The Bachmann HO Silver Series 40' Gondola Car Southern Railway models the 40' gondola car common to the railroad industry in the 1920s. Gondolas (Note the vague similarity to the boats used in Venice) have been used by North American railroads since the early days of railroading. Still in use as a very common type of rail car, they are used to haul coal, gravel, crushed rock, steel, and many other bulk commodities.
Southern Railway: Starting with the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road company in 1827, Southern Railway grew from the consolidation of over 150 railroad companies in the Southeastern US. The Richmond & Danville had expanded its operations in the South, but overexpansion lead to financial issues. J. P. Morgan reorganized the R & D into the Southern Railway System in 1893, which was expanded in 1894 with the addition of other key routes. The Southern was a very progressive railroad, and during the 20th Century it lead the rail industry in dieselization, use of computers, unit trains, the "Big John" hopper car, and many other ideas. In 1982 the very strong Southern Railway and the very strong Norfolk & Western Railway merged to form Norfolk Southern, which became one of the two dominant rail systems in the Eastern US.
Travel Tip: The North Carolina Transportation Museum housed in Southern Railway's former major shops in Spencer, NC (Just north of Salisbury) is a wonderful place to spend time to learn more about this transportation icon of the South. A short operating railroad adds to the fun.
Recommended for Ages 14 and Up.