Covered Hoppers - for Cement

Jim Betz

Hello my knowledgeable friends,

My knowledge is less than complete about the topic "covered hoppers
in cement service. It seems like every time I learn one part of this
type of service - it only brings up new questions ...

I know that the GN first started experimenting with 70t covered
hoppers for this service very soon after WWII ('46) and then did
fairly large orders of them in '48 and '49.
I also understand that cement service was more of a"regional
thing" than a trans con service - because there were/are cement
plants in almost every region of the country - and cement is a
fairly heavy commodity. And it is often used for big projects such
as the building of a dam, expansion of the interstates, etc. The
results of these facts were that, for the most part, cement
hoppers tended to be in 'captive service' and it was fairly rare
for them to be interchanged to more than one 'other road'.
Most cement hoppers seem to have a 'range' of "about 200 miles
or so" - which probably directly relates to how far it is between
the various cement producing plants.
The end result was that you see/would see "cuts of cars" that
were usually from one parent road. Such as a cut of GN cars
going to/from a particular cement plant ... and also to/from
a particular consignee.
I've studied as many pics as I can and have the following

1) What was the 'source' (reason) for seeing a few cars
from other roads in the same cuts of cars? Were
these cars likely to be on a 'permanent short/long
term loan' kind of deal where they stayed in the
same service for a few trips (or many)?

2) I have often seen something like an SSW cement hopper
in a cut of mostly SP cars. I'm guessing that SP was
'maximizing the use of their fleet of hoppers' when
that happened. Correct?

3) Were there definite changes in the cement usage that
occurred - during the STMFC era (i.e. this list) - that explain
some of the 'anomalies' I've seen?

4) Were the hoppers ever used to transport other commodities
- such as sand - TO the cement plants or did they go to the
plants empty and leave the plants loaded.

5) How long after the introduction of cement hoppers was it
before they took over - carrying by far the majority of the
bulk cement hauls? I'm guessing that it was at most a
decade because it has to be a superior (less costly) way
to transport bulk cement.

6) Does any one know what the percentage of bagged cement
in box cars was "by the end of the STMFC era"?

If most/all of this is answered by looking stuff up on the web -
PLEASE point me to the site(s). What I have found are sites
that are focused on the -current- cement industry - and a few
web sites that cover "what happened for the building of the
Grand Coulee Dam" and other such major projects ... but only
for individual projects.
What I did not find is a site that covers "the history of the
cement industry" ... and especially that part of it that involves
the use of covered hoppers.
- Jim B.

P.S. I find it interesting that covered hoppers for cement service
(and a few other special commodities) rolled out so -long-
before the grain industry tumbled to using similarly
designed cars. Go figure ...

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