Re: stockcar (WAS: hopper) loads

Gatwood, Elden J SAD <Elden.J.Gatwood@...>

Along with the steel industry, most every small foundry in the country used
coke, and well past the end of this list's timeframe. There also used to be
more on-line small foundries than you could shake a stick at.

In the period of this list, several RRs had converted cars, as well as those
purpose-built cars (like the PRR H22). The PRR had a small group of very
cool converted USRA single-sheathed cars classed as GTC26, that had their
doors and roof removed, as did other roads. They also had converted gons (GS
or G22) with extended slatted sides, which they also used for other low
weight things like scrap tin. I have a couple cars converted for coke (G27A
and G36), but so far mine are restricted to carrying those purpose-built coke
containers, befitting my era.

This whole sub-industry would make a fascinating modeling topic! I am sure
that someone is doing it.

Elden Gatwood


From: [] On Behalf Of Andy
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 10:00 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: stockcar (WAS: hopper) loads

Our modern association of coke with the steel-making industry tends to
obscure the advantages that such a slow-burning, high-heat, low-ash fuel
offered in other applications. In the early 20th century, coke was used
widely enough both as an industrial fuel and for home heating that the Santa
Fe invested in a fleet of Caswell drop-bottom stockcars to carry coke west
on backhaul after carrying livestock east. Many of these cars had roof
hatches for loading, sometimes mistakenly interpreted as intended for
feeding livestock en route. The special kit that Al Westerfield released at
the Detroit NMRA convention is an example of one of these cars. By the late
1920s, however, the Santa Fe was content to buy more conventional stock
cars, and eventually many of the Caswell stockcars were rebuilt with solid
bottoms and the door-operating mechanisms removed. The growth of the oil and
gas industries no doubt contributed to the declining use of coke.

So long,


Andy Sperandeo
Executive Editor
Model Railroader magazine <>
262-796-8776, ext. 461
FAX 262-796-1142

Re: coal sizes


Regarding coal sizes. Here are some notes that I had taken concerning
different coal sizes and usage.

NP and Eastern Coal - Resultant coal

Various Memorandums - NP Coal file- 9.27 (Loc 137.F.5.8F ) Minnesota
History Center
1) St. Paul April 29, 1926...excerpt of letter;
In considering the Ford coal it must be kept in mind that all of
it passes over a 1.75 screen at the mine before it is loaded into the
cars. The coal thus delivered at the docks at the Head of the Lakes
has been freed of all the fine stuff they sell at the mine. In making
the $4.20 screenings at the dock, they sell us the resultant of what
passes through a 2.5 inch screen, and in actual observation test this
$4.20 coal in the estimation of our people, is equally as efficient
as the $4.25 coal purchased from other companies.

2) R.W. Clark - Assistant to the President May 4, 1926
Dear Sir; Replying to your letter of the 3rd. Upon that date we had
available for shipment from docks at the Head of Lake Superior,
149,139 tons of coal, applied upon contracts, distributed as
Coal for hand fired locomotives - 114,158 tons
Coal for stocker fired locomotives- 20,651 tons
Coal for stationary power plants -8,330 tons

Considering the present situation it is thought that this coal
will last about ten weeks or it is thought that it would be exhausted
some time during the month of July.
The stocker fired coal will of course be exhausted prior to that
time, as well as coal for the stationary plants. The former will be
supplied with the 6 inch resultant coal and it may be necessary to
purchase small tonnage for the stationary plants.
(In the margin is penciled- use Rosebud).
As to future requirements: We have purchased for use during
season of 1925-1926, 647,500 tons of coal. It is recommended that we
purchase for season 1926-1927, 681,000 tons based on following;
100,000 tons of Island Creek, Eastern Kentucky, or Splint
screenings, preferred in order named for hand fired passenger engines
between St. Paul and Mandan.
500,000 tons of Island Creek, Eastern Kentucky, or Splint
screenings, 2 inch preferred and 1.5 inch second choice, preferred in
order named for locomotive use, except in main line passenger service
between St. Paul and Mandan. This proposes that present program be
changed from hand fired coal to screenings in passenger service Lake
Superior Division. (Mpls/st. Paul - Duluth/Superior and D/S -
Staples, MN.)
13,000 tons Pocahontas 1.5 inch coal (smokeless coal) for Como,
Northtown, and Minneapolis Coach Yards.
50,000 Miller Creek screenings for 3rd Street, Brainerd, Duluth,
Mississippi St. and Staples
18,000 tons of Rosebud mine run for East Grand Forks, Dilworth,
and Jamestown.

