PENNSYRR.COM by Jerry Britton

 PXL 20230329 122005732

The H31 was intended to be the modern replacement for the GL and GLA hopper fleet. The prospect of constructing 2,700 two-bay H31 in 1941 was dashed by wartime steel restrictions and only 711 were actually built. An additional 501 composite steel-wood cars were then built.

Cars on the PRR roster (as listed in the Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER)):

Class Car Number AAR Class PRR Oct 44 PRR Oct 48 PRR Apr 52 PRR Oct 53 PRR Oct 58 PRR Oct 63 PRR Apr 68
H31 220301 220841 HM 541 540 535 533 529 525 272
H31 222501 222670 HM 170 170 170 170 167 163 88
H31a 249990 - HM 1 1 1 1 1 1 -
H31b 220842 221641 HM 500 500 492 266 12 12 3
H31c 220842 221341 HM - - 5 225 482 475 276
Roster data compiled by Rich Orr. From


Types of trucks used

Class Car Numbers Truck Class Truck Name Qty cars:
H31 220301 220841 2D-F22C Barrett-Whitehead 541
H31 222501 222670 2D-F17A Elsey  170
H31     2D-F17a Elsey  
H31     2D-F22c Barrett-Whitehead  
H31b 220842 221341 2D-F22C Barrett-Whitehead 500
Truck data is from PRR documents circa 1940's. Other truck classes may also have been used. From



PRR 220383 H31 PRR 220301 H31 34view


The original, all-steel H31 were built at the Altoona Car Shops between March and June 1942 and had a capacity off 55 tons and featured power handbrakes from the start. The car was also unusual in that the brake line ran down the outside of the car.

The H31A has been produced by Athearn, although it is about a foot too long and has primitive, molded on grabs.

Athearn H31 hopper.


The H31A was a one-car prototype of a steel-wood car and was built in April 1942. It had wooden sides, but steel end and slope sheets.

No models have been produced of this sub-class.


Between June and July 1942, 500 H31B were built. This car featured wooden sides, end and slope sheets.

The H31B has been produced in brass by Overland.


The H31C were postwar conversions of the H31B. The first car was converted in 1949 and the others did not follow until 1951. A maximum of 482 were converted by June 1957. The wooden side, end and slope sheets were replaced by plate steel.

The H31C has been produced in brass by Overland.