Re: Some AC&F history lost

Ed Hawkins

On Aug 11, 2022, at 9:19 PM, MDelvec952 via <MDelvec952@...> wrote:

This week one of the former AC&F century-old buildings near St. Louis caught fire. TRRA traffic was halted to lay hose.

Photo by Tyler Sneed.

Mike Del Vecchio

Mike and others interested,
The burning plant was the former ACF Madison plant located in Madison, Illinois. A segment on pages 15-16 of Edward S. Kaminski’s book American Car & Foundry Company 1899-1999 describes some history of the ACF Madison plant, which “began its existence in 1891 as the Madison Car Company.” Other sources specify its origin in 1890.

The City of Madison is across the Mississippi River about 4 miles north & east of downtown St. Louis, Mo., connected by the Merchants Bridge built in 1890 (railroad bridge only) and later the McKinley Bridge opened November 10, 1910 (originally a railroad bridge; lanes for vehicles added in 1930). The Kaminski book explains that on March 17, 1899, ACF acquired the Missouri Car & Foundry Co., who just 11 days earlier had acquired the Madison Car Co. in what appears was a planned 3-way deal. The Missouri Car & Foundry Co. became known as the ACF St. Louis plant.

Anecdotally, Madison is adjacent to Granite City, Illinois. Since 1901 Granite City was the home of the original Commonwealth Steel Co., located just a mile to the northeast of the Madison plant. On 7/30/29 Commonwealth Steel Co. was acquired by the newly-formed General Steel Castings Corp. of Eddystone, Pa. and a year later became the Commonwealth Division of the General Steel Castings Corp. thru the remaining period of the STMFC. 

While I have not researched to any great degree cars built at Madison in 1918 and prior, the ACF Madison plant freight car production from the USRA time period to its closing adds to 63,502. The following list by car type is sequenced by quantity of cars. 

1. Box cars - 60 orders, 30,466 cars built 1918-1930 (includes 5,500 USRA single-sheathed) & 1941-1950
2. Hopper cars - 22 orders, 8,418 cars built 1922-1929 & 1941-1949
3. Ballast cars - 51 orders, 7,791 cars built 1920-1930, 1937, 1945-1947
4. Reefers - 8 orders, 4,757 cars built 1921-1927 (3,755 cars for ART)
5. Gondola cars - 20 orders, 4,572 cars built 1923-1929, 1941-1943, 1949
6. Flat cars - 14 orders, 4,105 cars built 1924-1929 & 1941–1948
7. Covered hoppers - 75 orders, 2,993 cars built 1940-1950
8. Pulpwood cars - 3 orders, 400 cars built 1948-1949

In addition were 11 orders of components built at the Madison plant and delivered to railroad car shops for either repairs or assembly as new freight cars.

9. Reefer bodies & underframes - 5 orders, 650 bodies & u/f (all for ART, cars assembled at St. Louis ART shops in 1945-1947)
10. Underframes - 9 orders, 212 u/f built 1925-1931, 1938, 1945 (for ballast cars, box cars, and cabooses) 

It’s noted that the Madison plant built relatively-few freight cars during the 1930s decade with 1,800 built in 1930 & 1,000 in 1937. 

In 1950 ACF closed the Madison plant, as well as the Chicago plant. The final few freight car orders built at the Madison plant were covered hopper cars of the ACF 1958 cu. ft. design.

Lot 3460 - GM&O 80550-80649, built 8-50
Lot 3461 - SI 4003-4025, built 8-50
Lot 3462 - SHPX 25478-25480, built in 9-50 (lease to Westvaco Chemical Division)
Lot 3475 - RI 400-499, built 8-50
Lot 3482 - RI 331-399, built ca. 9-50
Lot 3483 - GACX 40223-40233, built 9-50

Ed Hawkins

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