Refrigerator Cars - Salt Water Drippings


Bob Chaparro
 

Refrigerator Cars - Salt Water Drippings

This text is from the 1925 Car Builders' Cyclopedia Of American Practice.

Note that from 1923 onward, brine in ice tanks was not to be allowed to drip on to the track. This was to prevent corrosion damage to track, bridges and electrical circuits. Brine was to be drained at icing stations.

What is not clear is whether this also applied to ice bunkers, as opposed to ice tanks. Does anyone know the answer to this?

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

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When salt is used with ice in a bunker, the method of disposing of the salt water drippings requires special attention. If brine falls on the truck parts, rails, etc., the resulting damage is great and heavy maintenance cost results. The subject is of such importance that the American Railway Association as early as 1898 adopted the following: Recommended Practice adopted, 1898; revised, 1910

1. All salt-water drippings should be retained in the ice tanks and drained off only at icing stations.

2. The total capacity of drain openings should not exceed the capacity of traps, and the capacity of both drains! and traps should be sufficient to release all drippings within the time limit of icing the train.

3. The mechanism adopted for handling drain valves; should be simple and positive, and so designed as to insure closing the valves before hatch plugs can be returned to their places.

4. Salt drippings should be conducted from ice tanks through the drain valves above described and thence to the outside of cars through regular traps and drain pipes.

The A. R. A. interchange rules also specify that after January 1, 1923, cars carrying products which require for their refrigeration the use of ice and salt, and which are equipped with brine tanks, shall not be accepted in interchange unless provided with a suitable device for retaining the brine while enroute between the icing stations.


Todd Sullivan
 

According to my friend Chuck Yungkurth, the steel bridges on the ERIE eastbound track across the Southern Tier of New York had significant corrosion from the ice drippings from eastbound reefer loads.  So much so, that it affected the way trains were routed in the 1970s-1990s, IIRC.

I think that may answer your question.

Todd Sullivan


Douglas Harding
 

Corrosion from salt melt was a significant problem for railroads. This was because all reefers could have salt added to the ice for lower temps. That was the purpose of ice. Meat required a lot of salt as shippers wished to ship meat at temps in the mid 30s. Many produce and dairy products were shipped with temps in the 40s, but some required temps in the 30s, and frozen times required temps in the 20s or lower, increasing the required salt amounts.

Meat reefers different from other reefers in one important area, the ice bunkers were sealed from the load area. And there was no fan to circulate the cold air. This prevented the meat from getting contaminated from water and salt melt. Meat never came in direct contact with ice, as in blowing in ice to top the load.

Many meat reefers and some other reefers had brine tanks (but not all) meaning the ice bunkers were sealed so no salt melt dripped out or entered the reefer interior. The bunker drains had plugs, which were only opened at proper facilities equipped to handle the salt melt. Often when opened the drains were plugged with ice and salt requiring the carmen to beat open the drains when the plug was removed.

Traditional ice bunker reefers had open drains that dripped water (and salt) on the ROW, the undercarriage, etc.as the ice melted. These bunkers also had screened openings into the reefer interior, allowing better air flow but also allowed water to enter the car interior. This is one reason reefer floors had ribs or slats, to allow ice melt water to flow and drain. It also allowed ice blown in on top of produce to melt, drip to the floor and drain via the bunker drains.


Doug Harding
Youtube: Douglas Harding Iowa Central Railroad


Corey Fischer
 

Same deal with the West Shore in upstate NY. Significantly more corrosion to bridges on the eastbound track. 

On May 7, 2022, at 10:12 PM, Todd Sullivan via groups.io <sullivant41@...> wrote:

According to my friend Chuck Yungkurth, the steel bridges on the ERIE eastbound track across the Southern Tier of New York had significant corrosion from the ice drippings from eastbound reefer loads.  So much so, that it affected the way trains were routed in the 1970s-1990s, IIRC.

I think that may answer your question.

Todd Sullivan


np328
 

     My uncle Joe McGrath was a civil engineer who worked for the Milwaukee Road (around the Chicago area) for part of his career. He mentioned that the Milwaukee would keep the loaded iced reefers on one track where double track existed. That like prior commenters above have posted, to keep corrosion on track switch components and bridge structures to where they could be more readily checked. He also talked about moments of motion when designing trestles and such that - the locomotives and more over cars - which we talk about modeling on this site. This was all was very entertaining, however perhaps wasted on my brother and I as we were teenagers then and while the topic was interesting, it remained in our brains as long as anything does with teenagers. Perhaps some here who worked on the Milwaukee Road would remember more. 
   
      However, I do recall reading in older Railway Ages about the roadbed cinders produced by steam locomotives and the brine becoming "batteries" and affecting signaling circuits with false currents.
                                                          That I think, could well be a driving force to contain the brine.                                                                      James Dick     Roseville, MN 


Philip Dove
 

I have read that the Nickel plate had to replace some bridges in the West of Cleveland because of corrosion caused by brine from reefer. Iirc the replacement bridges had channels to collect the dripping brine and Channel it away harmlessly. 



-------- Original message --------
From: np328 <jcdworkingonthenp@...>
Date: Sun, 8 May 2022, 21:18
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Refrigerator Cars - Salt Water Drippings
     My uncle Joe McGrath was a civil engineer who worked for the Milwaukee Road (around the Chicago area) for part of his career. He mentioned that the Milwaukee would keep the loaded iced reefers on one track where double track existed. That like prior commenters above have posted, to keep corrosion on track switch components and bridge structures to where they could be more readily checked. He also talked about moments of motion when designing trestles and such that - the locomotives and more over cars - which we talk about modeling on this site. This was all was very entertaining, however perhaps wasted on my brother and I as we were teenagers then and while the topic was interesting, it remained in our brains as long as anything does with teenagers. Perhaps some here who worked on the Milwaukee Road would remember more. 
   
      However, I do recall reading in older Railway Ages about the roadbed cinders produced by steam locomotives and the brine becoming "batteries" and affecting signaling circuits with false currents.
                                                          That I think, could well be a driving force to contain the brine.                                                                      James Dick     Roseville, MN 


Guy Wilber
 

 Bob Chaparro wrote:

"Refrigerator Cars - Salt Water Drippings
This text is from the 1925 Car Builders' Cyclopedia Of American Practice.
Note that from 1923 onward, brine in ice tanks was not to be allowed to drip on to the track. This was to prevent corrosion damage to track, bridges and electrical circuits. Brine was to be drained at icing stations."

Never rely on Car Builders' Cyclopedias for such dates without verification from other sources.  The deadline was extended to January 1, 1924.  

1923 American Railway Association Interchange Rule 3, Section (f):  After January 1, 1924, no refrigerator car equipped with brine tanks will be accepted from owner unless provided with suitable device for retaining the brine between icing stations.  

"What is not clear is whether this also applied to ice bunkers, as opposed to ice tanks. Does anyone know the answer to this?"

Strictly cars equipped with brine tanks.    

Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada


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