Ordnance Works and Freight Cars


Shawn Beckert
 

List,

What kind of materials would have been delivered via freight
car to an ordnance factory in the 1950's? Tank cars loaded
with Toluene would be one item, boxcars loaded with empty shell
casings might be another. I'd guess that you'd see tank cars
from Hercules Powder and related companies there as well.

Would anything else besides boxcars and tank cars have shown up
at an ordnance factory in those days?

Thanks,

Shawn Beckert


Garth Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Shawn,

Boxcars, probably lots of boxcars. I wonder if a civilian-operated ordinance plant would have shipped their . . . uh . . . wares in railroad-owned cars, or if they would have used military boxcars.

DODX operated an interesting fleet of 50', 10' IH, door-and-a-half PS-1 boxcars. AFAIK, these were the only 50' PS-1s built at the reduced height, and certainly the only ones with that door configuration. Given that these cars were built around 1950s or so (check Ed Hawkins' lists in RMJ), they would certainly fit the tail end of our era. Whether they would have ever been loaded at non-military bases is debatable, but they certainly showed up in through trains.

I used to see these cars rolling through California on the SP when I was young, and they were quite noticeable thanks to their silver paint. During Vietnam they moved a lot of munitions from Hawthorn, Nevada, to various military terminals in California, especially the Naval Weapons Station at Concord. It was a train of such cars that blew up at Roseville around 1972, and the UP was still finding unexploded 500 pound bombs there when they rebuilt the yard in the 1990s.

One of these cars is preserved at the Western Railway Museum (along with some older wooden cars used by the Navy for in-plant service at Concord; we've discussed the M&STL car preserved there), and I think there is also one on the Sierra at Jamestown.

The CSRM has an ex-Air Force 40' PS-1 in their collection. I don't remember seeing these in any of Ed's lists.

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

Beckert, Shawn wrote:

List,

What kind of materials would have been delivered via freight
car to an ordnance factory in the 1950's? Tank cars loaded
with Toluene would be one item, boxcars loaded with empty shell
casings might be another. I'd guess that you'd see tank cars
from Hercules Powder and related companies there as well.

Would anything else besides boxcars and tank cars have shown up
at an ordnance factory in those days?

Thanks,

Shawn Beckert


Andy Carlson
 

--- Garth Groff <ggg9y@...> wrote:


One of these cars is preserved at the Western
Railway Museum (along with
some older wooden cars used by the Navy for in-plant
service at Concord;
The Orange Empire Museum at Perris, CA has quite a few
Navy 10'0" single door 40' cars in their collection.

Also, a truck equipment firm near Ridgecrest in the
Mojave has about 4 or 5 Seal Beach 40' cars which look
like a hybrid of 37 AAR and X29 designs.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


Richard Hendrickson
 

Gart Groff writes:

DODX operated an interesting fleet of 50', 10' IH, door-and-a-half
PS-1 boxcars. AFAIK, these were the only 50' PS-1s built at the reduced
height, and certainly the only ones with that door configuration. Given
that these cars were built around 1950s or so (check Ed Hawkins' lists
in RMJ), they would certainly fit the tail end of our era. Whether they
would have ever been loaded at non-military bases is debatable, but they
certainly showed up in through trains.
The 50' PS-1s weren't the first such cars. The U. S. Navy got 1140 50'
steel sheathed box cars for munitions service in 1945 which were also 10'0"
IH cars with 1-1/2 Superior 7-panel doors, Pennsy style riveted
inside-carline roofs with shallow depressions for the lateral running
boards, 4-5 rectangular rib ends like those used on some sub-classes of B&O
M-55 box cars, Duryea Cushion underframes, and AAR self-aligning
spring-plankless trucks. They may have been painted aluminum later, after
the navy's freight cars were combined with those of the army quartermaster
corps under DODX reporting marks, but in the '40s and early '50s they were
mineral red with white lettering that identified them as the property of
the navy's Bureau of Ordnance. They were numbered USNX 4000-5139. I have
several photos of these cars, including one I took myself at Oceanside, CA
in 1946 when it was on its way up the Santa Fe's Fallbrook branch with
ordnance for the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton.

As early as 1943 the navy also rostered 170 50' cars numbered USNX
3000-3169 with similar dimensions, but they are not identified in the ORERs
as steel sheathed and may have been acquired second hand; I've never seen a
photo of one.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


Curt Fortenberry <arrphoto@...>
 

Alaska RR still operates some ex USN 6'/4' double door boxcars cars in
MOW service. Their list doesn't specify inside height. They have
another series with a pair of 7 1/2' doors. ARR acquired them in 1980.

