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Ore and Steel
PDF package contents
Better Late Than Never Taconite West, Coal East
By Richard Sanders Allen By Mark W. Hemphill
Pages 40-49, January 1959 Cover, pages 36-47, March 1995
Q. Whos the No. 2 Ore Hauler? A. Pennsy! Steel Survivor
By Bert Pennypacker By Paul D. Schneider
Pages 34-41, September 1962 Pages 68-72, March 2001
On DM&IR, 4 Cars = 1 Car Steel and Railroads: Partners
By David P. Morgan No More?
Pages 12-13, February 1976 By Bill Stephens
Pages 60-69, November 2002
Weirtons Employee-owned Alcos
By Kevin N. Tomasic Map of the Month: Steel Mills of
Pages 50-53, October 1985 the U.S. and Canada
By Robert Wegner
The Hidden Treasures of Fairless Works Pages 70-71, November 2002
By John M. Petko
Pages 46-52, July 1989 Rio Grande Commodities
By Mark W. Hemphill
Strong as Steel Pages 26-37, August 2004
By Steve Glischinski
Pages 62-70, November 1992
Il
THAN
BY RICHARD SANDERS ALLEN
Delaware & Hudson affords a classic
corporate
example
of the
psychologist's
eternal
question:
he
redity
or environment which is more
important?
LN the
early morning hours,
Monday through Friday,
three
long
black Alco road-switchers hoot for
the Church Street
crossing
in
Saratoga
Springs,
N.
Y.,
and nose their
way
gingerly
down Walworth Street to the
yards.
Behind them come
trundling
100 or more black
hoppers,
all sten
ciled DELAWARE & Hudson in
big,
bold
letters on the somber
paint.
The con
tent of these
hoppers
is black
too,
but
this is no funeral
procession.
Each car
is loaded with one of three
types
of
ore: fine
gritty dust; coal-gray
con
centrate;
or warm
steaming
chunks
all on the
way
to American industrial
plants.
The
sleepy
milkman who waits at
the
crossing
for the
freight
would
never think that some of this black
stuff
might
end
up
in the fenders of
his next
truck,
or that the
gritty
black
dust could be reduced to a
pigment
that would
give
the
paint
of his cab its
sanitary
white
appearance.
Titanium
deposits,
a national re
source found in the heart of the moun
tains of New York's northern wilder
ness,
have
given
a
dying
branch line
a new lease on life. For the black
40
January
1959
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
train
jolting by
in the
headlight gleam
is the Delaware & Hudson's "Adiron
dack
Local,"
the
nightly
ore train from
North Creek to
Saratoga Springs.
How
it came to be one of the
mainstays
of
Delaware & Hudson
freight
business
is a
story
of sudden success after a
century
of
great expectations, tragedy,
failures and unfulfilled
hopes.
The element titanium was scarce
ly
known 100
years ago.
Iron was
something
else
again,
a
commodity
to
be searched for and
exploited.
There
was ore in the Taconic and the Berk
shire Hills of Massachusetts and Con
necticut,
but it was
low-grade
stuff
and the ironmasters were
constantly
on the
prowl
for new sources of better
ore. The
great
wilderness tracts of
New York State's Adirondack Moun
tains seemed a
good possibility,
and a
few small beds were
opened up along
the rivers which flow into Lake
Champlain.
In the fall of
1826,
three Scotsmen
were
running
a small furnace at North
Elba,
N.
Y.,
which because of inferior
iron was about to
go
out of business.
One
morning
an
Indian,
Lewis
Elija,
showed them a sizable chunk of ore
which had all the earmarks of some
thing good.
For "a dollar and a half
and 'bacco" he took the Scots
up
through
a
pass
in the mountains to a
place
where the infant Hudson River
ran over a vein of
nearly pure
iron al
most 50 feet wide. An ore bed of this
enormous size was
enough
to
stagger
the
imagination
of the ironmasters.
They
lit out in a
hurry
for the state
capital
in order to file claim for what
others
supposed
to be
only cheap
timberland.
What became of
Elija,
the Indian
discoverer,
is
unrecorded,
but the
others banded
together
to
get
the tract
surveyed
and
purchased.
When the
great
find was
announced,
the
pro
moters were able to attract some
financial and
political
aid and com
menced
clearing
the land to establish
two settlements in the mountain wil
derness. Ten
years dragged by
before
things
were in readiness to form a
company
for
making
iron from the
fabulous ore bed. A million-dollar
concern, it was called the Adirondac
Iron & Steel
Company
and was headed
by
old Archibald
Mclntyre,
an ex-
state
comptroller
and a hard-headed
businessman.
Mclntyre
was aided
by
his
young,
ambitious
son-in-law,
handsome David
Henderson,
who had
been a member of the
original party
of
discovery.
Mclntyre
and Henderson had the
ore,
the
furnace,
the
limestone,
the
charcoal and all the rest of the
plant
that
goes
to make
iron, including
ade
quate manpower.
Their
problem was,
How do we
get
the iron out? A rail
road was the obvious answer. At first
they thought
of
tapping
the Montreal
market to the
north,
but the
"stupen
dous rocks"
towering
some 1300 feet
above Indian Pass were an insur
mountable barrier. The next best bet
was to the east where a crude road
stretched over the mountains to Cedar
Point on Lake
Champlain.
Here the
iron could be loaded into canal boats
and
shipped
to
Troy
or down the
Hudson to the
Big City.
The two en
terprising
Scots formed a little com
pany,
the
original
Adirondack Rail
road,
in 1839. The idea was to connect
their furnace with at least the "State
Road"
running
south to Glens
Falls,
and
perhaps
even to extend it to a
loading pier
on
Champlain.
