No. 86: C&O 300-class Rebuilt Covered Hopper


C&O had a few small classes of covered hoppers, rebuilt from coal hoppers, that I have always wanted to model.  I finished my HO scale model of a C&O 300-class rebuild covered hopper this week and wanted to write a post to wrap up that project.

The original cars were two-bay coal hoppers that were delivered in 1937 to C&O by General American, C&O series 118000-118999.  C&O rebuilt 50 cars with new peaked roofs, rebuild interiors, and new hoppers and gates in 1937.  The new cars were called “Dry Bulk” cars and were assigned numbers 300-349.  C&O rebuilt them again in 1951.  Here are two photos of the cars after the first rebuilding in 1937.


C&O 349 Cov Hop Broadside

I used one of the beautiful Intermountain C&O hoppers as my starting point–one that looked kinda like this but with flat ends:


First I built an identical peak on each end, then installed a roof made of sheet styrene.  The hatches are from Detail associates.  I also added ribs per the prototype and rivet detail using archer rivets.  I used hopper gate details from a Funaro and Camerlengo kit.  The running board and laterals is all scratchbuilt.  The trucks are from Tahoe Models Works–they’re Double Truss type with semi-scale wheelsets.

I made two noticeable errors with my model.  First, the rib detail on the roof of my model is a lot more pronounced than on the prototype.  If you look at the prototype photo, the ribs are flat–in fact they could be just seams instead of ribs.  So I really overdid it there.  Also, the sides of the roof are not supposed to be flush with the ends.  While that detail isn’t quite as noticeable, I know it’s wrong.

I didn’t take photo of my car until after I sandblasted the car and applied the first coat of paint (below).  Here you can see that the rib detail on my model is a lot more noticeable.


The model sat in my “cars under construction” box for two years and recently I took it (and a lot of other cars) out for finishing.  Here is the car after decals (below).  I used the Microscale HO set, but had to fudge on quite a few of the numbers.  For example the Load Limit should be 121,000.  The Light Weight and Cubic Feet is also incorrect.


To finish the model, I painted it with two coats of my “special Dullcote” which is about 40% Testors Dullcote, 40% Testors Glosscote, and 20% thinner.  When that was dry I gave it a second coat, only with this coat I added a little black paint.  That tends to help blend all the colors and shades together.  The decal films is showing up a little bit in the brightly-lit closeup below.


Then I carefully weathered the model with a little AIM white weathering powder, and I over-did it of course so I went back over it lightly again with Testors semi-gloss black.  I added a few additional cement streaks with white Tamiya water color paint.  I weathered the underframe with AIM Earth dry powder.

The key here–at least to me–is not over-doing the white streaks.  A little is okay.  A lot often just doesn’t look quite right.  It is very easy to over-do white weathering.  Besides, I don’t run a filthy railroad.

Chalk marks were added with a white artist’s pencil.  When I felt like I was done I sealed it all with a few light oversprays of clear Dullcote.


I like this car a lot.  I doubt any ever made it to the M&StL lines, but it’ll fit in when I operate NYC or SAL equipment.


Both NYC and C&O had some rebuilt USRA two-bay hoppers that were used in dry bulk service that would be easy to model as well.  Frisco had some cool rebuild covered hoppers made from two-bay panel side hoppers.  Now if I could only find some decals…

I hope you all have a blessed Easter celebration!

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.”

Jesus (3)



7 thoughts on “No. 86: C&O 300-class Rebuilt Covered Hopper

  1. Good information, as usual John.
    I appreciate your Easter post … it’s the Truth and the Truth will set you free.
    Happy Easter to you and your famly. BTW, remember that Chocolate, marshmello, bunnies and chewy, Peeps go on sale monday morning!


  2. Happy Easter, John.
    I do love those early covered hopper conversions. Your model turned out great! It’s always nice to finish one that’s been ‘in process’ for awhile. I have too many of those myself. Well done!


  3. Thanks Todd! Great to hear from you. I’ve been too busy here and have been a bad friend. I hope you and the family are doing well. John G


  4. John,

    Looks great. Seeing the progress you’re making with some of those “shelf queens” is motivating me to get through the last of the unpacking and getting settled in the new house and get back to the modeling desk!
    Take care,


    • Thank you Marty! I’ve admired your work for decades–ever since I read about your work in MR all those years ago. Keep on truckin’, man–I can’t wait to see what you have planned for the empty basement! – John G


  5. Very nice work. I’ll be stealing the idea -but in S scale!

    Besides the ribs, it appears that the prototype hatches sit closer to the roof than the DA parts. Still, captures the look of the prototype well.


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