Re: Depression era / pre-WWII Covered Hoppers?

Rufus Cone

In the NPRHA's The Mainstreeter, Vol 8 No. 4, Fall 1989, I with Matt Herson covered the "Acquisition of Covered Hoppers" by the NP, using primary sources from the NPR corporate records at the Minnesota Historical Society.  This covers only two-bay covered hoppers.

By May 1940, NP had leased 30 1958 CuFt covered hoppers from General American Car Co., stated in correspondence to be copies of ACF Plan 6147192-B 70 ton cars.

Arsenic, from smelters in Tacoma and Butte, was a commodity for which they anticipated the cars  to be used in addition to cement.  Covered hoppers owned by URT were already in service between Billings and Chicago handling sugar for Mars, Inc, and much later NP acquired Airslide cars for that type of service.  Early operations of those cars are described.

For those who may be interested, deliberations started in 1934 with the Western Association of Railway Executives (WARE), with member roads CB&Q, C&NW, CGW, MSP&P (MILW), Rock Island, GN, M&StL, MStP&SStM, NP, and UP.  Details are provided on the varied thinking and interactions.

Scanned copies are sold in the NPRHA Company Store,0,4/qx/store.htm

Rufus Cone
Bozeman, MT

On Oct 14, 2015, at 5:29 PM, amwing1588@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

Does anyone know if Covered Hoppers were used prior to WWII (Late 30's to early 40's) that may have found they're way West of the Mississippi? ............   Did any Western Roads have them or at least had common interchange services that would have use them? Lastly, is there a good reference that covers the design type, loads carried and which roads used them the most.  ........
John Miller

Volumes 27, 28, & 30 of Railway Prototype Cyclopedia devote 250 pages mainly to purpose-built ACF-design 1,958 cu. ft. covered hopper cars. Some were built before World War II not only by ACF but several other builders. As part of the introduction to the ACF design in Vol. 27, also discussed are some early conversions of HM hopper cars into covered hoppers.

A number of railroads having significant trackage west of the Mississippi River purchased cars of this type before the early 1940s. In addition to those already mentioned (ATSF, M&StL, UP) are CB&Q, GN, IC, KCS. MILW, MP, NP, RI, & Wabash. A few others likely found their way west of the Mississippi River that include private owner ILDX (General Electric) and SHPX cars leased to Aluminum Ore Co.

Volumes 27 and 28 are sold out at the publisher while Vol. 30 was released just 3 weeks ago. Some book or hobby dealers might have remaining stock of 27 and 28. 

Ed Hawkins

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