McKean Hopper Topper Review
McKean Hopper Topper...
McKean made a hopper topper kit that provided a very
unique addition to a Chessie railroad. Unfortunately, they are no
longer in business. All is not lost however, as these kits come up
from time to time in eBay or at train shows. Chessie ones were yellow
and Conrail ones were white. You can paint either with UP Armor Yellow
to make very accurate hopper toppers. There are a few drawbacks to
the kit in that they don't come with decals. Toppers had "Chessie
System" painted on each end and either "B&O" or "C&O" in the bottom
right corner of each end. The kits also do not have any side detail
showing where the topper was secured to the side of the hopper. But,
with only this being the only kit ever produced of a hopper topper, beggers
can't be choosers.
Expect to pay $5-10 for a kit (each kit contains two lids).
This is a little steep, but since they are no longer made and are so representative
of Chessie's railroad practices, I highly recommend you buy any you get
your hands on. I have found 4 kits (8 lids) over time and will buy
any others I see.
As background information, hopper toppers were temporary
lids added to hoppers to make them into covered hoppers. These lids
were normally added to handle surges in the grain harvest and lulls in
the coal business.
Below is a pic of a real hopper toppers in use.
Dean Heacock Photo
Below are pics of some of my lids ready to go on hoppers.
These kits fit the Bowser 100T hopper perfectly. No need to glue
them down as they fit so well.