Curt Fortenberry


steamgene@...
 

Several years ago -- well, a decade ago -- I was at the Defense
General Supply Center in Richmond, Virginia and saw two U.S.
Army cars down in the yard. The flat was a 40 foot flat with the
brakewheel on a staff and the box was a 40 foot PS-1 with full
ladders and roof walk. I took a couple of pictures until a security
guy came along and told me to stop. IIRC, only my ID card kept
the film from being confiscated. I didn't tell him that I thought he
was trying to protect a couple of cars which were probably older
than he was.
Gene Moser
From: "Curt Fortenberry" <arrphoto@...>
Date: 2005/02/07 Mon PM 06:18:14 EST
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Ordnance Works and Freight Cars



Alaska RR still operates some ex USN 6'/4' double door boxcars
cars in
MOW service. Their list doesn't specify inside height. They have
another series with a pair of 7 1/2' doors. ARR acquired them in
1980.

Curt Fortenberry







Yahoo! Groups Links








Schuyler Larrabee
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Garth Groff
the UP was still finding unexploded 500 pound bombs [in Roseville]
when they rebuilt the yard in the 1990s.
Gee, were there any "incidents?"

SGL


steamgene@...
 

An unfuzed bomb that has not been dropped from a plane is not
very dangerous as long as you don't take a blowtorch to it.
Gene Moser
From: "Schuyler Larrabee" <schuyler.larrabee@...>
Date: 2005/02/07 Mon PM 10:07:36 EST
To: <STMFC@...>
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Ordnance Works and Freight Cars




-----Original Message-----
From: Garth Groff
the UP was still finding unexploded 500 pound bombs [in
Roseville]
when they rebuilt the yard in the 1990s.
Gee, were there any "incidents?"

SGL





Yahoo! Groups Links








Garth Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Schuyler,

No, none went off. Once the contractors found the first bomb, they moved very carefully. The ordinance was defused by military experts and taken away. IIRC, they turned up about a dozen bombs. For all I know, there might still be some out there.

This was a side issue to a steam-era posting, but is way beyond the scope of our group. If anyone wants to continue this sub-thread, let's do it by private e-mail to keep Mike from having a coronary.

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

Schuyler Larrabee wrote:



-----Original Message-----
From: Garth Groff

the UP was still finding unexploded 500 pound bombs [in Roseville] when they rebuilt the yard in the 1990s.
Gee, were there any "incidents?"

SGL


Westerfield <westerfield@...>
 

Thank you for the clarification of your order. We are a bit behind, so it may be a week or so before we can ship this.
Patricia W.

----- Original Message -----
From: Garth Groff
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 6:15 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Ordnance Works and Freight Cars


Schuyler,

No, none went off. Once the contractors found the first bomb, they moved
very carefully. The ordinance was defused by military experts and taken
away. IIRC, they turned up about a dozen bombs. For all I know, there
might still be some out there.

This was a side issue to a steam-era posting, but is way beyond the
scope of our group. If anyone wants to continue this sub-thread, let's
do it by private e-mail to keep Mike from having a coronary.

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

Schuyler Larrabee wrote:

>
>
>
>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Garth Groff
>>
>>
>
>
>
>>the UP was still finding unexploded 500 pound bombs [in Roseville]
>>when they rebuilt the yard in the 1990s.
>>
>>
>
>Gee, were there any "incidents?"
>
>SGL
>
>


Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
ADVERTISEMENT





------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yahoo! Groups Links

a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/STMFC/

b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
STMFC-unsubscribe@...

c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


Westerfield <westerfield@...>
 

Dear Stem fans,
Sorry for the strange message. My finger slipped and the reply from another message went to you.
Patricia Westerfield

----- Original Message -----
From: Westerfield
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 10:31 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Ordnance Works and Freight Cars


Thank you for the clarification of your order. We are a bit behind, so it may be a week or so before we can ship this.
Patricia W.


Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

About ten years ago, about fifteen of us took our track motorcars and were treated to a comprehensive Sunday tour of all of the trackage in then very active Concord Naval Weapons Station on the north side of Concord, California. A short rail line connected with the adjacent Port Chicago Naval Depot on SF Bay, where the ammunition ships were loaded (and where the notorious WWII incident of the black stevedores loading the ammunition ships took place).

It was a fascinating experience, hampered only by an absolute prohibition on photography (very frustrating for a Sacramento Bee newspaper reporter and photographer with me trying to write a feature story!).

