutting of these components in large quantity and the use of one fixture/jig to build all the frames. Mass production of components assures consistency over the entire series of similar cars and expedites the building of prototypical quantities of the same car. Visualize not one but a string of a half dozen or more of these cars being operated.

As a host, the last emotion any railroad owner wants to endure is the frustration, disappointment and potential conflict when one of his models gets damaged either by accident or by carelessness. In building equipment for the road, our main consideration is always durability. You can build a highly detailed award winning model that will look great however it may not make it unscathed through the first operating session. Hence the reason many such models sit on a shelf collecting dust or in a display case once they are completed. The ability of the model to be packed and unpacked and safely moved from railroad to railroad and to endure the punishments of operation and handling by less educated hands is always our main concern during the design and construction process. These cars have gone through this travel scenario countless times and with the exception of an occasional broken or lost brake wheel, damaged stirrup step or missing coupler spring have weathered the experience quite well. Remember, as shown in the photo’s, these cars are now about 35 years old and have never been touched up or reworked in any way.

This trip down memory lane has been long enough. Time to get back to the shops.


Additional CWRailman Projects:

Building the Post Office

Building Jolies Bakery & Cafe

Building a Drovers Caboose from a LaBelle Caboose Kit

Building Campbell's Matthews Mercantile

Building Hotel Hiser

The Tool Shed Project

Return to CWRailman Home Page

For additional information about this
or other CWRailman projects drop
me a line at: CWRailman@cox.net