Re: Mineral Service on your Roads

David Smith

There's a wealth of information in the USGS MInerals Yearbook - there's
current info online at, but
large libraries should have back issues from years of interest.

There was lots of iron ore coming out of the Adirondacks on the D&H
(Mineville, Lyon Mountain, etc.) in the steam era. Much of it went into
local steel mills, often in small ore cars, but some went to more distant
sources, mostly in underfilled hoppers. There was a large iron mine in SE
PA (Grace Mine for Beth Steel). Much of this ore would be black and sandy
in texture

Also coming out of the Adirondacks on D&H after the early 40s was ilmenite
(titanium-iron ore) for paint pigment, etc. also black and sandy-textured.
It trashed the paint on the cars it was loaded in because it was loaded hot
right out of the sintering plant. Cars were maybe half-full when fully

Transportation is a huge part of the cost of mineral materials, so
industries would always prefer to use more local sources.

On Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 1:36 PM, Gatwood, Elden J SAD <> wrote:


I have been doing a bunch more reading on minerals shipped by the
and figure you could have an interest. This may create a more interesting
through or set-out operation for you, or even an on-line industrial
interchange with your road, if we can figure out what cars were used by
roads, in this service.

We have pretty good ideas of what roads shipped coal, and iron ore, but
is a lot that can be done to ID some of the rest, some of which was shipped
in open hoppers, others in covered hoppers, and even box cars. Mineral
service was a huge amount of the traffic on most roads, even those you
wouldn't think of, so I hope we can figure some of this out.

Here we go:

Aluminum; source area usually overseas (Guinea, Jamaica, Brazil, India);
would have entered U.S. ports, most eastern.

QUESTIONS: What ports, and shipped by what roads, where destined, how
shipped? How much?

Ammonium Sulfate; by-product of coking industry; used as soil amendment,
white to yellow powder, shipped most often bagged, in box cars. Sources:
Coke Industry - Bethlehem Steel, Colorado Fuel & Iron, Crucible Steel,
Detroit Steel, Eastern Gas & Fuel, Ford Motor Co., Granite City Steel,
Steel, Interlake Iron, International Harvester, Jones & Laughlin, Kaiser
Steel, Merritt-Chapman & Scott-Tennessee Products & Chemical, National
Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical, Pittsburgh Steel, Republic Steel, Sharon Steel,
U.S. Pipe & Foundry, U.S. Steel (numerous locations), Wheeling Steel,
Woodward Iron, Youngstown Sheet & Tube (to start) If you want more details
about any of these facilities' production rates or locations, ask!

Questions: Where did all this bagged product go first, before it went to
local feed & fertilizer distributors?

Calcium Carbide: grayish-white mineral used in de-sulphurization of iron.
Also used in deoxidization at the ladle, in treatment.

QUESTIONS: Sources? Shipped by what roads? Are these the cylindrical tanks
we have seen shipped on the NYC and RI in dedicated service rack flats? How
much of this was shipped?

Chromium: blue-white ore; by 1952, 40% was coming from Turkey, 38% South
Africa, some from s. Egypt & Cuba (i.e., 79% import), with small amounts
Montana, California, Oregon, and Alabama. Used in ferrochromium production.
Most coming through ports of Philadelphia, Baltimore (others??). Shipped
most often in open twin hoppers not filled to volumetric capacity due to
weight. Most headed to specialty steel-making facilities (and small
industrial chromium coating concerns, but first through where?)

QUESTIONS: What other ports, and shipped by what roads? How much?

More minerals, later! Any input appreciated.

Elden Gatwood

David L. Smith
Da Vinci Science Center
Allentown, PA

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