Virtually every single bit of internal and external transport or movement of bombs and other ordnance was undertaken *only by rail*, and this only in a vast fleet of meticulously-maintained solid-bearinged silver boxcars that still had running boards, and (by memory only) seemed to be similar to, if not PS-1s (perhaps someone will know more in this regard). These boxcars were also principally used as mobile storage, and the track layout was so designed.

There was track everywhere (101 miles of it in about 5000 acres). I have never seen so many turnouts, diamonds (straight and curved), or spurs anywhere. It was a boy's fantastic dream layout, given an infinite number of tinplate turnouts, crossings, and track.

A given line would go along a corridor, and every so many hundred feet, spurs would peel off right and left into street-railway type curves, each spur ending in a thick concrete revetment surrounded on two or three sides by very high berms. Along the hillsides, the revetments would be cave-like. There seemed to be thousands of these, each sized to hold one 40' boxcar. This is how the ordnance was stored, ready to move!

The lines climbed up the sides of hills. They interconnected everywhere. The maintenance of the track and roadbed was *perfect*. Perfect clean ballast shaped into a sharp prism. Ties perfect. Not a weed or blade of grass to be seen. All rail also "perfect" with no low joints, or visible or palpable wear. The railroad's GM (a former ATSF person) reminded us of the Zero Defect policy when one is moving explosive devices, and even a simple bump, much less a minor derailment was cause for the most intensive serious investigation, if not discipline. 15 mph was the drop-dead speed limit (as it was for us as well. Fouled spark plugs plagued us the whole day in this regard!).

We were unable to take the line out onto the wharves (big disappointment), the reason for which I never understood.

Currently, as I understand it, the Station is largely moth-balled, and the port Depot is now an Army facility. I presume that the hundreds of time-warp boxcars are probably still there, although I do not know for certain.

Denny




--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento


Michael Aufderheide
 

Denny,

Thank you for the fascinating account. I've found the
aerial of the place from 1993. See:

http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.aspx?T=1&S=11&Z=10&X=1463&Y=10530&W=3&qs=%7cconcord%7cca%7c

Make sure you get the whole URL.

Regards,

Mike Aufderheide
Chicago




__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail - Easier than ever with enhanced search. Learn more.
http://info.mail.yahoo.com/mail_250


Roger Hinman <rhinman@...>
 

I was stationed on an ammo ship out of Concord in the mid seventies and
seem to remember six wheel Alco? switchers
making all the moves to the pier. I routinely saw all the pier
trackage but never saw the other end

Roger H.

On Feb 8, 2005, at 3:56 PM, Denny Anspach wrote:


About ten years ago, about fifteen of us took our track motorcars and
were treated to a comprehensive Sunday tour of all of the trackage in
then very active Concord Naval Weapons Station on the north side of
Concord, California. A short rail line connected with the adjacent
Port Chicago Naval Depot on SF Bay, where the ammunition ships were
loaded (and where the notorious WWII incident of the black stevedores
loading the ammunition ships took place).

It was a fascinating experience, hampered only by an absolute
prohibition on photography (very frustrating for a Sacramento Bee
newspaper reporter and photographer with me trying to write a feature
story!).

Virtually every single bit of internal and external transport or
movement of bombs and other ordnance was undertaken *only by rail*,
and this only in a vast fleet of meticulously-maintained
solid-bearinged silver boxcars that still had running boards, and (by
memory only) seemed to be similar to, if not PS-1s (perhaps someone
will know more in this regard). These boxcars were also principally
used as mobile storage, and the track layout was so designed.

There was track everywhere (101 miles of it in about 5000 acres). I
have never seen so many turnouts, diamonds (straight and curved), or
spurs anywhere. It was a boy's fantastic dream layout, given an
infinite number of tinplate turnouts, crossings, and track.

A given line would go along a corridor, and every so many hundred
feet, spurs would peel off right and left into street-railway type
curves, each spur ending in a thick concrete revetment surrounded on
two or three sides by very high berms. Along the hillsides, the
revetments would be cave-like. There seemed to be thousands of
these, each sized to hold one 40' boxcar. This is how the ordnance
was stored, ready to move!

The lines climbed up the sides of hills. They interconnected
everywhere. The maintenance of the track and roadbed was *perfect*.
Perfect clean ballast shaped into a sharp prism. Ties perfect. Not a
weed or blade of grass to be seen. All rail also "perfect" with no
low joints, or visible or palpable wear. The railroad's GM (a former
ATSF person) reminded us of the Zero Defect policy when one is moving
explosive devices, and even a simple bump, much less a minor
derailment was cause for the most intensive serious investigation, if
not discipline. 15 mph was the drop-dead speed limit (as it was for
us as well. Fouled spark plugs plagued us the whole day in this
regard!).

