Re: Salt Service

Richard Hendrickson

On Dec 12, 2010, at 4:45 AM, barryb2again wrote:

I have just bought a built-up Westerfield ATSF Bx-3 Salt Sevice box
car on eBay UK for $8.70!!!

When this item first appeared I had a rummage through the PFE bible
and found only informatiomn on the use of salt, but nothing in
regard to it's purchase, storage or distribution.

It is a fact that several companies had salt service cars, it is
obvious that they were used to distribute salt to icing stations
but what is not so obvious, to me at least, is how the salt was
moved to the distribution centres.

T&NO was close to and served the salt mines at New Iberia, La. so
gave PFE 'direct' access to a supplier, for instance. I'm
reasonably sure that others reefer operators did too.

My thoughts revolve around who and how the salt would be shipped
from the supplier, by the usual jumble of available free runners or
would PFE, ATSF etc use their own salt service cars to fetch the
salt or only transload it for distribution. Would distance from
source have been a consideration.
I won't speak for PFE (perhaps Tony Thompson will) but Tom Madden is
correct, citing John Dobyne's Santa Fe box car book, that salt for
Santa Fe ice docks came from Hutchison and Lyons, KS and was
transported system-wide in old box cars equipped with refrigerator
car hinged doors to insure that the door openings were weather-
proof. Some obsolete Bx-24 class truss rod 40' box cars inherited
from the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient were used in this service - I
have a nice photo of one converted at La Junta CO in 1947 with a
permanent placard reading "RETURN TO LYONS KANS. FOR SALT LOADING" -
and, as they deteriorated rapidly, they were replaced in the early
1950s by former Bx-3 and Bx-6 class sectional-sheathed cars, also
with reefer doors. As with cars in hide service, those in salt
service were at the end of their useful lives, could not be used for
anything else, and suffered heavily from corrosion. As the Santa
Fe's salt cars were in dedicated service, they never went off-line in

Richard Hendrickson

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