Built of
wooden rails on a
porous
berm across
swampy land,
it never
got beyond
the
East
(or Opalescent) River,
a scant 3
miles from the
Mclntyre
Iron Works.
Vestiges
of the roadbed can still be
found in the
woods,
but it is doubtful
if the little line ever carried a horse-
drawn ore
cart,
since it
simply
led to
nowhere.
A railroad out to the south was more
feasible,
and other
promoters
as well
as the
Mclntyre
interests looked now
to this
possibility.
There was the
Sackets Harbor &
Saratoga
Railroad
Company,
whose idea was to bisect
the mountains with a 182-mile line
connecting Saratoga Springs
with
navigation
on Lake Ontario to the
northwest. Like with most of the
proposed
railroads of the
times,
it took
several
years
to
get
this
project
under
way.
Meanwhile, energetic
David Hen
derson, leading spirit
of the
Mclntyre
lion
Works,
was
accidentally
shot and
killed when he laid his
pistol
down on
a rock in the woods.
(The spot today
still bears the name
Calamity Pond.)
This was a severe blow to the com
pany,
and it suffered thereafter from
lack of
purposeful leadership.
The
proprietors
continued to make fine
iron, shipping
it out
expensively
in
small amounts
by
horse-drawn carts
over the awful roads.
Charcoal iron was excellent for
making kettles,
iron
tools,
chains and
bars,
not to mention railroad car
wheels. But when the Adirondac
Company
set
up
a
plant
at
Jersey City
to make steel it ran into trouble. It
THE New York State Conservation Act states that the Adirondack Forest Preserve
"shall remain forever wild." Three
howling
Delaware & Hudson Alco diesel road-switchers
rolling
a
lengthy
line of
hoppers bring
a modern
aspect
to the Boreas River
Canyon.
ALCOS twist
up
a stiff
grade
in Boreas
River
Canyon
with 90
empties
and
3 loads.
Speed:
3 miles an hour.
Trains 41
had for
years
been
given
a
faulty
analysis
and now discovered that its
iron ore contained as much as 10
per
cent of
"worthless, troublesome" ti
tanium. This did not
prevent
the
company
from
making
some of the
first American steel, and the
prospects
of both
plants
were
looking up.
if "that
pesky
railroad would
hurry up
and
get
built!"
Actual work was
begun
on the
Sackets Harbor
project
in 1854, and
some 30 miles of disconnected sections
were
graded
that
year.
At
Mclntyre,
the
proprietors
rubbed their hands in
anticipation
of
seeing
iron bars from
their land-locked little industrial em
pire flowing cheaply
on iron rails to
the markets of the world.
But it was not to be. The SH&S
got
into financial straits, and a
second,
third and fourth
company
were also
dismal failures. Work
stopped
at the
iron mines, and for
years
the aban
doned settlement of Adirondac, or
Mclntyre,
was looked
upon
as an
eastern
ghost
town.
During the Civil
War,
another at
tempt
was made to reach the iron
works with a railroad. And this one
almost made it. In 1863, a new Adiron
dack
Company
was formed
by
New
York
City
financiers. A bit
cautious,
they
first obtained a franchise to build
only
the initial stretch an even 60
miles north of
Saratoga Springs.
Luckily,
the
possibilities
of the line
caught
the
eye
of Dr. Thomas C. Du-
i ant, a railroad
promoter
and contrac
tor who will
always
be remembered as
the
driving
force that
pushed
the
Union Pacific Railroad
through
to
completion.
Durant,
a medical
college graduate
who
put
new life into sick railroads
instead of
ailing individuals,
was a
blunt, hard-to-know man with mus
tache, goatee
and Buffalo Bill haircut.
He had made a fortune on UP con
tracts and he took some of it to
pump
new financial blood into the
shaky
Adirondack
Railway project. During
frequent
visits
East,
he
personally
supervised
much of the
grading
and
track-laying,
so that 25 miles were
operating
in 1865.
The first train on December 1 of that
year
was drawn
by
the Adirondack's
No.
1,
an
eight-
wheeler named after
the hero of the Battle of
Gettysburg,
Major
General Hancock. The run went
only
from
Saratoga Springs
to Wolf
Creek,
a little above
Hadley village,
but it included several rock
cuts,
much
fill, and a
big
wooden deck
bridge
some 96 feet above the cedar-stained
Sacandaga
River. Year after
year
Dr.
Durant inched his little
pet
line
up
the
Hudson River, nearer and nearer to
the
great
vein of
iron,
now half
forgotten.
He still retained the vice-
presidency
ot the Union Pacific and
was
present
at the famous
golden-
spike-driving ceremony
at Promon
tory,
Utah, in 1869.
(Both
he and
Leland Stanford missed their blows
on the last
spike.)
But more and more
the Doctor felt the
spell
of the North
Woods and he turned his attention ex
clusively
to the 60-mile wilderness
railroad he had fostered.
By 1871,
the rails were in North
Creek a hamlet favored
by
Hudson
River
log
-drivers which Durant
proceeded
to
monopolize.
The Doctor
(nobody
would ever have dreamed of
addressing
him as
"Doc")
built on a
knoll
just
off the main street a fine
mansion which still stands
today.
He
personally
owned the
depot, freight
-
house and
turntable,
and
plot maps
of
the
period
show the
majority
of
prop
erty
marked "Dr. T.C.D."
