Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...>
--- In STMFC@..., Tony Thompson <thompsonmarytony@...> wrote:
That part is correct, but his first paragraph isn't, the switch toit became to expensive to remove).Everything Cyril says is correct...
Taconite didn't lead to a switch from triples to shorter cars, and
taconite is actually less dense than the natural ores, which is why
roads like the DM&IR were adding "Taconite extensions" to their cars.
The roads in the upper lakes region always used short cars. The
original wooden cars were only 24' or 26' long; this lead to the
pockets on the massive ore docks being this width, and this lead to
the hatches on the later steel lake freighters being in the same
modules. At this point, it was a little late to buck the trend.
Anyway, the ore roads had no need for larger cars for other
commodities; the iron ore was their reason for being… there was no
The lower lakes was a different story. Every road that hauled ore
south from the lake ports tried to haul as much coal back north to the
ports as they could; the goal being a perfect score of 100%
utilization of the car fleet. To do this, they had to size their cars
for coal, not ore. It's only after the collapse of the market for
eastern coal that they started buying short ore gons.
Where did all that coal go? Back to the upper lakes as backhauls on
the lake freighters; the boat owners liked the idea of 100%
utilization, too. Every ore loading point I can think of also had a C.
Riess & Co. coal dock, and most the coal in the upper lakes region
came by boat, not rail. Seeing an N&W coal hopper on the DM&IR back in
the day was probably as rare as seeing one on Sherman Hill :-) Once at
the upper lakes, however, this coal didn't go back to the iron ranges,
but elsewhere, so there was no chance of backhauls in the same car
fleet, and the ore cars were always a dedicated fleet that spent its
life running empty half the time.