We were unable to take the line out onto the wharves (big
disappointment), the reason for which I never understood.

Currently, as I understand it, the Station is largely moth-balled,
and the port Depot is now an Army facility. I presume that the
hundreds of time-warp boxcars are probably still there, although I do
not know for certain.

Denny




--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento




Yahoo! Groups Links







Schuyler Larrabee
 

Patricia, I think there might have been a mis-click here . . .I have no order
outstanding with you.

Just want to help you out. I can see this might lead to your questioning you
own sanity, if it got to be an issue ("I was SURE I sent out . . .")

SGL

-----Original Message-----
From: Westerfield [mailto:westerfield@...]
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 11:32 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Ordnance Works and Freight Cars


Thank you for the clarification of your order. We are a bit
behind, so it may be a week or so before we can ship this.
Patricia W.
----- Original Message -----
From: Garth Groff
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 6:15 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Ordnance Works and Freight Cars


Schuyler,

No, none went off. Once the contractors found the first
bomb, they moved
very carefully. The ordinance was defused by military
experts and taken
away. IIRC, they turned up about a dozen bombs. For all I
know, there
might still be some out there.

This was a side issue to a steam-era posting, but is way beyond the
scope of our group. If anyone wants to continue this
sub-thread, let's
do it by private e-mail to keep Mike from having a coronary.

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

Schuyler Larrabee wrote:

>
>
>
>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Garth Groff
>>
>>
>
>
>
>>the UP was still finding unexploded 500 pound bombs [in Roseville]
>>when they rebuilt the yard in the 1990s.
>>
>>
>
>Gee, were there any "incidents?"
>
>SGL
>
>


Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
ADVERTISEMENT





--------------------------------------------------------------
----------------
Yahoo! Groups Links

a.. To visit your group on the web, go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/STMFC/

b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
STMFC-unsubscribe@...

c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo!
Terms of Service.







------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
--------------------~--> Meet the McDonald?s. Lincoln Fry
get free digital souvenirs, Web-only video and bid on the
Lincoln Fry prop charity auction.
http://us.click.yahoo.com/2YkgMD/fV0JAA/Y3ZIAA/9MtolB/TM
--------------------------------------------------------------
------~->


Yahoo! Groups Links







Jim Gillmore <TwoRail@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Denny Anspach <danspach@m...> wrote:

Currently, as I understand it, the Station is largely moth-balled,
and the port Depot is now an Army facility. I presume that the
hundreds of time-warp boxcars are probably still there, although I
do
not know for certain.

Denny

--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento

Most of the boxcars are stored in good condition adjacent to Willow
Pass Road in Concord and visible from the road. Take the Concord Exit
from Highway 4. HOWEVER, it is a busy two lane road and the Highway
Patrol and the Concord Police take a dim view of anyone stopping to
take photos -- highway safety and military security are both issues
that they get concerned about. The box cars are weathered all silver
with DOD reporting marks, and appear to be "standard" 1937 era box
cars with no special equipment. The station was built in 1942 and the
rail equipment probably originated at that time. Most cars now have
their doors open. For awhile after the station was mothballed, the
cars were stored with the doors closed, but about 2 years ago, they
were all opend up. I suppose this is for better security - someone
can't camp inside without being seen. Or perhaps it is for better air
circulation to prevent moisture from being trapped inside and causing
mildew (it's a moist, foggy area).

I believe there were 8 or 9 locomotives on the station just before it
closed. The ones that I have seen were Baldwins, painted yellow, some
re-engined with EMD prime movers.

Jim Gillmore, Concord CA


Richard Hendrickson
 

Denny,

Thank you for the fascinating account. I've found the
aerial of the place from 1993. See:

http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.aspx?T=1&S=11&Z=10&X=1463&Y=10530&
W=3&qs=%7cconcord%7cca%7c
Mike Aufderheide
Chicago
Mike, that sure looks familiar. I often fly from the north into the
Concord airport, which is just west of the ammo depot, and on right
downwind for runway 32 right the entire ammo depot is clearly visible out
the left side window. In fact, the instrument approach to runway 19 right
goes right over the ammo depot, though that's not an approach I often use
since my Citabria is strictly a VFR airplane.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


Garth Groff <ggg9y@...>
 

Denny,

Very interesting account. You used to be able to see some of this installation from the highway, but there was no way to stop and take photos. I drove past about three years ago, and saw a lot of interesting equipment from a distance.

