Thursday, 18 August 2016

Erie ARA 70-ton 4-Bay Hopper - Decals?

Like many modellers, I acquired many ARA 70-ton 4-bay hopper over my collecting life without even trying to do so. This particular design – while seldom used by most railroads – was very popular among model manufacturers. Most trainset were provided with this car, most of the time with wrong paint scheme. At some point, I came to outright hate the model for its lack of use since most of the time, generic coal hoppers are 2-bay and 3-bay.

However, the fun thing is that Erie was one of the few select road that used extensively the ARA-designed hoppers. Since my goal with Harlem Station is to get rid (read find a new use) for cars I no longer need and that up space, repainting them as Erie would be a great solution.

I actually own about 7 of these cars, mostly Bachmann and Lionel (HO). Once converted with Kadee couplers and metal wheels, they are good runners. Also, painting them in black as Erie did is a good way to minimize the oversized ladders and grabirons.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any suitable decals for larger Erie hoppers. It could be done using several sets, but before ordering anything, I’d like to know if some readers are aware of good decals that could be used for this project. The recent BLI release gives a good idea about what I’m trying to achieve.


  1. Matt, I may be able to help, I'll be in touch soon.....

    1. Perfect! If it doesn't work, I have other options using old Campbell dry transfer for 2-bay hoppers and fudging the numbers. It could even be done using boxcar lettering.