[Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: PRR Hopper Cars Receiving Coal

Gatwood, Elden J SAD



Ben and others are right; this is most certainly a ballast cleaning train.


I got educated up on the by Al Buchan, Bob Yagodich and others over a period of years.


It was important to clean out ballast as it became clogged with fines, over time, to prevent water build up in same that would promote blow-outs or undermining of the roadbed or fill.  Also to prevent water build-up that would cause waterlogging and rotting of ties.  Good pore space in ballast promoted rapid drainage of the ballast to the ditches on either side.


Ballast-cleaning evolved greatly over the years, from crews of manual laborers cleaning the ballast mostly by hand tools and side-casting, to something like this, in which a trains of hoppers with conveyors (except for the last one to left), with a ballast cleaner up front near the engine, was dragged slowly over the track, removing contaminated ballast, and conveying it to the next to last car filled, for disposal into a hopper.  The entire train was filled back to front, then taken to a dump trestle to dump the hopprs.  Ballast was replaced by clean-ballast-containg hoppers with spreaders mounted beneath, where track gangs pushed/shoveled the ballast into place between and alongside the tie structure.


These are mid-life H21A in their glory:  Top chord reinforcements in full view, prior to the large H21A to H21E rebuildings.


Elden Gatwood



From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Benjamin Hom
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2020 12:21 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: PRR Hopper Cars Receiving Coal


Bob Chaparro wrote:

"Photo: PRR Hopper Cars Receiving Coal

A photo from the Historic Pittsburgh website:

Blockedhttps://historicpittsburgh.org/islandora/object/pitt%3A200905.233.HF/viewer "


This is actually a ballast cleaning train.



Ben Hom