Think granules and smaller commodities. These cars were of course heavily
used in cement and sand, and some sands like that use for making glass was
a very highly valued commodity (think pricey) but also think in terms are
garnet and slate for roofing shingle and sidewall shingles; however, the
sideway shingle never really caught on in California. But granules is a
different story. You should research the asphalt shingle business that was/is
based in Fontana and I believe it is GAF (General American Felt) now but I am
not sure I think it was not always that way it may have been Malarkey in
the sixties and up until the seventies. There was/is a granule move from the
source outside of the Fresno area to the plant in Fontana.... The two
commodities GAF/Malarkey needed was granules and asphalt to add to there felt
product to create the shingles and Southern California was certainly a large
enough market that it demanded a manufacturing facility.
Also remember all the colored rock roofs in the fifties and sixties? It
moved in two bay covered hopper to bulk yards were it was bagged (of course)
and reloaded to trucks to be moved to
Diatomaceous earth was another huge business starting in the
early sixties, think pool filter systems. This was another highly valued
commodity that it was moved in bags and cars to bagging plants.
Again, the Santa Fe and the other Southern California railroads wanted to
protect their markets so the east coast markets couldn't penetrate their
business. But even today when the east coast markets are getting soft
(today think of Oriented Strand Board/Wafer Board) because product supply is
long the east coast manufactures will dump product west to protect their
pricing on the eastern seaboard.
Who replaces a slate roof with Asphalt shingles in the dead of
winter in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio? The plant/mine has
to run lest you layoff your work force so where do you ship you product?
To warmer climates and that is why I say never say never.
This would be a great study/presentation for the club if you could get
them to think of something other than DCC for sixty minutes.
BTW all those three bay hoppers think that are coming over the
Tehachapi's are not just grain, think granules from Fresno. I know this
because the company wanted to beat the BNSF freight rates by
moving the product through our (UP) Colton Facility because of
the old plastic granules silo's left from Philip-Chevron.
Buy the car and if someone ask just tell them that it was a price
protected market move from Western Pennsylvania mines with granules to the
roofing plant in Fontana, rare but doable.
I hope this helps.
Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through
In a message dated 1/23/2015 10:54:29 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
Thank you, Greg.
I appreciate it. I was somewhat
sure there were no commodities that would warrant shipment so far off line
so as much as I'd like to have the Bowser model on my Southern
California-based layout it looks like I will have to pass. But I still
need more PRR boxcars.