Burning Box Car


Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

Folks;

 

I’m sorry if we discussed this before, but I may have missed it.

 

What was the story behind this burning box car?

 

Does anyone have any photos of burning freight cars they can share?

 

Thanks!

 

Elden Gatwood


Tim O'Connor
 


Wood floors; flaming journal boxes? :-D

I saw flames passing by under a box car once, in the late 1970's in Ann Arbor, on a
Penn (old Michigan) Central freight along the Huron River.

Of course, who knows what started this particular fire?

I've attached Edward Kindig's fire photo for your enjoyment.


On 2/25/2021 9:11 AM, Gatwood, Elden J SAD wrote:

Folks;

 

I’m sorry if we discussed this before, but I may have missed it.

 

What was the story behind this burning box car?

 

Does anyone have any photos of burning freight cars they can share?

 

Thanks!

 

Elden Gatwood

Attachments:



--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


William Hirt
 

In Morning Sun's Rock Island Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Steve Hile, there is a picture on page 34 of a Rock Island Outside Braced Wood Sheathed boxcar set off and burning in Cotter, Iowa, in May 1956. The caption states the car was carrying a load of coke. The supposition is either something set the coke on fire, or that the coke was still hot enough when it was loaded that it started a fire on it's own. The picture shows that one pile of the coke is still red hot with small amount of flames coming out the bottom of the car near the remaining door superstructure.

Bill Hirt

On 2/25/2021 8:11 AM, Gatwood, Elden J SAD wrote:

Folks;

 

I’m sorry if we discussed this before, but I may have missed it.

 

What was the story behind this burning box car?

 

Does anyone have any photos of burning freight cars they can share?

 


Mont Switzer
 

The Monon had the same problem with composite coke cars used as late at the 1960's. Coke was loaded in Indianapolis and hauled north to destinations throughout the Midwest.

It usually happed between Indianapolis and Monon.  Crew saw smoke, set the car out, local fire departments brought water, car usually burned all the way down, mechanical department picked up the remaining metal.

The Monon switched to gons with coke containers in the late 1960's.

Mont Switzer


From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] on behalf of William Hirt [whirt@...]
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2021 10:26 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

In Morning Sun's Rock Island Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Steve Hile, there is a picture on page 34 of a Rock Island Outside Braced Wood Sheathed boxcar set off and burning in Cotter, Iowa, in May 1956. The caption states the car was carrying a load of coke. The supposition is either something set the coke on fire, or that the coke was still hot enough when it was loaded that it started a fire on it's own. The picture shows that one pile of the coke is still red hot with small amount of flames coming out the bottom of the car near the remaining door superstructure.

Bill Hirt

On 2/25/2021 8:11 AM, Gatwood, Elden J SAD wrote:

Folks;

 

I’m sorry if we discussed this before, but I may have missed it.

 

What was the story behind this burning box car?

 

Does anyone have any photos of burning freight cars they can share?

 


Ken Vandevoort
 

I am going to take a wild guess about the photo.  In the late 60's, a westbound Burlington freight train had a boxcar of bombs or some sort of ammunition from the Iowa Ordinance Plant in Middletown, Iowa.  The train was west of Chillicothe, Iowa and east of Albia, Iowa.  This was an area where the double track is physically split and not next to each other.  A hotbox caught the wood floor of the car on fire and the car blew up.  There was a casualty and it was a hobo.  I later was introduced to a railroader and he was the conductor on that train.  That is a steam crane. If this was the event, the crane was probably out of Galesburg.  I don't think the BN merger had taken place yet when the train blew up or else it was fairly new.  This may not be the event, but the scenario would fit.

I was stationed overseas when this happened.  When I returned home, a friend showed me where the car blew up.  There was still nothing growing in that area.

Ken Vandevoort


Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

Mont;

 

Thanks for those insights!

 

Any photos?

 

PRR went to all-steel gons with coke containers sometime toward the mid/late fifties due to that same problem.  Some customers did not adequately cool their coke before loading.

 

If you’ve watched a quenching, you can understand why.

 

I also talked to a rear end brakeman (IIRC) who said they could tell a coke fire from a steel fire, from a hot box, by the smell.

 

Elden Gatwood

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Mont Switzer
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2021 11:01 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

 

The Monon had the same problem with composite coke cars used as late at the 1960's. Coke was loaded in Indianapolis and hauled north to destinations throughout the Midwest.

 

It usually happed between Indianapolis and Monon.  Crew saw smoke, set the car out, local fire departments brought water, car usually burned all the way down, mechanical department picked up the remaining metal.

 

The Monon switched to gons with coke containers in the late 1960's.

