Re: tank car question

Gatwood, Elden J SAD


Let's look at what we know:

1) The car was owned by Carnegie-Illinois Steel (the steel, and
incidentally, coke and coke-by-product maker), and was;

2) ...stenciled for loading with non- regulatory commodities only and had
frangible disk vents instead of
spring-loaded safety valves, so whatever oil it might have carried
certainly wasn't petroleum based, if it was oil at all, and probably
would not have required a tank heater.

3) that big plate in the end of CISX 2774 is overkill for a cleanout, and
I'm open to an
alternative explanation of its purpose, but no one has, as yet, come
up with anything more plausible.

I'm still hoping that someone on the list who knows more about steel making
than I do can come up with
an explanation (n.b. not just speculation) of what cargo those ten cars were
used to carry; we might then be better able to account for
the big round plate on the end.

OK, here are the liquid commodities used in, or produced by, the steel
industry at that point in time:


a) Light oils used in iron and steel-making facilities for lubrication (mill
machinery, for example);

b) sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, for treating semi-finished and finished
steel (which was shipped in 103-B tanks with small dome (1%) with top loading
and unloading valving, not these guys) ;

c) clay, for use in "mud" guns (!);

Not likely that products used were shipped in in CIS tank cars, but rather,


d) waste acid (usually processed close to the facility, carried in converted
open top or covered hoppers, and sump in sludge pits for treatment);

e) coal tar - highly viscous (in fact, different viscosities within a given
shipment) liquid that could require heating to get it to liquefy enough for
draining. I recall stories about what people had to do to get this, and
creosote, out of a tank car;

f) creosote; see above. The amount of creosote created at Clairton, largest
of USS' coke facilities, was 23,800 gal/day, about 2-3 tank cars per day (see
below), c. 1955 (1960 in blue). Just coincidence?


23,800 gal/day

~16,000 gal/day (Equivalent: 2 tank cars per day)

g) Others: Benzol, Pure:

~64,640 gal/day

~44,000 gal/day (Equivalent: 5.5 tank cars every day)

Benzol, Motor:

~2,800 gal/day

~2,000 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 4 days)


17,300 gal/day

11,750 gal/day (Equivalent: 1.5 tank cars every day)


6,250 gal/day

4,250 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 2 days)

Pyridine 2:

12,000 gal/day

~8,000 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car/day)

Napthalene; 78 Degree:

13,300 gal/day

~8,000 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car per day)

Solvent Naptha, Refined, #2:

620 gal/day

420 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 10 days)

Solvent, Naptha, Crude, #2:

5,200 gal/day

3,500 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 2 days)

Solvent, Naptha, Crude w/Resin:

600 gal/day

~400 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 10 days)

Picoline, Alpha:

3,000 gal/day

~2,000 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 4 days)

Picoline, Beta & Gamma:

3,500 gal/day

~2,200 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 4 days)


~1,800 gal/day

~1,200 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 6 days)


~700 gal/day

~475 gasl/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 2 weeks)


1,700 gal/day

~1,200 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 6 days)

Xylenol (Cresylic Acid):

1,250 gal/day

~800 gal/day (Equivalent: 1 tank car every 10 days)

Outbound Total (1960): 2 Box Cars and 13-14 Tank Cars (8k) per Day

~80 Hoppers of Coke per Day

ALL of this latter group are coal distillates, and so, are also
hydrocarbon-based "oils" (whether petroleum-derived or from coal) as you are
discussing them. All of them, according to various documents, were also
transported in 103 tanks, or so I have been told.

Nothing in that time period produced by integrated steel facilities (like
CIS) required transport in a pressurized vessel, as far as any of my research
has been able to uncover. The use of pressure tanks (ICC 112s) to haul
anhydrous ammonia was well into the future.


Ammonium Sulfate:

~120 tons/day (Equivalent: 3 - 40-ton box cars/day)

86 tons/day (Equivalent: 2 - 40-ton box cars/day)

Shipped to Trade (Agricultural Supply) via Railroads

Was a very commonly produced (but dry crystalline powder) by-product of that
process, which was shipped in bags to agricultural areas all over the

Oh, and wastewater, which is now treated on-site, was then just dumped into
any neighboring water body.

So, this could narrow down the list of culprits,

Elden Gatwood

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