ddblogosmall.jpg (12685 bytes)




souf7a2db.jpg (67894 bytes)
The grungy F-unit epitomizes the Interstate mine runs of the late 1960s.

The biggest challenge to modeling the Interstate in the Southern era is HOPPERS.  I will need around 200 hoppers to be able to operate prototypically, and many of the classes I'll need just aren't manufactured.  I'll be doing a LOT of kitbashing and scratchbuilding!

soushadow.jpg (27570 bytes)


From 1968-1971, the Interstate used a variety of Southern four-axle EMD power.  F-units and GP7s began to be replaced by new GP38s just before the turn of the decade.  For the D&DB, I only need enough Southern locomotives for one mine run (2 engines) plus one hill crew (3-5 engines).   I figure this list is a good start to be able to swap a few engines out between sessions:

2 x F7A (Intermountain or Athearn)
1 x F7B (Intermountain or Athearn)
1 x F3A (Proto 1000)
2 x GP7 (Proto 2000)
2 x GP38 (Athearn kitbash and Atlas)


Hoppers on the Interstate in this era included three major classes: 100T "Big Reds," 70T triple hoppers and "yellow balls."  I figure I will need my hopper fleet to be about 1/2 yellow balls, 1/4 70T and 1/4 100T . 

tint50tbdb.jpg (9948 bytes)
Repainted Interstate hopper kitbashed from Athearn car

"Yellow balls," or transloader shuttle cars, in this era were either old Interstate 50T cars or Southern hand-me-downs of various classes including offsets, war-emergency rebuilds, old Central of Georgia hoppers, etc.   Many had their sides extended to hold extra coal, and they were all beat up by the rotary dumper at Westmoreland's transloader in Appalachia.  I intend to use a mix of the following to represent my yellow ball fleet:

Interstate hoppers of various classes
- Accurail USRA 55T cars
- Bowswer GLa hoppers
- Athearn ribside hoppers (kitbash - deribbed and shortened to 30 feet in length)
- Atlas 55T offsets (Southern hand-me-downs, some with extended sides)

tdbsr50t.jpg (10256 bytes)
Old Southern offsets built from Athearn kits

Old Southern cars
- Athearn offset-side hoppers (some with extended sides)
- Proto 2000 war-emergency rebuilds (some with extended sides)

The 70T car fleet is easily represented using Atlas 70T hoppers. These will all have detail upgrades to remove the molded-on grabs and to add subtle differences to represent different orders, manufacturers and shopping (heap shields, different heights, stiffeners on the top of the sides. etc.).

tsou100tbdb.jpg (8979 bytes)
A scratchbuild 100T "Big Red." I'll need about 40 of these.  Want to help?

The 100T "Big Red" fleet is a problem--no one makes a similar hopper.  I guess I'm stuck scratchbuilding these.  The Southern used both 4-bay and 6-bay cars.  I've scratchbuilt one so far (pictured), but I need about 30-40 of them!  In the interim, I plan on using more 70T cars to represent the Southern's non-yellow-ball fleet.


The Southern used primarily ex-Interstate cabs for mine runs.  I'll probably have to scratchbuild these, but I'm playing around with a couple of Atlas Trainman cabs to see if I can come up with a reasonable facsimile.  The good news is I only need 2-3 cabs.

lnshadow.jpg (15638 bytes)


The L&N of the late '60s used a mix of 6-axle locomotives including U25Cs, U28Cs, U30Cs, C628s, C630s, SDP35s and SD40s.   Most of these are available as models, though the U25Cs may be conspicuously absent for a while until I get all those Big Red hoppers built.


tln80tbdb.jpg (8653 bytes) tln133004b.jpg (9531 bytes)
An 80T PS3 and a 60T SLS rebuild, both kitbashed from Athearn hoppers

L&N hoppers are a bit of a challenge because no one manufactures a PS3 3-bay hopper--the backbone of the L&N's fleet in this era.  I've already kitbashed a few 70 and 80T variants by cutting and splicing Athearn ribside hoppers, but I've recently discovered that the Atlas 70T hopper has dimensions that are very similar to a PS3. This will mean a de-rib/re-rib job instead of all the cutting and splicing.  Another common car on the L&N was the 60T South Louisville Shops rebuild.  These can be made from a pretty straightforward kitbash of Athearn ribside hoppers as well. 

Until I can get enough PS3s and SLS rebuilds kitbashed to make up the L&N interchange traffic, I intend to use hoppers from other railroads (e.g. Clinchfield and maybe C&O) as well as a higher-than-prototypical mix of non-hopper cars.  

nw2shadow.jpg (22234 bytes)


I've already built more N&W engines than I'll ever need on this layout.  These include power typical of the area like GP9s and 18s, SD40s and SD45s.  


tnwh11-1bdb.jpg (9253 bytes) tnwh112db.jpg (9243 bytes)
Two H11 variants built from Bowser kits

At last!  A hopper fleet that's easy to model!  The N&W's fleet consisted mainly of 100T H11-class hoppers.  These are easily built from Bowser 100T hopper kits.  The many variations mean a little kitbashing is in order. 

Other hoppers I'll need in the N&W interchange lineup include a few Virginian and Nickel Plate hoppers (simple kitbashes) and a few scratchbuilt N&W H10s (I'll get to these after the Southern Big Reds).

Click here to see photos of the layout.

site links: home | prototype | layout | operations | modeling | photos | crew