The Adirondack
Company's
60-mile
franchise took the
track-layers
to a
point nearly
3 miles
beyond
North
Creek. To fulfill the
stipulations,
one
passenger
train was run to the end of
track,
and a few flats of lumber were
loaded there. Durant never lost
sight
of the
possible
extension and entered
into
negotiations
with the
Mclntyre
interests to
purchase
the entire iron
property. Again
fate intervened. The
money panic
of 1873 took a
big
bite out
of Dr. Durant's
fortune,
and with it
went
hopes
of
building
a railroad on to
the mines. He
pulled up
the track at
the stub end of his line and for 70
years
the rails reached
only
to North
Creek. Six million dollars had been
spent
to
get
it that far.
Jo. oping to
gain something
out of
his dead-end
road,
Durant looked
about for another reason to
justify
its
existence and discovered the Great
American Summer Vacationer. As
early
as 1837 ill-fated David Hender
son of the iron works had foreseen
that "were a railroad to be
built,"
the
scenery
and restful life of the moun
tains had the
makings
of a fashionable
summer resort. The beautiful cool
climate of the Great North Woods was
healthy
in summer and the
hunting
and
fishing
were unexcelled. As re
ceiver of the
bankrupt
Adirondack
Company,
Dr. Durant turned all his
efforts to
promoting
the summer vaca
tion
traffic, particularly
out of New
York
City.
He
paid
to
improve
the
stage
road to Blue Mountain Lake and
he had an interest in the launches
which
operated
on it and on
nearby
Raquette
Lake.
Wagner
Palace cars were run on the
Adirondack direct from New York,
with the
sleepers arriving early
in the
morning
at North Creek. Most of the
day
was
spent
on a
jolting "special
BEING A BRAKEMAN is no
picnic
in this
country
in winter. At
Maclntyre Develop
ment D&H crews
spot
cars for ore
loading.
covered
spring buckboard," following
steep
roads to the resort hotels in the
midst of the mountains. At the round-
trip
excursion fare of
$18.25,
thousands
of New Yorkers made the combined
railroad-stage-steamboat trip
to
Raquette
Lake each summer. In ad
dition to the
presence
of the
hotels,
the
building
of hundreds of summer
cottages
and children's
camps
in the
mountains made for the Adirondack a
passenger
trade which has lasted 85
summers. The winters were devoted
to
carrying
out
lumber, paper,
tanned
hides and
tanbark,
and to
keeping
North
Country
coal bins full.
A traveler of this
period
boarded a
wooden coach at the Adirondack
Company's
ornate
depot
and office on
Congress
Street in
Saratoga Springs.
An
eight-wheeler (more
than
likely
the T. C.
Durant)
rolled the train
along
Walworth Street to the
edge
of
town,
where it started the
long,
wind
ing pull up
the
grade
to the
height
of
land south of
Jessup's Landing (now
Corinth). Beyond,
the beautiful val
ley
of the
Upper
Hudson River
opened
up,
with the little train
hugging
the
west bank for the rest of the
journey.
Sawmills, paper
mills and tanneries
were all
going
full blast
along
the
Hudson and its
tributary
streams.
There was a fine resort hotel at The
Glen,
and Riverside
beyond
was the
jumping-off place
for all the summer
delights
of
Big
Schroon Lake. A
long
bend to the west
brought
the vaca
tioner
steaming
into the terminus at
North
Creek,
with the
prospect
of a
delicious dinner at
Eldridge's
North
River Hotel.
Passenger
traffic was
heavy during
42
January
1959
AN EMPTY CAR is moved into
position
for
loading ilmenite. This
operation
is
usually performed by
a cable and winch.
WITH THE ROAR of a rocket
being
launched, 20 tons of
processed
ore cascades
into the
waiting
car at the
sintering plant.
the
summer,
with as
many
as four full
road
trips
on the timecard. There
were numerous excursion
trains,
and
often the
gilded private
car of a Wall
Street
bigwig
was attached to the rear
of a local.
When Dr. Durant
lay
ill a
special
train
brought
his son to the
dying
financier's bedside in North Creek.
Engineer
Frank
Myers
took a
nearly
new
Schenectady
4-4-0
(thought
to be
the
Utowanna)
the 57 miles
up
the
line in
just
54 minutes! This
trip,
made on October
5, 1885,
was the
fastest recorded on the
length
of the
Adirondack Railroad and has never
been
equaled. Engineer Myers
allowed
that this was one time he ran his loco
motive at more than the half-throttle
notch,
the usual
procedure
with
pas
senger
trains on this
curving
stretch of
roadbed.
Before his
death, Durant,
a never-
give-up promoter,
had
begun
to have
hopes again
of
reaching
the iron mines
and he had
reorganized
his road with
a
projected
125-mile extension to
Ogdensburg.
For a
while,
the tanta
lizing prize
had seemed within his
reach. There had been a lot of ex
citement over a
possible purchase by
Boston interests and a
hookup
with
the
Boston,
Hoosac Tunnel & Western
Railroad,
which had
penetrated
the
state as far as
Saratoga Springs.
The
boys
from the Hub could envision a
"grand independent
line" to
bring
Ca
nadian and Great Lakes traffic
pouring
Sanford
|
Lake
bo
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ai
Elev in feet 1800
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111
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1.50
at
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oo
1 1
30 28 2
Scale in miles
6 24 22 20 18 1 6 14 1 2 10 8 6 4 2 0
TRAINS
Magazine
JRR
44
January
1959
into Beantown with the Tunnel for a
funnel. The Delaware &
Hudson, wary
of
interlopers
in its
territory,
sent out
feelers to William West
Durant,
the
Doctor's son and heir. Durant had
seen
enough
tries at a line across the
forbidding
mountain
passes
and he
sold his 6-million-dollar road to the
Delaware & Hudson in 1889 for some
thing
less than
$690,000.
