Sunday, November 29, 2009


I finally was able to find a copy of plans for the ore transfer cars at Bethlehem Steel.   I had considered building it off the photos, however, it is a bit more complicated than it would first appear so I am happy to have the plans.  I printed the plans out on 11x17 paper to as close to HO scale as I could.  It is still necessary to use the printed dimensions where possible as the plans were photographed so there is some distortion.   I might build additional transfer cars in the future (Beth Steel had at least three or four I think)  but for this unit - it will be a static model, and it will be gauged to at least roll on 7' 10" track, just like the prototype.   Another modeler from the Steel Mill Modeler's group - Steel Man Jules, built a well done operational version using a Bachmann GP30 drive.  The car runs on standard HO track with false truck sideframes giving the appearance of the wider gauge.   Since I am building the prototype highline with the wide gauge track I figured I'll stay true to scale.   
Construction on this model started with the main framework - two 3/16" channels with 1/8" square cross bracing.  I used .030x.250 strip for the end plates and the same material cut-down for the floor supports.  I added a .040 deck on each end and then cut and added the bulkheads for the hopper section.  To square up the ends I built the operator cab walls.  As I wanted to keep everything square I didn't cut the doors out of the side walls yet as this would have made things weak.  I will do so after I add the cab roof panels.   Unfortunately the hopper is not just one big box - it has all sorts of crazy angles and is actually four compartments with four operating doors.  To get started with this I cut and fit the hopper ends and the two panels forming the v-shaped bottom.  I filled the space between the bulkheads and the hopper ends with a styrene platform - this is where the machinery that opens the doors is located.   Eventually I will have to cut out part of the middle of the v-shaped bottom, but only after I cut and fit all the remaining panels.  


Anonymous said...


I believe Bethlehem had 6 ore transfer cars. Numbers 2,3,4,5 and 6 are on the highline behind the blowing engine house and there is one in front of C furnace a little ways down. I was up on the highline last summer and took note of the number of cars that are left on the high line.

Jim Musser said...

Wow, I didn't realize there were that many still in existence - I think one of the cars that I've seen was a different type that was used primarily in the ore yard