Shipping Bulk Cement: A Few More National Statistics

Charles Hostetler

These are a few more observations from the national 1% carload waybill sample that I thought were interesting before starting to tabulate the state-to-state statistics.

-  the 1951 - 1953 Canadian/Mexican Supplement did not find any shipments of cement that originated in Canada or Mexico (and terminating in the US)

-  The data show that the shipments are fairly seasonal.  Throughout the mid-1950s about 2/3 of the shipments were in the second and third quarters (April through September).

-  LOs were heavy loads (70 ton car typically), while box cars loads varied over a broader weight range.  These data from 1952 are typical:

<10k lbs  0 box cars, 0 LOs

10k-19k  0 box cars, 0 LOs

20k-29k  0 box cars, 0 LOs

30k-39k  0 box cars, 0 LOs

40k-49k  62 box cars, 0 LOs

50k-59k  1139 box cars, 1 LOs

60k-69k  542 box cars, 1 LOs

70k-79k  587 box cars, 1 LOs

80k-89k  284 box cars, 4 LOs

90k-99k  634 box cars, 50 LOs

>100k lbs  282 box cars, 2279 LOs

- LO loads were really short line hauls while box car loads were a little more dispersed in terms of distance traveled.  Again from 1952, these data are typical:

1-49 miles  458 box cars, 376 LO

50-99 miles  799 box cars, 672 LO

100-199 miles  1217 box cars, 802 LO

200-399 miles  800 box cars, 381 LO

400-599 miles  152 box cars, 74 LO

600-999 miles  78 box cars, 28 LO

1000 - 1399 miles  18 box cars, 2 LO

1400-1999 miles 7 box cars, 1 LO

2000 - 2999 miles 1 box car, 0 LO

>3000 miles no shipments in sample

Charles Hostetler

Washington Ill.

Tim O'Connor

Charles I wonder if this relatively short haul has something to do
with the high revenue per loaded car mile? In other words the revenue
per car LOAD may not be much, even if per MILE it was higher than average.

Tim O'Connor

- LO loads were really short line hauls while box car loads were a little more dispersed in terms of distance traveled.  Again from 1952, these data are typical:

1-49 miles  458 box cars, 376 LO
50-99 miles  799 box cars, 672 LO
100-199 miles  1217 box cars, 802 LO
200-399 miles  800 box cars, 381 LO

Charles Hostetler
Washington Ill.

Ted Culotta

It could be a function of the utility of the covered hopper. If I (meaning a railroad) invest in a car that is specialized in nature, it's likely done with the intent of serving my customers' needs, which are online and thereby shorter haul in nature and also, quite possibly, in bulk. Box cars could be used for "finished" (bagged) shipments that are not as customer-specific in nature. Every hardware store needs bagged cement, but only a small number of customers need or want a covered hopper's worth. Each customer receives the cement in a way that suits their needs.

Ted Culotta


The B&OHS has several document about specialized cars including LO. The one from the early 1950s shows that most covered hoppers were in assigned service and not in pool service. So these cars traveled between the source of the load and one of the customer facilities. One could assume the customer wanted the shortest possible route.

Bob Witt


I don't see how covered hoppers would be used in general service unless the customer didn't mind having his load contaminated by the previous load.

 Cement would particularly be a problem to clean out since it sets up with water.