Jr or 13
years,
the Adirondack con
tinued to
operate
its own
road,
under
full D&H control. Its "buckboard sub
sidiary,"
the
stage
line
beyond
North
Creek,
was in
competition
with the
New York
Central,
which reached into
the resort
country
with its own Old
Forge-Malone line,
and the little Ra
quette
Lake Railroad. One
enterpris
ing freight agent
even
brought
in cars
of coal on
barges
to the Blue Moun
tain Hotels. This traffic ended
abrupt
ly
when a tow
capsized
and sank. A
Central car still rests at the bottom of
Blue Mountain Lake.
D&H-NYC
competition
was not
confined to
freight
and
passenger
business. When in 1897 the Adiron
dack made a last
try
at a modest ex
tension
just
to
Long
Lake this time
it was
quashed
on the
very day
the
papers
were filed
by
a few-hours-
earlier condemnation of the land for
conservation
purposes by
the State of
New York. Some
say
the Forest Pre
serve Board made this hurried move
in a
genuine
effort to
keep
the Adiron
dack Mountains "forever
wild,"
while
others will
always
maintain that Cen
tral interests were the motivation be
hind it.
Over the
years,
the heirs of the
proprietors
of the deserted iron works
at
Mclntyre
had held onto their
prop
erty.
James
MacNaughton, grandson
of Archibald
Mclntyre,
administered
the lands for their timber. He also did
his best to
dispel
the
notion, long
held
by
blast furnace
men,
that ore from
his mines contained too much titanium
to make
good
steel. He even
employed
a French
metallurgist
to
prove
his
theories.
MacNaughton
was host to Vice-
President Theodore Roosevelt
during
September
of 1901. President McKin-
ley
had been shot at Buffalo but was
expected
to
recover,
so "T.R." and his
family
came
up
to the
private
Taha-
wus Club at the old
Mclntyre
works
to
enjoy
the fall weather.
Always
one
to seek the strenuous
life,
Roosevelt
climbed Mt.
Marcy
on
September 13,
only
to be told
by
a
panting messenger
that the President had taken a turn
for the worse. The Colonel set off
posthaste
down the mountain and lost
no time
commencing
the
rough
buck-
board ride to North Creek. After a
harrowing trip
in the
dark,
Roosevelt
How it all
began
THE
George Leavitt, a
4-4-0, poses
be-
/
ffls&^l
side the Adirondack
Company's
first
.^/"^s
/
general
offices at Oak and
Congress
streets in
Saratoga Springs
in 1875.
p
EIGHT-WHEELER
Major
General Han
cock crosses
Stony
Creek in 1884. Nine
teen
years
earlier the No. 1 took the
Adirondack's first train to Wolf Creek.
&a^3sS8^
VACATIONERS to New York's Adi
rondack resorts around 1880 were
likely
to start their
railroad-stage-steamboat
journey
behind the 4-4-0 T. C. Durant.
arrived at the station at 4:39 a.m. to
be
greeted
as President of the United
States. The D&H had a
special
train
waiting,
steam
up.
North Creek sta
tion had been
open
all
night, thronged
with
reporters waiting
to file their dis
patches
when Roosevelt was told of
McKinley's
death. Within minutes the
weary
new President was hustled onto
the
train,
and
Engineer George Hy-
dorn nosed D&H
engine
No. 130 out
onto the main for a fast run down to
Saratoga. Roosevelt,
the
"political
ac
cident,"
was launched on his brilliant
career in the White House from the
depot platform
at North Creek.
In
1902, by
means of a
merger,
the
D&H took over
complete operation
of
the old Adirondack
Railway Company.
A constitutional amendment now
made it
impossible
to construct a rail
road over land owned
by
New York
State. Since that last 30 miles from
the end of the D&H's Adirondack
Branch to the iron mines was now
state
land,
the
way appeared
to be
forever blocked.
Practical
mining
and
smelting
men
of the North
Country
were still
plan
ning,
however. In
1908,
Wallace T.
Foote of Port
Henry
took over control
of the
property,
now called the
Maclntyre
Iron
Company (about
this
time an extra "a"
crept
into the old
name).
Foote caused an
entirely
new
route to be laid
out, extending
from
Maclntyre
to Burdick's
Crossing
north
of Crown Point
village,
with
plans
for
a canal boat
landing pier
on Lake
Champlain
and a direct connection
with the D&H main line. With
long
detours to avoid
parcels
of state
land,
this route
incorporated
as the
Champlain
& Sanford Railroad Com
pany
was 58 miles
long
and is still
retained
along
with ore
property
today.
Unfortunately,
for the third
time,
death
stepped
in to
stymie progress.
Mr. Foote died
suddenly
before the
railroad could be
properly
financed or
the ore
given
final
testing
for use in
steel mills. For a short
period
the
magnetite
ore was hauled out on sleds
behind
big
steam tractors and loaded
on the D&H at North Creek to be
shipped
around to the furnaces at
Port
Henry.
These test runs
proved
entirely satisfactory
to the steelmak
ers,
but
transportation
costs
proved
far too
great
for
profitable operation.
After
that,
for over a
quarter
of a
century,
the D&H locals and
freights
shuttled back and forth between Sara-
Trains 45
toga
and North
Creek, while to the
north the old
Maclntyre
works crum
bled
away
in the new
growth
of forest.
vV ar
brings many
unforeseen
changes,
and World War II was the
deciding
factor that
finally brought
a
railroad to
Maclntyre
and the shores
of Sanford Lake. That and titanium.
The
despised
element that had
given
the old ironmasters so much trouble
had become a vital unit in 20th cen
tury technology.
