GBW Aluminum Traffic (was Manifest of Lading)


Julian Erceg
 

Hello all,

First of all, thank you Andy for posting the GBW conductor's book.  Much appreciated!

As I browsed the book, I stumbled upon a page that had aluminum pigs coming from Wisconsin Rapids, probably from the Pacific Northwest and interchanged at Winona which made sense to me.  But on the same page I noticed that there was "alum" traffic that was picked up at Amherst Jct. which wasn't as obvious to me.  Normally I'd assume that "alum" was an abbreviation for "aluminum" but the different pickup location got me questioning that assumption.

"Alum" could also maybe mean aluminum sulfate which is used in paper making. There is certainly paper making industry in central Wisconsin, and a little google searching suggested that some consumers did manufacture their own, so for a bit I considered maybe this was locally originated aluminum sulfate traffic.  But based on car types involved (i.e. gondolas), "aluminum" being spelled out explicitly in some cases, and the other traffic that was also picked up with it, I think it is indeed western originated aluminum traffic.

Anyway, I assume this is traffic moving on a GN / NP to SOO at the Twin Cities to the GBW at Amherst Jct. routing?  Interesting the GBW managed to get included in the routing instead of a direct SOO - AA at Manitowoc route.  Besides the aluminum, there were a few other interesting shipments such as salmon and batteries, although much of the remaining traffic was of a type that also could've originated on the SOO.  Also interesting is the lack of westbound traffic set out at Amherst Jct.  The cars used weren't using the same route going west, that is pretty clear.  (Or at least not via Train 1 that Conductor Hansen worked.  I don't know if there was another westbound operating at this time.)

Making this relevant to the list, I'm wondering if the cars used were assigned to a pool for this traffic as it seems to be a regular move.  They could've also been random empties that carried steel and pipe west.  Most of the cars were empty eastern road gons, with automobile cars making up the rest.  I made a list of all of the aluminum traffic from the book.  The majority moved through Amherst Jct. and what was received at Winona (I assume) has different car types and a different "feel" to the reporting marks.  All of the Amherst Jct. cars were bound for the Ann Arbor whereas some of the Wisconsin Rapids (Winona) cars were bound for the Pere Marquette.  I'll attach the list below.

Separately, now I'm curious, was aluminum sulfate a significant rail commodity? 

Thanks,
Julian Erceg




Tim O'Connor
 


Alumina (concentrate) was another rail commodity. A number of private owners and
the Illinois Central and I maybe GN bought covered hoppers specifically for alumina.


On 2/4/2022 4:45 PM, Julian Erceg via groups.io wrote:

Hello all,

First of all, thank you Andy for posting the GBW conductor's book.  Much appreciated!

As I browsed the book, I stumbled upon a page that had aluminum pigs coming from Wisconsin Rapids, probably from the Pacific Northwest and interchanged at Winona which made sense to me.  But on the same page I noticed that there was "alum" traffic that was picked up at Amherst Jct. which wasn't as obvious to me.  Normally I'd assume that "alum" was an abbreviation for "aluminum" but the different pickup location got me questioning that assumption.

"Alum" could also maybe mean aluminum sulfate which is used in paper making. There is certainly paper making industry in central Wisconsin, and a little google searching suggested that some consumers did manufacture their own, so for a bit I considered maybe this was locally originated aluminum sulfate traffic.  But based on car types involved (i.e. gondolas), "aluminum" being spelled out explicitly in some cases, and the other traffic that was also picked up with it, I think it is indeed western originated aluminum traffic.

Anyway, I assume this is traffic moving on a GN / NP to SOO at the Twin Cities to the GBW at Amherst Jct. routing?  Interesting the GBW managed to get included in the routing instead of a direct SOO - AA at Manitowoc route.  Besides the aluminum, there were a few other interesting shipments such as salmon and batteries, although much of the remaining traffic was of a type that also could've originated on the SOO.  Also interesting is the lack of westbound traffic set out at Amherst Jct.  The cars used weren't using the same route going west, that is pretty clear.  (Or at least not via Train 1 that Conductor Hansen worked.  I don't know if there was another westbound operating at this time.)

