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With the advent of the war in Europe, the Pennsylvania Railroad found it needed to augment its already vast fleet of gondolas, even though it owned more this equipment than any other road. It did this by producing 2000 cars of a new design. The new design, designated the G29, included all steel construction with welded underframe, tight Dreadnaught ends, solid bottom and wood floors. The standard for gons had recently changed from 40' to 46' inside length and the Pennsy followed suit. The cars used National Type B-1 trucks. These were 70 cars, considerable capacity for these size cars.

 The Pennsy built the G29's to withstand the rigors of the mill trade and crude loading practices. Gondolas of similar design and purpose on other roads suffered from a sag in the car centers from heavy use. The Pennsy corrected this problem by extending the side sheet downward past the floor to form a continuous side sill. This resulted in a car with deep side sheets. The G29's were 70 ton cars and their sturdy construction is indicated by the relatively high 51,500 lb. light weight.

The cars were primarily intended for mill products. The Pennsy originated more traffic from the nation's mills and foundries than any other road. The G29 was absorbed into that service immediately. The 46' length for gondolas in thr late 1930s and early 1940s was dictated by a particular need. The structural steel shapes for construction were typically produced in increments of 8' plus a modest overage. This meant most "H" and "I" beams were in the range of 42 to 44 feet. Similarly, rails were 39' long. The 46' gon length was ideal. The G29 could handle coal, limestone and other commodities, as well. For these purposes, the cars had a heaped cubic capacity of 2036 cubic feet.

The cars were highly durable, There were 1989 cars in revenue service in 1956 and they made it into Conrail service. In the years following World War II, a minority of the cars were given nailable steel floors when repaired. The project was never completed. (Source: Sunshine Models)


With the U.S. entry into WW II and restrictions on the use of plate steel for other than military production, the next series of G29's were "war emergency" composite cars. Five hundred cars with 50 ton capacity and 500 with 70 ton capacity were built in 1942 to a new composite design of an outside steel frame and wood sheathing. The 70 ton cars were classified the G29A and placed in the 357354-357853 series. The 50 ton G29B's were placed in the 349000-349499 series. The cars of two different weights were indistinguishable.

In appearance, the composite construction was a return to the technologies of the USRA era, but the composite G29 remained otherwise a modern design, retaining its original welded underframe. In addition to the composite side design, a thinner end with simple rectangular corrugations was employed. this necessitated the use of wood lining inside to protect the ends.

The Pennsy built the G29's to eliminate the habitual sag in the gondola centers from heavy use. On the G29, the Pennsy extended the side sheet downward past the floor to form a side sill. This resulted in a car with deep side sheets. The same effect was created on the composite car, though this was now an open frame below the floor.

In 1948, all 1000 gons were still composite cars, but by 1953, 399 G29A and 408 G29B cars had been resheathed with steel and new ends added. Forty G29A composite cars remained in 1956, however. (Source: Sunshine Models)

Types of trucks used:

ClassCarNumbersTruck ClassTruck NameQty cars:
G29 357854 358653 2E-F17 National Malleable 800
G29 358654 359153 2E-F18 Young 500
G29 359154 359553 2E-F20 Elsey  400
G29 359554 359853 2E-F19 Barrett-Whitehead 300
G29     2E-F17 National Malleable  
G29     2E-F18 Young  
G29     2E-F19 Barrett-Whitehead  
G29     2E-F20 Elsey   
G29a 357354 357853 2E-F18 Young 500
G29a     2E-F18 Young  
G29b 349000 349402 2D-F22C Barrett-Whitehead 403
G29b 349403 349499 2D-F23 Allied Full Cushion 97
G29b     2D-F23 Allied full cushion  
Truck data is from PRR documents circa 1940's. Other truck classes may also have been used.
From prr. railfan.net.

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

ClassCarNumberAAR ClassPRR Oct 44PRR Oct 48PRR Apr 52PRR Oct 53PRR Oct 58PRR Oct 63PRR Apr 68
G29 357854 359853 GB 2000 1998 1994 1992 1984 1975 110
G29a 357354 357853 GB 500 500 176 51 27 27 3
G29b 349000 349499 GB 500 500 168 75 33 32 2
G29c 357354 357853 GB - - 323 447 468 465 5
G29d 349000 349499 GB - - 332 424 465 465 3
G29e 375353 - GB - - - - 1 1 -
Roster data compiled by Rich Orr. From prr.railfan.net.

The G29

PRR 357854 G29 E12893 050341 34view

Featured steel sides, wood floor, fixed dreadnaught ends, straight sill, and straight underframe.

The G29 was offered by Sunshine Models (out of business). Funaro & Camerlengo offers the G29 as a resin kit.

8221thumbFunaro & Camerlengo G29 Gondola

The G29A

Featured composite sides, wood floor, fixed ribbed ends, straight sill, and straight underframe.

The G29A was offered by Sunshine Models (out of business).

The G29B

Featured composite sides, wood floor, fixed ribbed ends, straight sill, and straight underframe.

The G29B was offered by Sunshine Models (out of business).

The G29C

Featured composite sides, wood floor, fixed ribbed ends, straight sill, and straight underframe.

The G29D

Featured composite sides, wood floor, fixed ribbed ends, straight sill, and straight underframe.

The G29E

Featured steel sides, wood floor, fixed ends, straight sill, and straight underframe.