Re: [EXT] Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Unloading Grain

Bruce Smith


Yes, you do need to be careful around grain. Grain dust is highly explosive so limiting dust and sparks are really very important.

FWIW, I think 5 minutes to unpoad a 50' car is pretty fast considering it took 2 men around 45 minutes to unload a 5-' boxcar by hand...

Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL

From: <> on behalf of Philip Dove <philipdove22@...>
Sent: Sunday, May 2, 2021 4:11 PM
To: <>
Subject: [EXT] Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Unloading Grain
CAUTION: Email Originated Outside of Auburn.
In 1997 I was in Thunder bay Canada standing on one of the docks. The other side of the water was a row of rail served silos and covered hopper cars were unloading I was very surprised it seemed to be taking about 5 minutes to unload a car measuring about 50' long, It would seem there is no really fast way of unloading grain even now. Are there any dangers connected with a build up of static electricity if all the grain pours out  rapidly in one direction? 


On Wed, 28 Apr 2021 at 13:57, Daniel A. Mitchell <danmitch@...> wrote:
Even in an age of low wages it must have been slow and expensive … otherwise there would have been no market for the large, elaborate, and obviously very expensive boxcar unloading machines. These things grabbed the entire boxcar, lifted it, tilted it, and rocked the entire car back and forth to pour the grain (or other commodity) out of the open door.

It’s not a lot different in principal to a coal-dumper, just a bit smaller, and does not completely invert the car (wouldn’t need to anyway, since box cars have roofs). It’s also not a one-shot operation like a coal dumper … the box car needed to be tipped back and forth a few times.

One of these things would make a fabulous model.

Dan Mitchell

On Apr 27, 2021, at 6:44 PM, mel perry <clipper841@...> wrote:

out of curiosity, has it ever been mentioned how many people were
required and how long it took to
manually unload a boxcar loaded with
mel perry

On Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 1:46 PM Douglas Harding <iowacentralrr@...> wrote:

Good photo showing the use of a “power” shovel. Note the pulley on the lower edge of the photo and the man holding the cable used to pull the shovel, via an overhead winch or motor. There should be two pulley’s, one near each edge of the door, allowing for the “shovel” to be pulled from either end of the car as the inside man is unloading. The third man in the bibs is holding a sampling cup, used to take a sample of the grain for testing purposes.


Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Bob Chaparro via
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 12:31 PM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Photo: Unloading Grain


Photo: Unloading Grain
A photo from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Libraries:
Click on the arrows and scroll on the photo to enlarge it.
As in other recent photos, hard manual labor. The man in center possibly there to sample the grain.
Bob Chaparro
Hemet, CA

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