Re: Service route for bauxite

Allen <allencain@...>

Dick and Tony,

I worked for Alcoa down in Tennessee in their smelter and often
traveled to the Massena, NY smelter. Tony is correct, the loads coming
in would have been Alumina and they were shipped in covered hoppers
(this HAS to be kept dry). Now, I worked there in the mid-1970's so my
info is from a later period but I think that the concepts were the same.

Alcoa's bauxite was typically minded off shore and coverted in to
Alumina at or near the mines. The alumina was shipped to ports in the
US. The Tennessee alumina did come into Richmond if I recall correctly
and was shipped by Rail to the smelter.

Since Massena is on or very near the St. Lawrence, I would check to see
if their's came in by ship to a port closer to the plant than
Richmond. It would have still been delivered to the plant by rail. I
do not recall Massena having port facilities of their own at the plant
but my memory on this point is vague.

As a side note, as a member of management, I was forced to work two
strikes at the Alcoa, TN plant. My job was to use a Trackmobile to
unload the alumina and to switch cars in the yard. At this time, the
alumina was delivered in air slide equipped covered hoppers.

If you are modeling this traffic, do not overlook the need for heated
black tank cars for petroleum pitch and black nasty covered hoppers for
petroleum coke. Both of these were used to manufacture anodes and
cathodes for the smelting process.

The smelters had pretty large private yards for this traffic. If I
recall correctly, it takes two pounds of alumina to make one pound of

Hope some of this is useful.

Allen Cain

Dick Murray asked:
Does anybody know the service route for shipping bauxite to the ALCOA
plant in Massena, NY on the St. Lawrence Div of the NYC during the
late 1950's? I am assuming it was shipped in covered hoppers, but was
it shipped in just NYC covered hoppers or the covered hoppers of the
different railroads on the service route?
Dick, are you sure they were shipping bauxite to Massena? When I
at Alcoa in Vernon in the 1950s, I understood it was alumina shipped to
reduction plants such as Massena.
It matters because bauxite could certainly be shipped in open hoppers,
but not alumina (much more finely divided).

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history

Allen Cain

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