Covered Hoppers



I need hoppers for my walthers adm grain elevator, my layout is based in the 1950's but im confused bettween cement hoppers and grain hoppers, dose anyone know the difference or have any photos of 1950's grain hoppers?



Cameron- In the early 1950's,


In the early 1950's, I would venture to say that most grain was still shipped in boxcars fitted with temporary grain doors to keep the product in.  My own prototype didn't own any covered hoppers until 1952 or so, and they were for dry cement lading.  

Jeff Fry  

40 foot boxcars

40 Foot boxcars and lots of them. Covered hopper for grain service really didn't start to take off until the 1960's with the advent of the 100 ton grain hopper. Some branch lines never saw covered hoppers and were 40 foot territory until the end of the 70's as the rail and roadbed couldn't handle them. Most of the short ones you would have seen in the 1950's would have been for cement, sand, or other dense heavy products. Make sure you have a pile of the wood grain doors around your elevator for those boxcars.


Thanks that really helps!

Thanks that really helps!

I have wondered about this

I have wondered about this too.  I will probably set my layout somewhere between 1920 and 1950.  Can you describe what the "grain doors" would look like.  Thank you.

Jim Dixon

CPrail's picture

There were no Grain hoppers

There were no Grain hoppers in the 50's and there woulod have been no ADM grain terminal either, what was used was 40 foot boxcars setup for grain handeling, which was usually planks stacked behind the door and when each plank was removed the grain would flow out, one of my 1st jobs as a kid was to be hired by the Grain Elevator to push the rest of the grain out with snow shovels, thats how I made my weekend money.


Hope this helps.


Mike G
Southern Interior & Cascades Model Railroad.

JawBoneRail's picture

A short history of shipping grain on railroads

Here is a link to a pdf file witten by Don Holbrook called "INTRODUCTION TO BULK GRAIN HANDLING".
It might answer a few of your questions.

Rick Luther

calflash's picture

grain doors


Modelers Choice offered some very nice laser cut ones as pictured here but they have temporarily halted production of all their products. Sunshine offers one and some have been produced in paper.

grain door



Making Grain Doors

Look at the photo posted by calflash, doodle up an appropriate pattern on paint or draw in your computer, print them out in paper width strips, cut to size and place in the occasional open boxcar door.  Making a pile of them to lay on the ground where cars are unloaded, or on a dock where they are loaded would prpbably require using wood.

Jeff Fry   

calflash's picture

informative article

I just PDFed an article from RMJ Sept '92 available online at: http// 

All you need to know and them some.


wp8thsub's picture

Re: Making Grain Doors

"Making a pile of them to lay on the ground where cars are unloaded, or on a dock where they are loaded would probably require using wood."

Unless you're modeling single-use paper grain doors of course.  I haven't seen a model of those being stacked for use - might be interesting.

Rob Spangler  MRH Blog

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