Making this relevant to the list, I'm wondering if the cars used were assigned to a pool for this traffic as it seems to be a regular move.  They could've also been random empties that carried steel and pipe west.  Most of the cars were empty eastern road gons, with automobile cars making up the rest.  I made a list of all of the aluminum traffic from the book.  The majority moved through Amherst Jct. and what was received at Winona (I assume) has different car types and a different "feel" to the reporting marks.  All of the Amherst Jct. cars were bound for the Ann Arbor whereas some of the Wisconsin Rapids (Winona) cars were bound for the Pere Marquette.  I'll attach the list below.

Separately, now I'm curious, was aluminum sulfate a significant rail commodity? 

Thanks,
Julian Erceg



Attachments:

_

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Ray Hutchison
 

I don't think that Wisconsin Rapids ever had an aluminum plant in earlier time period (Matalco opened an $80,000,000 plant in 2021, but nothing prior to that.


Tim O'Connor
 


The nature of railroad tariffs is that the GB&W could take part in tariffs from, say,
Montana to Michigan. What it would offer is a connection between Winona (for
example) and a Lake Michigan ferry to one of the Michigan lake ports. Whether it
did or not, I dont know, but I do know that a fair amount of traffic travelled towards
Michigan from the north-western states. Unfortunately, although I am sure that
railroads knew exactly what kind of traffic (online vs bridge) they handled, that kind
of data is pretty hard to find. I have a wonderful report on the Chicago & Alton that
shows not only such traffic but breaks it down by railroad connections and types of
traffic for decades from the 1920's to the 1940's. I'd scan it but the fold out spreadsheet
pages are HUGE!

The report was commissioned by the C&A board to analyze whether the B&O's control
of the Alton was beneficial or not to the C&A. The conclusion was that it was not, and
the B&O soon relinquished control and the C&A was merged into the Mobile & Ohio,
creating the GM&O.

Tim O'Connor


On 2/7/2022 3:52 PM, Ray Hutchison wrote:

I don't think that Wisconsin Rapids ever had an aluminum plant in earlier time period (Matalco opened an $80,000,000 plant in 2021, but nothing prior to that.


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Mike Clements
 

On Tue, Feb 8, 2022 at 09:07 AM, Tim O'Connor wrote:
Unfortunately, although I am sure that
railroads knew exactly what kind of traffic (online vs bridge) they handled, that kind
of data is pretty hard to find.
That data is getting easier to find the more are digitized and put online. In this case, GB&W has a listing in the 1945 Freight Commodity Statistics. For ores and concentrates NOS they bridged 330 tons and handled no other traffic originating, terminating, or local. For products of mines NOS, they handed 12103 tons terminating and 10792 bridge. For aluminum ingot pig or slab, they bridged 157 cars at 7,958 tons and handled no other. 

#112 - Freight commodity statistics of class I railroads ... 1945. - Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library


 
--
Mike Clements
Wakefield, MA
nyc65.wordpress.com


Jason P
 

Tim,
Your close but merging the Alton itself did not create the GM&O. It already existed 7 years prior.

The GM&O was formed in 1940 with the merger of the Mobile & Ohio and the Gulf Mobile & Northern. The two roads were mostly parallel between Mobile, AL and Jackson TN but the M&O also extended farther north to East St. Louis and the GM&N also had a route to New Orleans. GM&O would acquire The Alton in 1947 which furthered their reach to Chicago and Kansas City.

-Jason P.

On 02/08/2022 8:07 AM Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:



The nature of railroad tariffs is that the GB&W could take part in tariffs from, say,
Montana to Michigan. What it would offer is a connection between Winona (for
example) and a Lake Michigan ferry to one of the Michigan lake ports. Whether it
did or not, I dont know, but I do know that a fair amount of traffic travelled towards
Michigan from the north-western states. Unfortunately, although I am sure that
railroads knew exactly what kind of traffic (online vs bridge) they handled, that kind
of data is pretty hard to find. I have a wonderful report on the Chicago & Alton that
shows not only such traffic but breaks it down by railroad connections and types of
traffic for decades from the 1920's to the 1940's. I'd scan it but the fold out spreadsheet
pages are HUGE!

