"Battleship" gons

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Aug 8 10:20:30 EDT 2009

Ahh, Jim. Perhaps you were there when I gave my slideshow on the High
Capacity Gons of the three roads. In researching this project, Al Kresse,
Steve Summers, and I have a reasonable belief (meaning that if anybody out
there has additional or better information, please let us know)that:

"battleship" was a term used for steel hoppers in advertising and informal
use, even prior to the advent of the HCG's on N&W.
"battleship" was, as near as we can tell, not commonly used by railroaders
themselves. However, we have some records that, after the N&W/VGN merger,
for the very brief period of time that they survived, some of the N&W men
referred to the VGN HCG's as "them durn battleships".
At various times, and possibly at various locations, the terms "Titanics"
and "holy rollers" were also used,
It appears that "battleships" as a common term for the HCG's is a
railfan/model railroader creation.
Research continues.

Frank Bongiovanni
On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:50 AM, NW Mailing List
<nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>wrote:

> So that means "battleship gon" is the wrong term for both Vgn and N&W heavy

> gons. Anyway, neither existed in 1909, so "battleship" was a reference to

> something else. All my life I have been thinking they were "battleship

> gons," and recently I have learned that the railroaders did not use that

> term. Live and learn! Jim Nichols


> -----Original Message-----

> From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org

> [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List

> Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 10:24 AM

> To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org

> Subject: RE: "Battleship" gons


> Pocahontas crews referred to the N&W 120-ton gons as "Titanics" and the

> trainmen I've talked with were unaware of the term "Battleship" regarding

> any coal cars.


> Grant Carpenter


> > The Hinton News (?) newspaper in 1905 or 1906 referred to a string of the

> > C&O's new 50-ton steel hopper cars coming into the yard as "Battleships"

> > and that they had to be segregated from their wooden cars to avoid

> > destroying their wooden FB and HB gondola cars.

> >

> > Al Kresse

> >

> > > Bluefield Daily Telegraph

> > > December 19, 1909

> > >


> > > ------

> > > Three Cars Overturned

> > > Three battleship*(1) coal cars were overturned yesterday afternoon

> at Ruth*(2) and Train No. 10 had to take the high grade*(3) at that point

> in order to make Bluefield on time. The wreck was cleared away by night.



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