Two inch screenings may be used successfully on main-line hand
fired passenger engines between St. Paul and Mandan, but under
current circumstances it is not recommended in feeling that a more
moderate change to screenings for hand fired passenger locomotives
will be more acceptable and satisfactory at this time.
At present there are five stoker fired locomotives in passenger
service between Dilworth and Mandan. Until more permanently settled
in locomotive distribution, think it is best to provide hand fired
coal for passenger service over the entire main, St. Paul to
Mandan, and is so recommended. R. E. Jackson - Purchasing agent

3)Discussion was had with Mr. Donnelly on Sunday about coal
purchases. Present, Mr. Donnelly, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Woodworth, Mr.
Lonergan, Mr. Elliott, and R.W. Clark.

It was agreed that we would go into the market for 750,000 tons
of coal, to be divided 100,000 tons of 5 to 6 inch resultant and
650,000 tons of screenings.

The best price for lump coal was from the Inland Co. who named
a price of $4.00 per ton if they could have 400,000 tons and $4.10
per ton if they could have 30,000 tons.

Mr. Donnelly approved this program as to the selection of coal
and the Purchasing Agent was instructed to go ahead and see what kind
of division he could get between the different operators bidding on
the coal. St. Paul -May, 17, 1926

St. Paul, MN - July 15, 1927
Arrange a conference on Monday with Mr. Donnelly and have
present Messrs. F.E. Williamson, J.G. Woodworth, L.R. Capron, R.J.
Elliott, B. Johnson, and R. W. Clark for the purpose of deciding upon
our purchases of Lake Coal.
Upon the present time we have been considering purchases on the
basis of 650,000 tons. We have already bought 78,000 tons.
Believe we should consider purchasing 750,000 tons instead of
650,000 tons for two reasons-
1- Prospects of heavy business this fall
2- To better divide the tonnage to dock companies for traffic
reasons. R. W. Clark

As you can see, there are several different sizes of coal
and several different uses to go with them. So having several cars of
coal with different sizes next to each other is fully allowable and
prototypical. Jim Dick

Re: Tim Gilbert

Dave <muskoka@...>

Over the years Tim and I exchanged much information about the
distribution of the national boxcar fleet. It was an idea of mine .ca
1996 that I explored alone for some years. Tim joined our lists about
2000 or so and shared how he had independantly formulated a similar
line of thought. I showed him my proof -- that of matching wheel
reports to the ORER, and Tim jumped on that like a duck on a june bug,
carrying the work of analysis and, for lack of a better term,
proselytizing, far beyond what I had time to do.

His original work on car mileage, as well as US:Canadian traffic,
opened new insights into steam era railroad operations.

In person as well as in print, he was a unique person. Fun to tease,
fun to be teased by. And not least, a fellow FC-quant.

I learned much from Tim and will miss him.

Dave Nelson

coal sizes


--- In, Bob Karig <karig@...> wrote- "Both
anthracite and bituminous were sized. Lump was greater than
4". Sizes progressed downward from there to less than half an inch,
or smaller.
So you could have a train with each hopper car having a different
sized coal.

I think this was the rule rather than the exception. I've seen many
photos where adjacent hoppers have different size coal loads. Maybe
several hoppers were loaded at once from adjacent sotage bins.


