|Announced Date:||Feb 2023|
|Released Date:||Est. 4th Quarter 2023|
The Coalporter is one of the latest evolutions in the more-than-150-year history of the American coal hopper. But technically speaking, it’s not a hopper. It’s a high-sided gondola, because it lacks the bottom-opening doors that characterize a true hopper. The only way to unload a Coalporter is to turn it upside down, which is exactly what happens at the rotary unloading facilities at factories and power plants served by Coalporter trains.
The Coalporter was developed by Bethlehem Steel Car in 1978, in an effort to create a higher-capacity, more efficient coal car. The traditional bottom hoppers were replaced by twin tubs, or troughs, that filled the space between the trucks. These increased the cubic capacity of the car and gave the added advantage of a lower center of gravity for better tracking. These original Coalporters were steel-bodied, but a drop in aluminum prices in the mid-1980s opened the door to the introduction of the aluminum-bodied BethGon Coalporter in 1985.
The switch to aluminum shaved five tons off the car’s weight — meaning that each car could carry five tons of additional payload, or an additional 575 tons of coal in a typical Coalporter unit train. Coalporters generally operate in solid unit trains. One end of each car is equipped with a rotary coupler, to allow a train to be fed through a rotary unloader without uncoupling the cars. Our highly detailed Premier model duplicates this prototype feature and also offers separately added metal grab irons and a removable coal load.