Re: Sheetrock by Rail

Chet French <cfrench@...>

--- In STMFC@..., "Douglas Harding" <doug.harding@...>

I just toured the US Gypsum plant in Fort Dodge, Iowa with the CNW
Historical Society in March. We learned that Sheetrock is a
trademark name,
like Kleenex or Frigidaire. That US Gypsum has been making it since
1916 and
further that US Gypsum began mining the gypsum rock in the Fort
Dodge area
in the 1880/90's. All product was shipped by rail. Someone
mentioned the
developments along the CGW, CNW and IC in the Chicago area. All
three of
those railroads serve Fort Dodge, home of some of the largest gypsum
deposits in the country. Prior to the meat industry, gypsum made
Fort Dodge
and industrial center. It was also the birthplace of the "Cardiff
(Google that if do don't know the story). Today US Gypsum, National
and one or two others are still active in Fort Dodge making
wallboard and
related products.

Early products were shipped in boxcars. Later flats were converted
with low
bulkheads for shipping Sheetrock. Also gyp rock was shipped out in
gons, as
gyp rock was used in several other industry applications. Fort
Dodge had
some of the purest deposits to be found. The early rock was mined
underground using small mining railroads. Today it is all stripped
mined and
hauled in truck. But the plants still have rail service if needed.
The IC built two series of bulkhead flat cars for wallboard loading
late in the time frame covered here. Cars 60100-60199 were built in
1959 and cars 60200-60299 in 1960. Both groups of cars were built by
the railroad's own shop and had 6'-6 1/2" height bulkheads. More
bulkhead flat cars were built, and some existing flatcars had bulk
heads added, after 1960.

Chet French
Dixon, IL

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