Re: Bulk goods, was Cement ingredients, nee': cement travel

Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>

I've been greatly enjoying this discussion on bulk materials and their shipment by rail in the purview of the STMFC list.

Gravel, sand, and crushed rock was used in great quantitites in the Toronto, Ontario area post-WWII. A radius of 100 miles was cited from that city to gravel pits as the maximum distance that profitable aggregate extraction was practical. At lest one producer outside that distance opened a new quarry 90 miles east of Toronto on CN because of this.

Coal seemed to travel far greater distances, CN getting much of its steam loco coal from mines on the IC (and thereby causing me to take much interest in IC hopper cars). The CPR had its Southern Ontario loco coal car floated across Lake Erie from Astabula OH, a lot of it in PRR H21's. Some loco coal used by the GTR and later CN in Eastern Ontario came from the BR&P and later B&O from the Punxsutawney, PA area, being car floated across Lake Ontario from near Rochester, NY.

Many Southern Ontario coal dealers got their coal supplies from the anthracite roads. The nearest source of Canadian coal (and soft coal at that) in Nova Scotia was 1100 miles from Toronto, ON. Consequently a lot of anthracite moved through Southern Ontario. A smaller market was found in Southern Quebec, with B&O and other roads' hoppers being seen in steam-era photos of that part of Canada.

A bulk good shipped from Ontario to the US was and still is nepehline syenite, used in glass-making--

A gleaming white variety was moved in boxcars from its early extraction in Eastern Ontario in the 1930's. Later, CN and then CPR "slab-side" covered hoppers carried this material to US markets. The CPR still moves this material from a mine about 70 miles north of Rochester, NY. This is an example of a raw material that moves some distance because of its rarity in North America.

As an aside, I believe that iron ore is now supplied to China, Japan, and India almost entirely, if not wholly, by Australia. Some of the world's longest trains carry iron ore from mines in the Broken Hill area of New South Wales and the Pilbara region of Western Australia to Australian ports. Consequently, US iron ore seldom is exported to these countries.

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., "mike brock" <brockm@...> wrote:

Getting back to cement travel...and actually, the travel of relatively heavy
and cheap non finished materials such as cement, cement ingredients, coal,
sand, ballast etc., I am curious about the transportation of both the
ingredients and the final product. I understand the advantages of locating
near major ingredients. The steel industry, for example, didn't choose Key
West or Kansas as a site for a major plant...although one might, I guess,
argue that both ingredients and final product would travel by water if Key
West were chosen...the cheapest form of transportation if speed was not
essential. Anyhow, back to Big Wyoming [ as the sign says when you cross
from CO to WY ], back in our time UP was moving significant amounts of soda
ash from Westvaco to Council Bluffs and KC. That is 835 miles to Council
Bluffs and one assumes it did not stop there. Note that one of the trains in
the 1956 UP frt conductor's book consists of about 50 cars loaded with
ballast traveling from Buford, WY, to Petersen, UT....439 miles. Moving that
much weight that far seems a bit expensive. So, just how far could stuff
like soda ash move before the cost of travel exceeded the value of the

Incidentally, we are considering a "clinic session" during Prototype Rails
in Cocoa Beach regarding the coal industry to specifically include coal

Mike Brock

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