Re: stockcar (WAS: hopper) loads

Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...>

Our modern association of coke with the steel-making industry tends to
obscure the advantages that such a slow-burning, high-heat, low-ash fuel
offered in other applications. In the early 20th century, coke was used
widely enough both as an industrial fuel and for home heating that the Santa
Fe invested in a fleet of Caswell drop-bottom stockcars to carry coke west
on backhaul after carrying livestock east. Many of these cars had roof
hatches for loading, sometimes mistakenly interpreted as intended for
feeding livestock en route. The special kit that Al Westerfield released at
the Detroit NMRA convention is an example of one of these cars. By the late
1920s, however, the Santa Fe was content to buy more conventional stock
cars, and eventually many of the Caswell stockcars were rebuilt with solid
bottoms and the door-operating mechanisms removed. The growth of the oil and
gas industries no doubt contributed to the declining use of coke.

So long,


Andy Sperandeo
Executive Editor
Model Railroader magazine
262-796-8776, ext. 461
FAX 262-796-1142

Tim Gilbert

Rich C <richchrysler@...>

Steam era freight car discussion group. The time period covered will be from 1900-1960.I met Tim the first time I attended Naperville in 2003. He immediately struck me as being so warm and friendly and totally outgoing to the new guy on the block. Each time we passed anywhere near the bar lounge area, he'd call us back over to join him like a long lost buddy, and the freight car conversations would continue.

A great guy who will be missed.

Rich Chrysler

car classes

rockroll50401 <cepropst@...>

Jim Singer sent me a copy of an article about a major industry where I
live. The brick and tile operation used Class D and E cars. The article
was about how they were trying to prevent damage in box cars. I have
Milwaukee damage claim reports from the mid 50s and there are plenty of
tile damage claims. One of their concerns was bowed ends. They used
straw or hay as packing, they were looking at alternatives like chip
board and palletizing when possible. I believe the article date is 54
or 55. This company shipped 5000 carloads of clay products a year from
5 Iowa plants.
Clark Propst

Re: Coins as car weights

Manfred Lorenz

--- In, BERNARD SPINELLI <bspinelli@...> wrote:

on 8/14/07 11:48 AM, Garth G. Groff at ggg9y@... wrote:

Go out a buy a bag of lead shot #8 at any gun shop. It will last you a
lifetime & will fit in any spot on a car. Use epoxy to set the shot.
I have used curtain weights as well. These are woven over with fabric
into long "worms". Helps to keep them glued down with epoxy.


Re: Stick on weights. Was Coins as car weights.

Douglas Harding <dharding@...>

About 5/6 years ago I went to my local tire dealer and asked about stick on
weights, the kind used on alloy wheels. They wouldn't sell me a handful, but
did offer to get me a box the next time they needed some. Took a month or
so, but I got a box of 360 count 1/2 oz weights (11+ lbs) and a box of 360
count 1/4 oz weights (5.5+ lbs), all for less that $50. And because they
came on the regular tire delivery truck from the warehouse, no shipping
charges. Nice living in a small town.

And they have to use something to balance tires in California, so check your
local tire dealer. I have essentially a lifetime supply. And the adhesive is
tough, remember these things stick to wheels rotating at highways speeds
over all kinds of roads.

Doug Harding

Re: hopper loads

Gatwood, Elden J SAD <Elden.J.Gatwood@...>


The coal and coke I saw, both in survey, at mines, and in hopper cars, did
vary a lot. The sizes were determined by the usage and customer needs, and
included "egg" , "lump" and other designations you can find more on on the

In general, anthracite was shipped in larger chunks befitting its use in home
heating and other specialized uses, and looked very shiny; almost like

Bituminous was less shiny, but could be anything from shiny to very dull, but
was generally not as sharp-edged compared to anthracite, and also could be in
more varied sizes in a given load, given a lot of its use in big power plants
or steel mills. I have always thought of it as more "dusty" looking.

Both we very black to dull grey.

Coke was very irregular in shape, and almost a blue-grey in appearance.

There are lots of nice pre-made loads that represent coal, ranging from the
anthracite-looking shiny loads Kadee makes, to the dusty bituminous-looking
ones that Mr. Plaster and others make in resin or plaster. You can also take
the crummy ones you get in hopper kits and cover them with the real thing,
which you have to do for coke, anyway.