The railroad was originally the Bay Point & Clayton Railroad, a shortline built to serve a large cement plant owned by the Henry Cowell interests at Cowell (the smokestack is all that remains, now surrounded by a small park and acres of suburban houses). The line never reached Clayton. The BP&C connected with the SP and ATSF at Bay Point; and with the Oakland, Antioch & Eastern (later the Sacramento Northern) at Clyde. It used two off-the-shelf Baldwin 0-6-0s, one lettered for the railroad and the other for the cement company (about 1939 they swapped assignments). A short 42" narrow gauge line reached the quarries on Lime Ridge. In 1945 or so the line was sold to the Navy and grew into the operation you saw. The final two miles beyond the base were operated a few months by the Navy as the cement plant wound down, then removed around 1947. Also of interest was an extension from Bay Point out to a large shipyard during WWI. This line involved a high-level crossing of the ATSF and SP mainlines. The war ended before this line went into full operation. The track was pulled up before the BP&C became military property, but piers to the fly-over are still there.

Kind regards,


Garth G. Groff

Denny Anspach wrote:

About ten years ago, about fifteen of us took our track motorcars and were treated to a comprehensive Sunday tour of all of the trackage in then very active Concord Naval Weapons Station on the north side of Concord, California. A short rail line connected with the adjacent Port Chicago Naval Depot on SF Bay, where the ammunition ships were loaded (and where the notorious WWII incident of the black stevedores loading the ammunition ships took place).

It was a fascinating experience, hampered only by an absolute prohibition on photography (very frustrating for a Sacramento Bee newspaper reporter and photographer with me trying to write a feature story!).

Virtually every single bit of internal and external transport or movement of bombs and other ordnance was undertaken *only by rail*, and this only in a vast fleet of meticulously-maintained solid-bearinged silver boxcars that still had running boards, and (by memory only) seemed to be similar to, if not PS-1s (perhaps someone will know more in this regard). These boxcars were also principally used as mobile storage, and the track layout was so designed.

There was track everywhere (101 miles of it in about 5000 acres). I have never seen so many turnouts, diamonds (straight and curved), or spurs anywhere. It was a boy's fantastic dream layout, given an infinite number of tinplate turnouts, crossings, and track.

A given line would go along a corridor, and every so many hundred feet, spurs would peel off right and left into street-railway type curves, each spur ending in a thick concrete revetment surrounded on two or three sides by very high berms. Along the hillsides, the revetments would be cave-like. There seemed to be thousands of these, each sized to hold one 40' boxcar. This is how the ordnance was stored, ready to move!

The lines climbed up the sides of hills. They interconnected everywhere. The maintenance of the track and roadbed was *perfect*. Perfect clean ballast shaped into a sharp prism. Ties perfect. Not a weed or blade of grass to be seen. All rail also "perfect" with no low joints, or visible or palpable wear. The railroad's GM (a former ATSF person) reminded us of the Zero Defect policy when one is moving explosive devices, and even a simple bump, much less a minor derailment was cause for the most intensive serious investigation, if not discipline. 15 mph was the drop-dead speed limit (as it was for us as well. Fouled spark plugs plagued us the whole day in this regard!).

We were unable to take the line out onto the wharves (big disappointment), the reason for which I never understood.

Currently, as I understand it, the Station is largely moth-balled, and the port Depot is now an Army facility. I presume that the hundreds of time-warp boxcars are probably still there, although I do not know for certain.

Denny





Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
 

My understanding of the first ammunition box cars at Concord were second hand single sheath cars, some of which went on to a third life restored to their original liveries at the Western Railroad Museum in nearby Rio Vista Jct. Just when the current crop of DOD steel cars were then built would seem to probably be after the war, or perhaps during the Korean conflict.

Denny
--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento


railsnw1 <railsnw@...>
 

Years ago when I was on the Bangor Submarine Base in Washington they
had quite a few of the 50' aluminum painted steel boxcars. A number
of these besides having side doors also had rollup end doors. Didn't
check that closely to see if they were added later.

Richard

--- In STMFC@..., Denny Anspach <danspach@m...> wrote:
My understanding of the first ammunition box cars at Concord were
second hand single sheath cars, some of which went on to a third
life
restored to their original liveries at the Western Railroad Museum
in
nearby Rio Vista Jct. Just when the current crop of DOD steel cars
were then built would seem to probably be after the war, or perhaps
during the Korean conflict.

Denny
--
Denny S. Anspach, MD
Sacramento