The titanium miner
al, ilmenite, could be
processed
into
titanium dioxide, an
exceedingly
de
sirable
pigment. Briefly,
it could make
white
things
whiter. Not
only
was it
essential in the
production
of
paints,
paper,
rubber and ceramics, but it was
a
top-priority
war material for the
making
of chemical smokes and new
noncorrosive
alloys going
into aircraft
production.
Other sources in the world
were India, Brazil and Australia,
from
which
shipments might
soon be cut off.
A domestic
supply
had to be found
while the
fighting
was still confined to
Europe
and Africa.
National Lead
Company,
a
large
chemical and metal
products
manu
facturer,
had
long
been aware of the
existence of the Adirondack
deposits
containing
titanium.
Believing
the
property
could be
quickly developed
into a
large-scale producer
of
ilmenite,
the
company purchased
it in 1941 and
set
up
what has since been known as
the
Maclntyre Development.
Fifteen months saw a
plant rising
on
the shore of Sanford Lake, power
shovels
digging
ore in a
huge open pit,
and a sizable
village growing up
in the
wilderness. The first load of ilmenite
concentrate went out to North Creek
by
truck in
July
1942.
Work had
already
started on the 29
miles of railroad well before
that,
for
with Mars in the
ascendancy,
the old
works were at last to be connected
with the outer world
by
iron rails. A
right
of
way
for the railroad was made
available to the Defense Plant Cor
poration,
a U. S. Government
agency.
Under lease of DPC and National
Lead, the Delaware & Hudson set out
to build the first new railroad New
York State had seen in a
couple
of
decades.
The contractor for the
big job
was Steve Scullen of
Cohoes,
N.
Y.,
an
experienced
state
highway
builder.
His work trains
puffing up
and down
the
grades
of the extension were
hauled
by
the
only coal-burning
en
gines
ever allowed inside this
portion
of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
There were rock
cuts, long fills,
bridges
and culverts to build,
all with
modern
machinery
and know-how but
under the stress of wartime
urgency
and
shortages.
Scullen and the D&H
46
January
1959
engineers
took two full
years
to com
plete
the road
through
difficult terrain.
Because of the hush-hush nature of
the
proceedings,
there was little fan
fare when the first train went into
Sanford Lake and out with a load of
ilmenite on June 19. 1944.
Si ixce steam
operation
was con
sidered
dangerous
in the
tinder-dry
woods, the first and
subsequent
runs
were
assigned
to the D&H's first
diesel,
No. 3001. a DE-S 3000-class road-
switcher which had been
purchased
from Alco a month earlier. Thus the
Sanford Lake extension became the
D&H's first
step
toward total dieseliza-
tion. Those on the
platform
at North
Creek that
day
little dreamed that it
would be a scant six
years
before
the Adirondack Branch's last steam
engine
would be
pulling
out on the
Saratoga
run as the first
leg
of a
jour
ney
to the
scrap heap.
Some of the first ski trains in the
East were tried on this branch in
the
1930's, but
unpredictable
snow
conditions made them
unprofitable.
The
dwindling passenger
traffic
kept
a
once-a-day round-trip
mail train
on the
dead-ending
rails
year
round
until
1954,
and for two summers there
after. The last scheduled coach rolled
over the line on
September 9, 1956.
Since then the Adirondack Branch has
been a
freight- only road,
and a
good
one.
Little SC-4, the "Palmer Falls
Job,"
heads out of
Saratoga
each
weekday
morning
to take care of the
shipments
of the International
Paper Company
at Corinth,
plus
incidental
switching
along"
the
way.
In addition to
Corinth,
agencies
are still maintained at Had-
ley, Warrensburg,
Riverside and North
Creek.
The nerve center of the branch to
day
is that little
depot
at North
Creek,
where a
day
and
night
combination of
freight operations
handles the ore con
centrates out of the
Maclntyre
Devel
opment
to
Saratoga.
This is a
two-part
deal.
Five
days
a week the "Sanford Lake
Job" hauls
empties
and soft coal
up
to
the mines, does the National Lead's
yard switching
all
day,
and
brings
down a full load of ore in the late
afternoon. Few trains travel as far
simply
to take care of the
products
of
a
single plant.
In the
night
a new-
crew takes over the same
engines,
and as
SC-5,
the Adirondack
Local,
the
made-up
train rolls down to the
main line at
Saratoga Springs.
It
may
pick up
or leave loaded and
empty
box and coal cars
along
the
way,
or
run over to
Warrensburg
to serve
that
community.
At
Saratoga
the ore
train becomes
part
of a
long
White-
hall-Oneonta
freight,
and the Adiron
dack's
engines
move a new
string
of
empties
back to North Creek before
daylight.
1 ake,
for
instance,
a
trip
on a
bleak December
day
with the
unique
Sanford Lake
Job,
marked
up
to leave
North Creek at 6:45 five
mornings
a
week. The
single
DE-S 3000 Alco
job
SINTER in excess of 80 tons in each car still steams hours after
loading.
In the
background is the
sintering plant
where ore is burned with soft coal and oil.
has
long
since been
superseded by
a
locomotive of three
husky
DE-RS 4000
units, equipped
with
dynamic
brake
and radio. There
they sit, rugged
workhorses for a
dirty job, engines
idling, panting softly
in the chill
pre
dawn darkness. The crew of six
gath
ers
quickly
after a
hasty
breakfast.
Through long association, they
all
know their
jobs
and the
procedures
required
on this run. Not one of them
lives in North Creek and week ends
find them as much as 75 miles
away
with their families. While on the San
ford Lake Job their home is the ca
boose,
where beds are
quickly
made
and meals are
kept simple.
"It used to
be," says
Brakeman Dave
Bartholomew,
"that when a man
couldn't stand his wife
any longer,
or
vice
versa,
he'd bid in this
job.