 

Mont Switzer


From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] on behalf of William Hirt [whirt@...]
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2021 10:26 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

In Morning Sun's Rock Island Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Steve Hile, there is a picture on page 34 of a Rock Island Outside Braced Wood Sheathed boxcar set off and burning in Cotter, Iowa, in May 1956. The caption states the car was carrying a load of coke. The supposition is either something set the coke on fire, or that the coke was still hot enough when it was loaded that it started a fire on it's own. The picture shows that one pile of the coke is still red hot with small amount of flames coming out the bottom of the car near the remaining door superstructure.

Bill Hirt

On 2/25/2021 8:11 AM, Gatwood, Elden J SAD wrote:

Folks;

 

I’m sorry if we discussed this before, but I may have missed it.

 

What was the story behind this burning box car?

 

Does anyone have any photos of burning freight cars they can share?

 


Tim O'Connor
 


Perhaps -- but exploding ammunition box cars usually make a BIGGER mess than that.

On 2/25/2021 11:16 AM, Ken Vandevoort wrote:
I am going to take a wild guess about the photo.  In the late 60's, a westbound Burlington freight train had a boxcar of bombs or some sort of ammunition from the Iowa Ordinance Plant in Middletown, Iowa.  The train was west of Chillicothe, Iowa and east of Albia, Iowa.  This was an area where the double track is physically split and not next to each other.  A hotbox caught the wood floor of the car on fire and the car blew up.  There was a casualty and it was a hobo.  I later was introduced to a railroader and he was the conductor on that train.  That is a steam crane. If this was the event, the crane was probably out of Galesburg.  I don't think the BN merger had taken place yet when the train blew up or else it was fairly new.  This may not be the event, but the scenario would fit.

I was stationed overseas when this happened.  When I returned home, a friend showed me where the car blew up.  There was still nothing growing in that area.

Ken Vandevoort

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Rupert Gamlen
 

Elden

There was a second photo of this event, as attached. I think that the only date given was the 50’s and no location.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gatwood, Elden J SAD
Sent: Friday, 26 February 2021 3:12 am
To: RealSTMFC@groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

 

Folks;

 

I’m sorry if we discussed this before, but I may have missed it.

 

What was the story behind this burning box car?

 

Does anyone have any photos of burning freight cars they can share?

 

Thanks!

 

Elden Gatwood


Richard Townsend
 

I also suspect one wouldn’t see people casually standing around burning ammunition cars.


On Feb 25, 2021, at 10:06 AM, Rupert Gamlen <gamlenz@...> wrote:



Elden

There was a second photo of this event, as attached. I think that the only date given was the 50’s and no location.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gatwood, Elden J SAD
Sent: Friday, 26 February 2021 3:12 am
To: RealSTMFC@groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

 

Folks;

 

I’m sorry if we discussed this before, but I may have missed it.

 

What was the story behind this burning box car?

 

Does anyone have any photos of burning freight cars they can share?

 

Thanks!

 

Elden Gatwood

<Wreck and fire.jpg>


Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

That’s fabulous!  Thanks, Rupert!

 

Elden Gatwood

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Rupert Gamlen
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2021 1:06 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

 

Elden

There was a second photo of this event, as attached. I think that the only date given was the 50’s and no location.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gatwood, Elden J SAD
Sent: Friday, 26 February 2021 3:12 am
To: RealSTMFC@groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

 

Folks;

 

I’m sorry if we discussed this before, but I may have missed it.

 

What was the story behind this burning box car?

 

Does anyone have any photos of burning freight cars they can share?

 

Thanks!

 

Elden Gatwood


 

Hello Rupert,

Thanks for the photo attachment.

The burnt out car to the right in the photo looks to me to be a PFE R-30/40-18,19 or 21. A chance to see the underlying steel side framing that made these cars so long lasting.
The burnt out car behind is probable another.

Dan Smith


SamClarke
 

Although past the dates of this group, in April 1973 a bomb laden train blew up in Roseville, CA it was cause by a hot wheel or journal box. The train just arrive at the SP yard after descending the Sierra Nevada Mountain’s Donner summit. The train originated from The then Naval Depot Hawthorne, Nevada. Many of the box cars were owned by the Government. There are a number of videos available.

 

 

 

Sam Clarke

R&D / Tech Advisor / Artist

Kadee Quality Products Co.

mail@...

541-826-3883

 


Garth Groff and Sally Sanford <mallardlodge1000@...>
 

Sam and Friends,

My parents lived in Roseville, just a block from the eastbound yard throat. They were thankfully beyond the danger zone, which was closer to the west end where the explosions flattened the village of Antelope. I was in college down in Southern California at that time, and finally was able to get through on a pay phone (no cell phones yet, and the school's phones in the dorms didn't allow long distance). My parents were o.k., but shaken by all the explosions.

