Re: Question about some transition era freight car uses.

Gatwood, Elden <Elden.Gatwood@...>


I have been researching the iron and steel industry's connections to the
railroads for some time. While the question is rather broad (if you
narrowed it down by using the names of the real industry we could
probably provide more), a "Bridge and Iron Works" may have produced
their own iron, used iron provided by others, or even received iron
shapes for assembly into bridge girders and allied structures.
Typically, while the name "Bridge and Iron Works" could have carried
over into more "modern" times, the term is somewhat archaic for the
1950's. The term "works" usually means someone who fashioned shapes
into a finished piece of a structure, but it could also be used for
someone that just made things from iron, like a foundry. It depended on
what they thought they could do for business.

An integrated facility may have received iron ore, flux stone, coke, and
additives, in open hoppers and even some in box cars or gondolas. They
could have a blast furnace on-site, from which they would get hot metal
(hot iron). A bridge-maker that utilized iron for the final structure
would not be likely by the 1950's. That would mean they would have to
convert the iron to steel by adding scrap and other additives, in
probably an Open Hearth process (BOFs and Electric furnaces were not in
common use in the 1950's, particularly by anyone other than the big
guys; USS, Bethlehem, etc.). The hot iron was shipped to the hearth in
refractory-lined cars that either looked like a pot on wheels, or in a
bottle/torpedo car. After conversion to steel, in which a lot of scrap
was added to the charge, they would cast slabs, billets, or blooms, and
would need a rolling and treatment facility to create the shapes needed
by the assembly folks. Long strips of steel, and various angles and
other shapes, would have been rolled, formed, and treated, then sent via
gon to the assembly area for assembly of finished products. By the 50's
welding was coming into its own as a viable procedure for big products,
so you may have found either riveted or welded girders.

Girders, X-frames, floor assemblies, and other structures, were commonly
shipped via flats and gons. If the structure was long, it might be
shipped in a drop-end gon (or flat) with idler cars on either, or just
one, end. There are detailed AAR drawings that show how this would have
been done, and you can get copies from the NMRA or other folks that have
the pamphlets.

For cars, you would want lots of open hoppers for the ore, flux, and
coke, some boxcars, and in-plant (only) bottles, slag cars, slab cars,
and others. For loads out; gons, gons, more gons, and flats. You would
need acid cars for the treatment aspect, and gons with mill rolls coming
in and out. Hoppers carrying waste also made their rounds.

I have a couple digital photos of loaded cars that I can send you, if
interested, but they are proprietary, so you can't publish them. When
you narrow down what you want to do, we can probably refine this even

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Gehrett [mailto:pgehrett@...]
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 1:31 PM
To: Steam Freight Car List
Subject: [STMFC] Question about some transition era freight car uses.

Hi Folks,

I'm part of a club that is in the midst of designing 2
new layouts. We want these layouts to be operations
based. We want to know the particular types of
freight cars that would be used to service some of the
industries that we want on the layout. For most of
these industries, some cars types are rather obvious.
We're also interested in knowing if there were any
"specialty" freight cars that were unique to the
industry. The general time frame for our layouts is
the 1950's. Finally, when did the grain industry
start using covered hoppers?

The list of industries is:

Grain industry
Bridge & Iron works
Paper & timber industry

Thanks to anyone that can help provide information
about freight car movements into and out of these
types of facilities. Or, if there's a website or
another yahoo group that can help, please pass that
info on as well.


Paul Gehrett

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