Have fun!

Elden Gatwood


Re: Stick on weights. Was Coins as car weights.

Lindsay smith <wlindsays2000@...>

The manufacturer sells cases of the wheel weights that weigh about 360 pouinds. So the car parts guys are reluctant to have a slow mover in big quantity on the shelf. PPW or A-Line sells it in reasonable size packages.

I made some special sized weights from the zinc sheets from the Dentist X-ray film packs. I used some of the wife's waste nail polish to glue it into a mass.
L:ots of junk will work in covered cars, I have fun stuffing straws for "pipe loads" in my gons.


Moody friends. Drama queens. Your life? Nope! - their life, your story.
Play Sims Stories at Yahoo! Games.

Re: Freight Car Music

Westerfield <westerfield@...>

No one has ever topped Jimmy Forest's Night Train, the closest thing to a blues tone poem ever. - Al Westerfield

Re: Tim Gilbert

Rob Kirkham <rdkirkham@...>

Ian - thanks for passing along this sad news! Tim was a great source of information on how to analyse published data on railways, and willingly contributed his insight to my own efforts with Canadian data. Over the years I enjoyed watching as he continued to develop his analyses of freight car distributions and movements, and our collective understanding is far better as a result. With the work he and Dave Nelson have done, more than a few myths have been revealed as such. I'll miss his posts and friendship on this list.

Rob Kirkham

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ian Wilson" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 6:19 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Tim Gilbert

Hello List:

Pardon me if this has been mentioned--there is no trace of such in the
list archives--but I have only learned this morning of the passing of
Timothy Andrew Gilbert (Feb. 27/41 - June 20/07). Aside from being a
steady contributor to this list, Tim was of great assistance to me
whenever I called upon him. His lengthy and thoughtful messages were
typed using the "hunt and peck" method, no less. He was also a steady
customer of ours, and the reason we learned of his passing was a note
from Nicholas Goretski, the executor of his estate, in reply to a flyer
we sent Tim regarding our upcoming book release.

Ian Wilson
Canadian Branchline Miniatures
Box 2565, Orillia, ON L3V 7B1
Publishers of books on CNR steam operations in Ontario during the 1950s

Yahoo! Groups Links

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Re: weighting open top cars (was: Stick on weights. Was Coins as car weights)


2 solutions:

On car kits with the metal weights to go under the slope sheets, cut sheet lead to the same shape. Lead will be heavier, but not enough to solve the total light car problem.

I also use lead wool (like steel wool but lead). It can be molded into just about any shape and glued into cavities on the underside of the hopper. You can get it at any good plumbing supplier.

I want all of my cars to be as close to NMRA weight as possible without loads. I use lightweight loads and don't depend on them to get the weight up.

J. Stephen (Steve) Sandifer, MMR
Home: 12027 Mulholland Drive, Meadows Place, TX 77477, 281-568-9918
Office: Southwest Central Church of Christ, 4011 W. Bellfort, Houston, TX 77025, 713-667-9417

----- Original Message -----
From: Miller, Andrew S.
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 1:07 PM
Subject: [STMFC] weighting open top cars (was: Stick on weights. Was Coins as car weights)

I cast weights for hopper cars to put in the cavity under the slope
sheet and inboard of the slope sheet support sheet over the bolster.

I do this by cutting a triangular notch in the edge of a 1x3 the same
shape as the cavity I intend to fill. I then sandwich this between two
pieces of plywood and clamp the three pieces in a vise. I then melt
solder into the cavity. When it has cooled, I remove the three boards
from the vise and voila, cast weight for a hopper car! Actually I cut
several cavities in the same 1x3 so that I have a few weights cooling
at once.


Andy Miller

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Mont Switzer
I still don't have a "pat system" for weighting open top cars.

Mont Switzer

Re: N&W G4 vs. CNJ rebuilt WE gondola


Pieter -

I am an "O" scaler. I did the drawings for these cars for Pacific
Limited, an "O" scale importer, about ten years ago, and they were
imported from Korea in 2000.

