Re: West Shore Line (F&C) X31 Kits


These cars might have been assigned to flour service from Buffalo,NYArmand Premo

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gatwood, Elden J SAD " <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 7:18 AM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: West Shore Line (F&C) X31 Kits


Did the PRR have cars deicated to kaolin shipments? I've seen pix of box
cars fitted with roof hatches for that purpose, usually in the southern
states. After that, it's anyone's guess as to the bulk commodity transported
in the cars. Flour, grain, etc. are the usual suspaects, but what about light
weight pellet lading? [ plastic]??

I have never seen any notations to that effect, but that doesn't mean it
wasn't done! I have also never seen any reference to a location on the PRR
where kaolin was generated; thus, it may just be a matter of the PRR not
dedicating cars to an industry they didn't serve directly (the auto industry

I would have thought bits of pitch would be an awful load because of it's
tendency to congeal in the heat of high summer, but this is supposition? Are
you sure the load was not the tiny stone chippings that were poured onto the
pitch to make a none sticky finishing layer on the roof?

I am certainly not sure of anything, and your case is well-taken. It does
seem strange, but the notations clearly state that it was for "coal tar
pitch", and a guy I once talked to told me what (he said) it was for; that
they got ships of coal tar that was used in the roofing industry to melt down
and apply to roofs. The truth of this is open to question, but it makes more
sense than a car unequipped for liquid transport and that shows no evidence
of such, being used in liquid coal tar shipment. There were enough private
coal tar shippers to accommodate that traffic in tank cars. I do know that
USS Clairton made coal tar chips as a by-product of the coking operations,
and that they sold it, and a number of other by-products to the roofing

One relevant question is were the "roofing industry" making roofing felt; a
felted cloth soaked in pitch then coated in fine stone chippings used by
people putting a "felt" roof on a structure, or were they actually taking the
raw ingredients up on to a roof that was not whether proof and proofing it
with pitch finished with stone chips?

The roofs I have been on or torn up did not have roofing felt used on them,
just tar paper over a thin backing like heavy paper, but that also doesn't
mean it wasn't done.

Perhaps if we knew more about the roofing industry we would be nearer to
knowing what the cars carried. I don't suppose anyone knows where the cars
were loaded, this might provide the answer. if they were loaded at a coking
plant or refinery then I feel certain they carried an oil based product such
as pitch. If the cars were loaded at a quarry or stone crusher
then they carried stone chips. QED

Also, the use of stone on roofs in my area was pretty limited. I do not know
why, as you did see it in other locations, but typical commercial roofs in my
area were just plain old tar paper sealed with liquid pitch heated in a small
trailer towed behind the truck. Driving behind those stinkpots was a real
treat when trapped in traffic!

I suspect that the nature of this service was a big clue to what kind of cars
they got. Similar to the offal industry, I would guess that the PRR would
only assign cars that were on their way out, to a service that was going to
ruin them for other uses. The X31's were being selectively rebuilt for
continued general service, if in good condition, rebuilt as stock cars, if in
not so good condition, or scrapped if in lousy condition. This service was
probably one that saved these few cars from the scrap line, as with the X29s
that got roof hatches. Last service before the end....



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