Yes, the MWR cars were known for bringing inbound raw
materials for glass making. There was a rumor floating around
that some cars were equipped with roof hatches for sand
loading, but lets not go there. There is no documentation of
From the late 1800's through the 20th Century central
Indiana was full of glass manufacturing companies. They
gathered here because of cheap and plentiful natural gas used
in the glass molding process. When the gas ran out in the
early 1900's the plants tended to stay. Ball was the largest
and intimately took over many smaller competitors.
The 5.6 miles long Muncie & Western RR (MWR) was owned
and operated by the Ball Glass Manufacturing Corporation,
later known simply as Ball Corp. This small railroad allowed
Ball to connect with all railroads serving Muncie, IN: NKP,
NYC, C&O, PRR, and the Central Indiana (CI).
The Ball family had profound influence on Muncie and the
surrounding communities. There was Ball State Teacher's
college later to become Ball Sate University. And there is
Ball Memorial Hospital started at the behest of the Ball
family. In the 1930's George Ball even gained controlling
interest in the NKP after the Van Sweringan's (spelling) ran
into financial problems, or both passed away, I'm don't recall
I'll quit right there. I'm getting in over my heard. Just
be assured the Ball family had a significant influence on my
home area. Then there is collecting glass canning jars, a
whole different hobby.
And, according to Tony Koester, the cars were often
used for back-hauls of sand for the factory.
I spent a few weeks in Marion, IN in the early 2000s
rehab'ing a house for Habitat for Missionaries, and found
a closed Ball glass plant there. I think it had been
served by the NKP.