Once
it was the
Alimony Club,
but I
guess
now
you'd just
call us the
Lonely
Hearts Club." The crew
usually
works
a 12-to-14-hour
day,
so at least
they
have some take-home
pay
for the
patient
wife "down the line." There
may
be a few diversions in North
Creek,
but these
boys
are seldom back
to the old
depot
in time to do much
except
eat and
prepare
for
bed,
so as
to be
ready
to roll
again
in the morn
ing.
To all intents and
purposes,
ca
boose 35832 is Conductor Jim Mor
row's home and office. Jim has had
many
a
freight
run on both main line
and the
branches,
and
computing
ton
nage
for this consist is old stuff to
him. Another D&H veteran is in the
cab of the lead diesel:
Pasquale
Roach. "Pasco" has handled this run
for a
couple
of
years
now but he
says
he still
enjoys
the
scenery, particularly
in the fall when the mountains blaze
with autumn
foliage.
Today
the leaves are
gone,
and the
ground
is covered with a few inches
of snow. The
mercury
hovers at about
18
degrees
while the clank and rattle
of
switching
carries
up
on the
steamy
air across the
still-sleeping
town.
North Creek
yard
tracks are
short,
so
each train has to be left in two sec
tions.
Though
crews use the same die
sels,
each one has its own
caboose,
and the
procedure
is to
couple
this on
to one cut of
empties, pull
the other
cut
ahead,
and double over to make
the train.
With over 50 cars
pulled
around a
bend on the
river-hugging track,
this
used to be a
tricky operation,
accom
plished by
means of marker stakes
along
the
right
of
way
and a brake-
man for visual contact in the center.
With the
radio-telephone
from the
portable
brakeman's set now in
use,
the
engineer
can back
blindly
but
neatly,
with the
speaker squawking
the words in his face: "Five
cars,
Pasco. Four . . . three . . .
easy
. . .
two . . . one." A brief
pause
as the
engineer
throttles down for a soft
meet.
"Okay,
Pasco!"
That's all there is to it: the train is
coupled
and
ready
to roll as soon
as the air lines are tested. Pasco
Roach in the cab and Jim Morrow a
mile back around the bend have
only
to
pick up
a hand
phone
for instant
contact. Between them are 3 cars of
coal,
90
empty
black D&H
hoppers,
and a lone red B&O merchandise car.
Weight
of the train is 2219
tons,
which
the road-switchers should be able to
haul
up
the
grades
with no
difficulty.
The modern
railway engineers
find
a better roadbed than the abandoned
3-mile stub with which Dr. Durant
had
paid lip
service to his "60-mile"
franchise,
and the new line curves
back
away
from the state
highway
past Ordway's
Pond and to the rear
of the hamlet of North River.
Every
train crew has its favored trackside
watcher,
and the Sanford Lake Job
is no
exception.
He is
"Jimmy"
who
lives
along
this stretch,
and whose
every-morning high sign
is rewarded
by
a
special
toot. Pasco has
only
nine
grade crossings
to watch for on the
whole 29-mile
trip,
and two of these
are not used in winter.
The
long
black train follows the
turbulent Hudson River for the first
8 miles. These waters were once an
artery
of commerce even
up
here in
the woods,
for thousands
upon
thou
sands of
logs
once went to the saw
mills in the annual
spring log
drives.
The
growling
Alcos flash
by
one land
mark with
hardly
time to make it out.
An unknown Indian
logger
was killed
long ago
in a river
jam
and buried
here. When the rails were
pushed
through
in 1943 the
grave
was redis
covered and is now marked with a
crude wooden cross and
kept
cleared
by
the sectionmen.
Just
beyond
is the Hudson River
Bridge,
the
smallest,
newest and far
thest north of
any
railroad structure
across this famous stream.
Up
to now
the
long string
of
empties
has climbed
only
a little less than 60
feet,
but for
the next 3
miles, threading
the tortu
ous
gorge
of the Boreas
River,
it as
cends a
grade
of over 100 feet to the
mile,
and at the same time winds like
an
undulating python
back and forth
through
27
sharp curves,
6 of them a
coupler-straining
10
degrees.
The
snow-blanketed North Woods Club
grade crossing goes by
and the
steep
grade
is at hand.
"Up through
the
rocks,"
remarks
Pasco. "Here's the hard
part."
The
growl
of motors becomes more
intense,
hemmed in
by
the
high granite
walls
of the
cuts,
and train
speed quickly
dwindles.
AT STILLWATER SIDING two thirds of
the retainers are set
up
for the descent
down
through
Boreas River
gorge.
Fireman Harold Whalen is
just
about to run a
pot
of tea for the en
gineer
when the red
light
starts flash
ing
in the locomotive cab and the
strident alarm bell cuts all conver
sation.
The third unit is
cutting out,
right
here on the
grade
where it is
most needed. In no time Harold is
back there,
searching
for the trouble
and
finding
it in a broken electrical
contact.
Spasmodically
the unit re
sponds
as he works on
it,
but mean
while the train is
slowing, laboring
in
the
steep
curves of the
jagged
rock
cut,
while Pasco nurses the
power. Barely
moving,
the two units strain to
pull
the
tonnage up
the
grade
as No. 3's
engine
comes on and off under Harold's min
istrations.
Slower,
slower . . . move
ment is
hardly perceptible
for a few
moments. Then
power
cuts in
strong
and the Alcos
pick up
the
steady
hum
again. Triumphant,
the train
tops
the
rise,
and in a few minutes is
gliding
smoothly alongside
the rails of Still
water
siding.