The report was commissioned by the C&A board to analyze whether the B&O's control
of the Alton was beneficial or not to the C&A. The conclusion was that it was not, and
the B&O soon relinquished control and the C&A was merged into the Mobile & Ohio,
creating the GM&O.

Tim O'Connor


On 2/7/2022 3:52 PM, Ray Hutchison wrote:
I don't think that Wisconsin Rapids ever had an aluminum plant in earlier time period (Matalco opened an $80,000,000 plant in 2021, but nothing prior to that.


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Tim O'Connor
 


LOL. I wondered where the "Gulf" came from. :-D

On 2/8/2022 12:11 PM, Jason P wrote:

Tim,
Your close but merging the Alton itself did not create the GM&O. It already existed 7 years prior.

The GM&O was formed in 1940 with the merger of the Mobile & Ohio and the Gulf Mobile & Northern. The two roads were mostly parallel between Mobile, AL and Jackson TN but the M&O also extended farther north to East St. Louis and the GM&N also had a route to New Orleans. GM&O would acquire The Alton in 1947 which furthered their reach to Chicago and Kansas City.

-Jason P.
On 02/08/2022 8:07 AM Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:



The nature of railroad tariffs is that the GB&W could take part in tariffs from, say,
Montana to Michigan. What it would offer is a connection between Winona (for
example) and a Lake Michigan ferry to one of the Michigan lake ports. Whether it
did or not, I dont know, but I do know that a fair amount of traffic travelled towards
Michigan from the north-western states. Unfortunately, although I am sure that
railroads knew exactly what kind of traffic (online vs bridge) they handled, that kind
of data is pretty hard to find. I have a wonderful report on the Chicago & Alton that
shows not only such traffic but breaks it down by railroad connections and types of
traffic for decades from the 1920's to the 1940's. I'd scan it but the fold out spreadsheet
pages are HUGE!

The report was commissioned by the C&A board to analyze whether the B&O's control
of the Alton was beneficial or not to the C&A. The conclusion was that it was not, and
the B&O soon relinquished control and the C&A was merged into the Mobile & Ohio,
creating the GM&O.

Tim O'Connor


On 2/7/2022 3:52 PM, Ray Hutchison wrote:
I don't think that Wisconsin Rapids ever had an aluminum plant in earlier time period (Matalco opened an $80,000,000 plant in 2021, but nothing prior to that.


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Dave Nelson
 

Sorry, I missed this thread in Feb.

 

In the late steam era almost all Aluminum smelting occurred in Washington State.  This is because such smelting requires large amounts of electricity and due to the Columbia River dams that became the center of such work.  Taking a guess here I’ll speculate that most rail shipments of Aluminum ingots would have originated here and moved across the country to various processing plants.  I know of one such plant, an oddity: At the Kaiser Permanente Cement plant in Santa Clara County (a.k.a Silicon valley) Mr. Kaiser installed a Nazi aluminum rolling plant seized by the Allies at the end of WWII.  They rolled Kaiser Aluminum Foil there for a number of years, probably past the end of our list scope.  AFAIK it was the only such plant owned by Kaiser and that product was likely shipped nationwide.

 

Dave Nelson

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Julian Erceg via groups.io
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2022 1:46 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] GBW Aluminum Traffic (was Manifest of Lading)

 

Hello all,

First of all, thank you Andy for posting the GBW conductor's book.  Much appreciated!

As I browsed the book, I stumbled upon a page that had aluminum pigs coming from Wisconsin Rapids, probably from the Pacific Northwest and interchanged at Winona which made sense to me.  But on the same page I noticed that there was "alum" traffic that was picked up at Amherst Jct. which wasn't as obvious to me.  Normally I'd assume that "alum" was an abbreviation for "aluminum" but the different pickup location got me questioning that assumption.