I never saw photos of the cars themselves, but these were probably ex-USN, by then DODX 50', 1 1/2 door PS-1s with a 10' IH (see attached; car preserved at the Western Railway Museum. Note the Chrysler trucks.). Certainly unique cars, and actually built within our period of interest. The explosives were iron bombs destined for Vietnam, but at least one tank car of LP gas was blown into the sky when the fire reached it. When the UP rebuilt the yard a few years after the SP take-over, their contractors found several unexploded bombs that had lain under the tracks for 25 or so years.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff  🦆




On Thu, Feb 25, 2021 at 4:28 PM SamClarke via groups.io <samc=kadee.com@groups.io> wrote:

Although past the dates of this group, in April 1973 a bomb laden train blew up in Roseville, CA it was cause by a hot wheel or journal box. The train just arrive at the SP yard after descending the Sierra Nevada Mountain’s Donner summit. The train originated from The then Naval Depot Hawthorne, Nevada. Many of the box cars were owned by the Government. There are a number of videos available.

 

 

 

Sam Clarke

R&D / Tech Advisor / Artist

Kadee Quality Products Co.

mail@...

541-826-3883

 


SamClarke
 

I sent this to Dan a few moments ago.

 

Dan, thanks for your comments.

 

I was working at the Naval Depot in Hawthorne (NADHAW) at the time, When they brought back some of the unexploded bombs we done a lot of testing including sawing bombs in half to check if there were too many voids in the explosive castings.  Without their fuses the bombs are actually really safe. They actually have a very high cook off temp so we knew the box cars were burning quite a lot before the bombs went off.

 

 


Ed Mims
 

Cars used for hauling ammunition or other explosives which had wooden floors were required to be equipped with spark shields. These were sheet metal plates placed above the wheels to help prevent sparks from cast iron brake shoes from catching the car floor on fire. This is included in the Interchange Rules. Rule 88 I think.

Ed Mims 


William Hirt
 

Looking at back at Eldon's original picture, it looks like the CB&Q crane is #204360 which was stationed at Galesburg. There is a picture of it (the reverse side in the late 1960s and repainted) in the new Morning Sun book Crane and Derrick Color Portfolio Volume 1.

Bill Hirt

On 2/25/2021 10:16 AM, Ken Vandevoort wrote:
I am going to take a wild guess about the photo.  In the late 60's, a westbound Burlington freight train had a boxcar of bombs or some sort of ammunition from the Iowa Ordinance Plant in Middletown, Iowa.  The train was west of Chillicothe, Iowa and east of Albia, Iowa.  This was an area where the double track is physically split and not next to each other.  A hotbox caught the wood floor of the car on fire and the car blew up.  There was a casualty and it was a hobo.  I later was introduced to a railroader and he was the conductor on that train.  That is a steam crane. If this was the event, the crane was probably out of Galesburg.  I don't think the BN merger had taken place yet when the train blew up or else it was fairly new.  This may not be the event, but the scenario would fit.

I was stationed overseas when this happened.  When I returned home, a friend showed me where the car blew up.  There was still nothing growing in that area.


Charlie Vlk
 

Sorry for repeating if this has been observed already, but even an “all metal” box car or reefer had a wood floor and liner that would burn very nicely.

Charlie Vlk

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Ed Mims
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 6:53 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

 

Cars used for hauling ammunition or other explosives which had wooden floors were required to be equipped with spark shields. These were sheet metal plates placed above the wheels to help prevent sparks from cast iron brake shoes from catching the car floor on fire. This is included in the Interchange Rules. Rule 88 I think.

Ed Mims 


Rupert Gamlen
 

Staying with the wrecking equipment, does anyone recognise the origin of the boom car 207313? The attached photo by Bernard Corbin shows the boom car with CB&Q's 75 ton Industrial wrecking derrick 204334.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ

-----Original Message-----
From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of William Hirt
Sent: Saturday, 27 February 2021 4:21 am
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Burning Box Car

Looking at back at Eldon's original picture, it looks like the CB&Q crane is #204360 which was stationed at Galesburg. There is a picture of it (the reverse side in the late 1960s and repainted) in the new Morning Sun book Crane and Derrick Color Portfolio Volume 1.

Bill Hirt


 

Eldon,

Mont might be in his basement working on sweet freightcar models instead of looking at his computer, so I will send along a Monon coke car photo.  The car in the photo was rebuilt from a low-sided composite gon with a super-structure added  If you look closely you can see where the side stakes bolted to the frame.  Others were rebuilt from boxcars.  As Mont related, these caught fire every so often, so the car series changes over time.  In my late 40s time period there were 4 series numbered 900-1039.

Do you ever see any of these Monon cars in your photos of Pittsburgh?

Best Regards,

Mike Aufderheide 


Philip Dove
 

the undersides of cars catching fire from the friction of brakes was a reality. In 1983 on thecp at the Spiral tunnels We passed a freight train coming down and a high proportion of the cars were smoking and some had flames around their trucks or smoke from  near the middle. The engineer told me this was the older clasp brakes setting fire to the accumulated dirt underneath the car. It was a normal occurence on westbound freight trains and rarely spread to the cars structure, before it cooled down.

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