At that time, we could not find any photos of CNJ/RDG cars as
composite cars. Furthermore, the CNJ/CRP cars had a cubic capacity
which indicated they were ALL STEEL very early - (by 1944?) - so I am
not convinced that all were really composite cars - maybe only a few
were! That was a pre-internet, simpler time, and that does not mean
that the photos of composite cars are not out there somewhere! I do
recall a photo of a steel conversion of the CNJ gon having (a) an
extra plate at the far ends of each side (the plate goes from the
bolster to the end of the side, and covers up the "open" area below
the 4" X 4" angle in the open air below the floor) and (b) ends with
THREE Y-shaped panels in them.

That being said, the N&W cars were UNIQUE among 52'-6" composite war
emergency gons in having only TWO Y-shaped panels in each drop end!
No other cars had these N&W style drop ends. Also, only the CNJ/RDG
cars had the little rectangular plates at the bottoms of the sides.
All other cars of this type had an opening from the bolster to the
end sill under the floor angle.

Some of the N&W cars, as built, had four side boards in each side;
some had five. All other cars built to that plan had five boards,
except LV, which had four also. This makes a difference in the rivet
pattern on the side braces. I cannot tell from the Crier Gray
website which one they modeled! CNJ/CRP cars probably had the five-
board configuration, if they started out as composite cars.

A prototype photo of the CNJ/CRP/RDG cars would help!

A.T. Kott

--- In, "pieter_roos" <pieter_roos@...> wrote:

Hi all;

I'm planning on acquiring the Cryer Gray Foundry N&W G4 model as a
re-built CNJ war emergency gondola.

Does anyone see major differences between the N&W model and the CNJ
version? Or, for that matter, anything different from any other
railroad's rebuilding, except the Rock Island's corrugated panels?

If there are things that need changing I may get the unpainted
of painted black but unlettered model. BTW, it's S scale, so options
like Tichy or F&C versions don't work! :~{

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Pieter Roos

Re: Question regarding NC&StL / Monon steel gons

Tony Higgins

FWIW, there was an L&N 42' 9-panel gondola, series 50000-56499, built
by Pressed Steel in the late 20s. ORER shows 4300 of these in 1955.
Both this and the NC&StL cars have the same width and height to
within an inch and lengths to within a foot. There is a picture from
UofL archives showing the four center stakes extending slightly below
the straight bottom edge of the side. These were built as drop bottom

Tony Higgins

--- In, Ray Breyer <rtbsvrr69@...> wrote:

Hi everyone,

Frank Hodina just emailed me, asking about a NC&StL 42 foot gon
pattern he's currently working on. It's the GB-12 class, 44000-44499
series, which were 9 panel cars built by P-S in 1949. He's found a
series of Monon cars that are very similar (3001-3300, P-S built in
1948. The ends are different), and he's wondering if there were any
other close matches out there. If any of you know of any decent
matches, now's the time to speak up!


Ray Breyer

Park yourself in front of a world of choices in alternative
Visit the Yahoo! Auto Green Center.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Re: Coins as car weights

bdg1210 <Bruce_Griffin@...>


For maybe for the first time in the few years I have followed this
list a topic has appeared that I am actually quite knowledgeable
about and that is health and safety. "Lead vapor", fumes, or dusts
are actually the most dangerous route of entry (inhalation) for
lead. It gets into the blood stream quite quickly and completely
through the lungs. Ingestion (eating or through the mouth) is
usually a secondary route of exposure for adults and less of the
product is absorbed into the blood stream. Ingestion is the primary
route of exposure for children whose "safe" exposure levels are about
1/5 that of an adult when using blood lead levels to measure
exposure. Children are much more susceptible to lead exposure as it
can effect brain development (it doesn't take much). Adult's brains
are pretty much developed so on average they can tolerate higher
levels of exposure without negative affect to the brain, but then the
issue becomes other organs. Target organs in adults include: Eyes,
gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, kidneys, blood, and
gingival tissue. is the pocket guide page
from NIOSH and gives general information about exposure levels for
adults. Translating the numbers, I personally might melt lead
outside, keeping my face away from the "pot" most of the time and
staying up wind. And I would only do it on very limited occasions as
over time blood lead levels can reduce without repeated exposures.
When handling lead sheets as I do at the modeling work bench, I make
it a habit to wash my hands just after handling leada to reduce the
chance of ingestion. I agree a certain amount of "care is needed" but
that includes vapors and dusts.