"Alum" could also maybe mean aluminum sulfate which is used in paper making. There is certainly paper making industry in central Wisconsin, and a little google searching suggested that some consumers did manufacture their own, so for a bit I considered maybe this was locally originated aluminum sulfate traffic.  But based on car types involved (i.e. gondolas), "aluminum" being spelled out explicitly in some cases, and the other traffic that was also picked up with it, I think it is indeed western originated aluminum traffic.

Anyway, I assume this is traffic moving on a GN / NP to SOO at the Twin Cities to the GBW at Amherst Jct. routing?  Interesting the GBW managed to get included in the routing instead of a direct SOO - AA at Manitowoc route.  Besides the aluminum, there were a few other interesting shipments such as salmon and batteries, although much of the remaining traffic was of a type that also could've originated on the SOO.  Also interesting is the lack of westbound traffic set out at Amherst Jct.  The cars used weren't using the same route going west, that is pretty clear.  (Or at least not via Train 1 that Conductor Hansen worked.  I don't know if there was another westbound operating at this time.)

Making this relevant to the list, I'm wondering if the cars used were assigned to a pool for this traffic as it seems to be a regular move.  They could've also been random empties that carried steel and pipe west.  Most of the cars were empty eastern road gons, with automobile cars making up the rest.  I made a list of all of the aluminum traffic from the book.  The majority moved through Amherst Jct. and what was received at Winona (I assume) has different car types and a different "feel" to the reporting marks.  All of the Amherst Jct. cars were bound for the Ann Arbor whereas some of the Wisconsin Rapids (Winona) cars were bound for the Pere Marquette.  I'll attach the list below.

Separately, now I'm curious, was aluminum sulfate a significant rail commodity? 

Thanks,
Julian Erceg


Tony Thompson
 

Dave Nelson wrote:

In the late steam era almost all Aluminum smelting occurred in Washington State.  This is because such smelting requires large amounts of electricity and due to the Columbia River dams that became the center of such work.  

Not really. The town and plant of Alcoa, Tennessee was built to use relatively cheap TVA power, and they produced a LOT of a aluminum. And Alcoa had a plant at Massena, New York, using Niagara Falls power, not as big as Alcoa, Tenn. but a pretty significant producer. Not saying the Columbia wasn’t big too, just that it was hardly the whole story.

Tony Thompson


Tim O'Connor
 

Dave

There was a large smelter in upstate New York on Lake Ontario for about a CENTURY. There is
a LOT of hydropower in the area, and a great deal of it is now being consumed by "Bitcoin miners".
I think by the 1950's there were also smelters in British Columbia and other places in Canada with
plenty of hydropower.

Tim O'Connor


On 4/2/2022 7:10 PM, Dave Nelson wrote:

Sorry, I missed this thread in Feb.

In the late steam era almost all Aluminum smelting occurred in Washington State.  This is because such smelting requires large amounts of electricity and due to the Columbia River dams that became the center of such work.  Taking a guess here I’ll speculate that most rail shipments of Aluminum ingots would have originated here and moved across the country to various processing plants.  I know of one such plant, an oddity: At the Kaiser Permanente Cement plant in Santa Clara County (a.k.a Silicon valley) Mr. Kaiser installed a Nazi aluminum rolling plant seized by the Allies at the end of WWII.  They rolled Kaiser Aluminum Foil there for a number of years, probably past the end of our list scope.  AFAIK it was the only such plant owned by Kaiser and that product was likely shipped nationwide.

Dave Nelson


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Tony Thompson
 

Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:
There was a large smelter in upstate New York on Lake Ontario for about a CENTURY. There is
a LOT of hydropower in the area, and a great deal of it is now being consumed by "Bitcoin miners".

That would be Massena, which I mentioned.

Tony Thompson


David Allen
 

The folks of Columbia Falls, MT would be "shocked" to know they have been moved. A large smelter, owned by Anaconda, went online in 1955.  It was served by the GN. It shut down in 1985.

Dave Allen