We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Gondola Car?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Contrary to popular belief, not all railroad cars are the same. A gondola car is just one example of a freight car that has its own specialty, and therefore its own look. Typically, gondola rail cars feature low walls and open tops, and are best for carrying bulky or dense material. The railroad gondola car was named after the gondola boats often found in Venice, which are long, narrow boats typically used to carry passengers around the area. A gondola car has low sides and a flat bottom, much like the original gondola boats.

The characteristic low walls allowed such cars to be easily loaded and unloaded with heavy materials. Shortly after the 20th century began, the ability for gondolas to be unloaded from the bottom was invented. The flat bottom became a chute that was controlled by a lever, only to be pulled when the train was stopped, and the materials ready to be dropped off. The cargo was usually pushed toward the side of the car, ready to be carted off elsewhere.

At this time, the gondola car was still made of wood. The chute required a change from wood to steel construction, since only metal was strong enough not to buckle when the car's contents were dropped off in such a way. Since then, there have been other changes as well. For example, while the side dump model uses hinged sides to drop the cargo off to the side, the drop bottom type dumps the contents underneath the car. The two types are typically easy to spot, since one has side hinges and the other has them only on the bottom.

Not long after the method of dumping cargo was changed, the height of the sides of some cars was altered, as well. A gondola car with higher sides is fittingly called a high side gondola, and can be requested by the customer if the loading requirements demand it. Additionally, there are now some gondola train cars that are covered, particularly to protect expensive cargo from inclement weather.

A gondola car is typically used to transport material that is bulky or dense. This could include scrap metal, steel beams, poles, coils, lumber, logs, and even premade parts of railroad tracks. Additionally, gravel, coal, and woodchips have been carried in this type of railroad car since its invention.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WikiMotors, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WikiMotors, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.