"Whew!"
says Dave,
braking
at the
head end. "Sure looked like we were
going
to have to double the hill that
time!" With an occasional load of
over 2830 tons or in an
emergency
such as that
just past, "doubling up
to
Stillwater" is sometimes a
necessity,
Trains 47
and the
siding
was
placed
there for
just
that
purpose.
Now the train is
rolling again,
nos
ing along
the
frosty
steel ribbons that
twist and turn
through
the softwood
forests. There are some
high
fills
along
the flowed lands
bordering
Van-
derwacker Brook, and then comes
something
unusual. It is the
only
straight
stretch where the whole of
the train can be seen at once a bee-
line
tangent
in the middle of a line
which contains 127 curves. After an
other 2-mile
grade,
the rest of the
trip
into Sanford Lake
storage yard
is
practically
level.
The
curving,
four-track
yards
are
just
south of the National Lead Com
pany's plant,
a modern industrial
workshop
set down here
by
circum
stance and surrounded on three sides
by
the
forbidding peaks
of the Adiron-
dacks. The
place goes by
three names.
To its owners it is the
Maclntyre
Development
of their Titanium Divi
sion. The
company village
of 800 and
the
post
office
taking
the old Indian
name of Mt.
Marcy, highest peak
in
the state are called Tahawus.
But to
railroaders,
the
place
is San
ford Lake, so named for the
body
of
water on which the
plant
was built.
Since National Lead has no switch
engines,
the D&H diesels turn on the
wye
and
spend
a
good
share of the
day
at the
Maclntyre Development spot
ting empty
cars where
they
will be
needed
during
the next 24 hours. This
work is balanced
by snaking
loaded
hoppers
down to the
yard
to make
up
a train to take out.
After
processing,
the ilmenite con
centrate, very fine,
comes from the
mill and trickles into D&H
hoppers.
These cars are cleaned and
inspected
at
Saratoga Springs
before
they
ever
coma
up
the branch, since a few holes
would let the valuable stuff sift
away
like
grain
from a
rat-gnawed
feed bin.
It's
heavy,
too.
Hopper
cars
only
half
full
weigh up
to 85 tons.
This ilmenite concentrate is
shipped
directly
to National Lead's titanium
dioxide
plants
at
Sayreville,
N.
J.,
and
St.
Louis,
Mo. There the black of the
receiving yards
on one side contrasts
sharply
with the white
pigment
wait
ing
for
shipment
on the other side.
Jim Morrow's crew tries to
keep
the
track
adjacent
to the ilmenite loader
full. To
get
the cars into
position,
the
workmen here use a
long
cable and
winch called the
"tugger." Gravity
takes a full car down on a
parallel
track. When the familiar diesels and
their crew are
busy elsewhere,
a
rugged
rubber-tired Tournadozer is
occasionally pressed
into
service,
straddling
the rails to
spot
a
hopper
and
keep
the ore
flowing.
Magnetite,
the iron ore from which
titanium has boon
separated
is now
considered a
byproduct,
but it looms
large
in
tonnage
for the railroad. Dur
ing
World War II, the
Maclntyre plant
built
up huge stockpiles
of the
mag
netic ore. After the rails reached San
ford Lake these were
gradually
re
duced until
only
a small amount
remains
today.
The steel
industry pre
fers it as sinter, and it is in this form
that most of the
"mag"
leaves the
works.
The
sintering plant
is the most
spec
tacular
operation
at Sanford Lake.
Magnetite,
soft coal and oil are burned
together
in three
large pans,
to
emerge
in red-hot
spongelike
chunks. Load
ing
is
accomplished directly
into the
railroad
hoppers,
and a continual cur
tain of water
spray plays
on their
steel
plates
to
keep
the
paint
from
blistering
and the sides from
buckling.
Dropped
down from the
storage
tracks
BUT ITS TRUE!
The
year:
1940.
The
place:
Maine.
The
plot: Latter-day,
frustrated Commodore
Vanderbilt wants to
run his own
train,
so
he rents a railroad
for a
day
... for
$351
Locomotive: Steam.
Where to read about it:
February
TRAINS
on sale
January
25.
above,
three cars at a time sit bathed
in water and steam on the sinter
plant
loading
rack.
Every
15 minutes there
is a roar and a whoosh of
roiling
black
dust as one of the sinter
pans
is
dumped directly
into a
car,
often
right
beside the
shunting
road-switchers.
Sparks fly
and red-hot chunks cas
cade down in a
miniature, momentary
hell of
bursting, crackling
ore. The
crew
pay
little attention and
go
quietly
on about their work. Another
tugger pulls
loaded
hoppers
of sinter
to a scale and the
storage
track be
yond,
where
they wait,
hot and steam
ing,
to be made
up
with the rest of
the train. A checker can work in his
shirtsleeves down between these lines
of cars on even a zero
day
and still
emerge sweating
from the radiated
heat. Snow, which is no
stranger
to
the Adirondacks, never
stays
more
than a few moments around the
Maclntyre
sinter
plant,
and the hot
standing
cars are an effective
way
to
keep
the roadbed well melted down.
Back and forth around the
yards
and
plant,
the Alcos and the crew
keep busy
all
day. Finally,
out of the
side tracks and the
storage
lines a
train
begins
to take
shape
in the dusk.
Using
the same
procedures
as at North
Creek,
it is made
up
with two sections
and then
joined.
The
radio-telephone
crackles with terse orders and ac
knowledgments:
consist,
tonnage,
brakes,
air lines. Check and double
check in the
gathering
dark. To the
north is the
glow
of the
Maclntyre
Development, working
round the
clock. To the South is
only
black
ness and
quiet,
cut after a
long
wait
by
Pasco's blast of the air horn, an
nouncing
that the train is
ready.
