On its customer Web site, the Union Pacific Railroad characterizes a gondola as an “extremely sturdy open design” for carrying “rugged unfinished commodities”; its “large flat interior design with side walls” is described as “more flexible than a flat car.” These qualities make the modern gondola particularly popular with the steel industry, for transportation of loose materials like scrap metal, waste, coke, and slag as well as finished products like iron or steel plate, pipe, structural steel, and rails for railroad track. Our car replicates a 52’ mill gondola, so-called for its popularity with steel mills, and carries a removable load of scrap metal that might be recycled and used to stamp parts for autos, appliances, and a variety of other products.
Other commodities commonly shipped in gondolas include mineral ores, granite slabs, gravel, logs, lumber, railroad ties, and even prefabricated railroad track, also known as “panel track.”
The name for these cars actually predates railroads. In the early 1800s, utilitarian flat-bottomed boats with low sides, used to transport coal down the Potomac River to the Washington D.C. area, were called gondolas as a spoof on the much fancier Venetian gondolas. Similarly shaped coal-carrying cars on early railroads earned the same moniker. As more specialized cars were invented for coal service, the gondola evolved into the general-purpose car it is today.
MTH Premier O Scale freight cars are the perfect complement to any manufacturer’s scale proportioned O Gauge locomotives. Whether you prefer to purchase cars separately or assemble a unit train, MTH Premier Rolling Stock has the cars for you in a variety of car types and paint schemes.
Virtually every sturdy car is offered in two car numbers which makes it even easier than ever to combine them into a mult-car consist. Many of MTH’s Premier Rolling Stock offerings can also operate on the tightest O Gauge curves giving them even more added versatitlity to your layout.