The Whiting Rotaside was built from an article in the December, '79 Railroad Model Craftsman (pg85ff). It may still be in print, but if not and you wish to try your hand at one, I’d be happy to send you a photocopy.
Because that article was written to handle the much lighter mass of HO scale equipment, the mechanism I came up with to make the thing roatate is different from the article. Mine is not a thing of beauty beneath the surface- old 12v motor from a surplus shop, gears from a VCR, brass tubing, bandsaw-cut mounting brackets, etc. But it all works as intended which is all that counts. Your imagination may vary.
But the topside and the way it actually works is a per the prototype. It adds a lot of play value to the op sessions (as does actually loading the coal) and keeps me from having to go around in between sessions and handling each loaded car, dumping their contents to make them empty and ready for the next session. In fact, cars are often loaded and emptied repeatedly in a given session- a function of our model railroad distances being short compared to the prototype.
I did proto 48 for a couple years when I was pondering the change to O scale, thinking that I’d have a switching layout in P:48 and my main layout would be HO, but that was like having two wives- each needed attention. So I chose O scale and built a test switching layout in P:48 in the family room- which drew some comments. I found that while the wheel profile was very appealing, it was the overall mass of the O scale equipment that I most appreciated, and the trouble/cost it had been to convert even the few cars and locomotive I owned simply did not equal the benefit for me, especially since I was now planning to abandon the HO and would have a larger layout- too much for this lifetime to do in P:48. (The overwide track gauge is equivalent to the width of a rail head, something I could live with.) And I knew I’d want to do coal pusher operations in O scale as I’d done on HO, and the physical forces of pushing 35+pound coal trains up twisting 2%+ grades would be more than the P:48 wheels would accomodate- no matter how well I laid my track.
I have visited Jim Harper’s beautiful P:48 layout in Reno which runs flawlessly. But it is not a stress test compared to what we regularly put A&O 1.0 through.
Let us know how it comes along.