ann arbor boat-coaling hoppers

Almost as important as the idler flats, the Ann Arbor had some other  home-built cars assigned to non-revenue duty in Elberta, again necessitated by the complexities of car ferry service. With all of the original ferries powered by steam, the railroad would shove loaded hoppers into the ferry to dump coal into the fuel bins below the car deck. Unfortunately, on occasion the weight of the loaded hopper and the angle of the ferry apron would not cooperate: and the hatch doors would snag and cause spills and damage. The solution? Starting with a regular 33' steel hopper, the car shop removed the standard triangular unloading bays and fabricated a square trough-dump mechanism that had a higher clearance. Several of these cars were built over the years, and a couple survived to have their pictures taken... so I built one of each in my own 1:160 car shop. Pictures tell the story below:

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