Bruce D. Griffin, MSOS, CSP

--- In, Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Garth G. Groff wrote:
I know we've disagreed about this before, and I certainly respect
scientific knowledge. However, my father used to melt lead tire
weights just as described. He was later diagnosed with lead

Handling lead with bare hands gets the oxide onto your skin,
may get it into your mouth or nose. I'd worry about that part, not
about the lead vapor.
Please do not think I was saying lead is harmless or that you
treat it cavalierly. Care is needed.
And by the way, Garth, if your father is 91 the lead must
have been TOO bad for him <meant in jest, of course>.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

Re: hopper loads

Norman+Laraine Larkin <lono@...>

Coke was a byproduct of the manufactured gas process,and as this process evolved, the coke was, in-turn, burned to create additional forms of manufactured gas. Beginning in the early 20th century, large volumes of coke were produced in specialized by-product coking ovens close by (or a part of) integrated steel mills.

Coke was used as the basic fuel in blast furnaces, along with iron ore and limestone, in the manufacture of molten iron. Coke ovens essentially baked bituminous coal in an oxygen free environment at high temps (~1800- 2200 degrees F.) depending on it's end use, for a period of 16-22 hours. While baking, coal released large amounts of impure gas which was routed to a by-products plant where it was refined into useable chemicals (benzene, ammonium sulfate, etc.), ammonia liquor and coal tar was separated out. The clean gas was rerouted to heat the coke ovens and blast furnaces, or to private manufactured gas companies for sale to consumers. Once cooked, the white-hot coke was pushed from the oven into a "hot car" was quenched under a water spray, then dumped into a coal wharf where it continued to cool. A conveyer would move the coke up into a screening plant where it was separated by size, or to a crusher for additional sizing. From the oven, coke ranged in size from 3- inch pieces to 8-10 -inch chunks. .

The coke plant (where I worked one summer back in the mid 50s) produced up to 2.5 M tons of coke/year in the 40s and early 50s. Some went to a nearby blast furnace, some to Boston Gas Co. for gas manufacturing, some home heating fuel, and after WWII, coke was exported to Europe. Two solid coke trains per day shipped out over both the Boston and Albany (~50 cars) and Boston and Maine (~25 cars). Coke weighs considerably less than coal, so a coke loaded standard hopper car carried no where near its maximum weight. In general, specialized high-sided hopper cars were used in dedicated coke service between coke plants and the user mills. One of the most familiar is the Pennsy H22 made by Bowser. I believe the so-called rust belt saw much coke traffic, probably in any open topped car available when the mills were in full operation.

Norm Larkin

----- Original Message -----
From: ed_mines
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 12:21 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: hopper loads

--- In, "Dennis Storzek" <destorzek@...> wrote:
> Coke is flat black to dark gray in color.

How about particle size?

Was there much coke being shipped? I recall it was a byproduct of
illuminating gas and some utilities burned coke in special plants.


Re: hopper loads

CJ Riley

--- Bob Karig <> wrote:

I know one is shiny. Which one? Both?

I don't know about anthracite, but many hopper loads of bituminous that I saw
were shiny. Coke was pretty dull.

CJ Riley

Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha! Play Monopoly Here and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo! Games.

Re: Freight Car Music

Paul Hillman

A few years ago Merle Haggard released a great railroad album, "My Love Affair with Trains", all original songs and from the steam era.

Included are songs;

"I won't Give Up My Train", about an engineer,
"My Love Affair with Trains", written by Dolly Parton,
"Where have all the Hobos gone",
"The Miners Silver Ghost",

and many others.

Great STMFC era music.

Anyone heard it besides me?

Paul Hillman

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