Re: Sheetrock by Rail

Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>

As per an article in the October 1927 B&M EMPLOYEES MAGAZINE, the Atlantic Gypsum Products Company of Newington NH shipped a full train load of its wallboard and plasterboard in boxcars on September 7th, 1927. In 1954, the B&M converted ten 40' flats built in 1923 for gypsum service with bulkheads and renumbered them into the #5300-5309 series. In 1957, the B&M purchased ten PS-5 bulkhead flats which were numbered in the #5320-5329 series. Shortly thereafter, the B&M converted another ten PS-5 flats into bulkhead flats which were renumbered into the #5330-5339 series.

The October 1927 article follows:


The first complete trainload of gypsum building materials made and sold in New England for use in New England left the new plant of the Atlantic Gypsum Products Company over the Boston & Maine Railroad on September 7th (1927). This industry which replaces shipbuilding as Portsmouth's principal industrial activity other than the Navy Yard is less than a year old.

At a time when building contracts show a pronounced recession in the country as a whole, the 26 car trainload of gypsum material (wallboard and plaster) bought by New England dealers stands as an indication of the building activity within New England. It was consigned to dealers in all parts of New England: - ranging from Boston to Bangor and from Vineyard haven to Dover.

As one of the several new industries to locate in New England in recent years, the Atlantic Gypsum Products Co. went to Portsmouth a few months ago to establish a plant which would both serve New England as well providing some products for national distribution. With a long established plant in New York and a supply of gypsum rock in Nova Scotia, the company analyzed market opportunities, transportation facilities and business conditions on the entire Atlantic Seaboard before making its decision. With speed rivaling that of war-time when Portsmouth built ships, a 65 acre plant was reconditioned, and equipment erected for converting thousands of tons of gypsum rock into wallboard and plaster. Today the plant is one of the largest and best equipped of its kind in the building materials industry.

Shipments have been made from time to time in the last six months, but the 26 car train which left Portsmouth Yards beat all records for single consignments of building materials made in New England for New England consumption.

The occasion was marked by a "dry launching," Elizabeth Raynes, the 18 year old daughter of HC Raines, VP of Atlantic Gypsum, broke a bottle of salt water from Portsmouth harbor over the pilot of the B&M locomotive when it was ready to start.

October 1927 Boston & Maine Employees Magazine

Tim Gilbert

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