Re: Hauling Sand before Coverd Hoppers Became Popular

Eric Hansmann

It depends on how the sand will be used. Lots of sand for glass factories moved in boxcars, even into the mid-1960s. Clean sand was required for good quality glass. Impurities in the sand led to imperfections in the final product. Keep in mind the covered hoppers initially moved cement as they came into use.


Large plate glass operations most likely received covered hopper loads for the quantities needed in the post-WW2 years. These larger plants had receiving areas to ease material transfer from a covered hopper to interior storage. Smaller tableware glass operations had fewer inbounds to facilities that lacked modern material transfer elements.


Years ago a friend told me he worked at a glass factory in Weston, W. Va., circa early 1960s. I asked about inbound sand. He only recalled boxcars for the deliveries. Unloading was with a flat scoop and wheelbarrow. A full wheelbarrow would be navigated across a plank bridging the boxcar with the dock door. The load would be wheeled to an interior materials bin and dumped. The process was repeated until the car was unloaded.


I’ve reviewed many West Virginia glass factory images over the years. Some plants had covered trackside materials bins for sand unloading, still with the shovel. Some plants had a pit between the track and building with an auger to pull material into the building. A metal plate would cover this when not in use. Again, the sand would be hand-shoveled into the pit. Many operations were not upgraded in the post-WW2 years so this labor-intensive work continued to the close of operations. As plastics took over many outlets for glass production, these plants struggled along with fewer jobs before closing.


How sand was delivered would have probably been by customer request. If a lumberyard, concrete operation, or foundry needed clean sand, then it would have been delivered in an enclosed car. If impurities were not an issue, then an open gondola would work. Either way, I’m certain some of the load would be lost in transit if it wasn’t delivered in a covered hopper.



Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro, TN




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Sent: Monday, June 8, 2020 9:17 PM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Hauling Sand before Coverd Hoppers Became Popular


What kind of car was used? I am referring to bulk sand from a pit that ships out sand and gravel. Perhaps this sand would not be that specialized. Wouldn't it need to be protected from the weather? On a side note, In the early 1970s (long after covered hoppers became popular) I remember a tower operator referring to an ancient gondola in a consist loaded with sand. I did not see it and wondered if it was covered.

Victor A. Baird

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