Re: Photo: Barrels in A Boxcar (Cement)


Donald B. Valentine
 

Thank you Bob. My undrstanding from some of the oldtimers is that raw cement was shipped in barrels at 
least up into the early 1930's, if not all the way up to the beginning of WW II, but I've never seen any written
or photographic confirmation of it. The barrels I was told about were said to be normal, banded wood stave
barrels as opposed to something like 55 gal. steel drums. 

During the summer after I finished university I worked for the Vermont Highway Dept. as a concrete inspector 
while waiting to go into the military. This was back when what is now the Vermont Agency of Transportation 
knew how to build highways, an art they have since forgotten. Four of us were based at the old Miller Ready-Mix
plant off of US Rt. #4 on the New Hampshire bank of the Connectcut River opposite White River Jct., VT. The 
site had apparently been part of the Boston & Maine RR's original yard in the area before the so-called New Yard 
was constructed south of the White River Jct. depot. Thus the lease had a requirement that a certin percentage
of the inbound cement had to come by rail rather than Ft. Edwards Express trucks. All of the cement originated 
in the Glen Falls, NY area and that coming by rail came in early D&H Greenville 70 ton covered hoppers. When 
full the cement was still roughly 3 ft.below the roof of the car....as I found out when it became my turn to pulll a 
sample before an arriving load could be emptied into the storage silo. We dd not have a steel rod with a cn or 
scoop attached as one would have thought would be used. I was glad to have leather boots on my feet that day 
as I had to jump down into the car through an open hatch and fill a small pail with cement before clambering back 
out again withi it. Wih that dusty atmosphere the shower was a welcome site that evening! During a summer 
school vacation period some fifteen years ago I trucked cement from Quebec to Vermont in air differential 
pressure trailers. That's an awful lot easier way to unload such material from either a truck trailer or a railroad car.

Cordially, Don Valentine

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