Then
sound comes
up
out of the dark for
est
couplers clicking faintly
in the
distance,
like a row of
failing
dom
inoes. The noise
gathers intensity
to
become a chain of rocketlike
bursts,
and the caboose lurches forward to the
rumble of wheels.
"Everybody's
in a
hurry
to
get
home
on a
Friday," says
Rear Brakeman
Walt
Benjamin, laughing.
"Watch
out for the slack in the
dips!"
The
long
black
string sways
and creaks
into the dark
woods,
with
only
an
occasional
glimpse,
far
ahead,
of the
glow
from the locomotive
headlight.
Conductor Morrow is
filling
in his
sheets,
his back to the warm stove.
Tonight
there are 6626 tons
going
down the branch to
Saratoga
82
loaded
hoppers
of
ilmenite,
sinter and
mag;
2
hopper rejects;
and an
empty
box car.
Despite
the
downgrade,
the curves
govern
the
speed
at which the train
can
travel,
and the
only spot
where
the
long
line of loaded ore cars feels
like "fast
freight"
is on the
straight
stretch south of the Newcomb Road
crossing.
Stillwater
siding
is a
regular stop
for all trains from the mines. Here a
brakeman from each end sets
up
the
brake retainers on two-thirds of the
train, ready
for the descent through
the Boreas River
gorge.
Stillwater is
miles from human
habitation,
and the
quiet
is
practically deafening.
When
the retainers are set
up,
the
engineer
tests his air
again,
and the rear brake-
SANFORD LAKE end of D&H's ore-
train
operation: pit
and titanium plant
of National Lead
Company,
railroad
sidings, wye
and Tahawus village.
48
January
1959
man tells him over the radio-tele
phone: "Okay,
Pasco."
Nothing happens.
He calls
again.
"Go
outside, Walt," suggests
the
conductor. "We
may
be in a dead
spot."
Benjamin drops
off the
step
with the
set
strapped
over his shoulder. Still
nothing.
He mutters to
himself,
listen
ing
on the
phone.
Then it comes
Pasco's voice from the head end.
"I'm in the other
engine.
I heard
you
but couldn't transmit."
"Okay,
now."
A few more moments of dead si
lence,
and then the air horn blast
comes
floating back, echoing
off the
mountain ravines.
Couplers
clank and
clamor
again,
and the train starts its
descent
through
the rock cuts. On the
sharp
curves the
flanges
and brakes
scream in
protest, sending
out little
flashes and
sparks
all down
along
the
wheels of the train ahead. The 3 miles
go fast,
with the caboose
hauling
and
pulling
first one
way
and then the
other. In the
cherry lamplight
the
crew is in a
happy
mood. After
all,
it's
Friday. They
tell of the deer that
charged
on the tracks and that Pasco
almost
hit,
of the lost and
weary
fish
ermen who
flagged
them down late
one
night
last
summer,
and of the
debt-ridden brakeman who once used
the Sanford Lake Job as a
dandy
six-
month
refuge
from his creditors.
(The
Internal Revenue
boys finally caught
up
with
him.)
Downhill the miles
go
fast and in
no time the
lights
of North River and
then North Creek are ahead. With
retainers
off,
once more the train is
broken in two and
placed
in its
long
sections,
side
by
side on the bank of
the Hudson. Pasco comes back for ca
boose 35832 and the
job
is
nearly
done.
The
engine
rumbles
past
the silent
cars;
those with sinter are
already
melting
the snow accumulated be
neath them. Soon
they'll
be off
again
for
Saratoga,
for further movement to
Oneonta and the steel mills of Penn
sylvania
and
Maryland.
North Creek
depot
is a blaze of
light
and
activity,
with
waybills spread
out and crews
signing
out and in as the
Adirondack Local men take over for
the
night
run. That
long
train of ore
coming
down out of the mountains
each
day
is
helping
to make titanium
a Titan of metals. But it is doubtful if
the men
just
off
duty
ever think of
that. The Sanford Lake Job is finished
for another
week,
and the
Lonely
Hearts Club is in a
tearing
rush to
get
home. JL
Trains 49
i.
:tr
a*
Q.
Whos the No
ore hauler?
A.
Pennsy!
Import
ore has
put
PRR on the heels
of DM&IR in total tons moved
BERT PENNYPACKER
1
ANY discussion of iron ore traf-
fic must
necessarily
be well for-
tified with an
adequate supply
of
highly descriptive superlatives,
for
this is
big
business from ali
angles.
Hauling
the metallic ore is
literally
the task of
putting flanged
wheels and
steel rails underneath mountains on
the
move, requiring specialized
rail
road hardware of fantastic
propor-
tions:
long
waterfront
piers heavily
laden with
ponderous ore-handling
machinery; hopper
cars
by
the thou-
sands;
and diesel or electric loco
motive
horsepower
in similar amounts.
For
example, Pennsylvania Railroad,
which has a
traditionally
famous
knack for
doing things
in
big ways,
hauls iron ore in
quantities compa-
rable to its
large
volumes in merchan-
dise, coal,
or
piggyback. Pennsy's
South
Philadelphia
ore
import pier
unloads
ships
and fills
hopper
cars so
fast that it's almost unbelievable
just imagine
a 22-hour
output
of 1057
70-ton
hopper
cars. That
averages
out
to 48 cars
per
hour!
(The
1-hour rec-
ord for the
pier
is 89
cars.)
And the
ore in those 1057 carloads wasn't
only
scooped
out of
ships' holds;
it had to
travei
along
the
pier
on
conveyor
belts,
be lifted 110 feet
high, dumped
into
receiving bins, weighed,
and fi
nally dropped
into the railroad cars
below.
Or consider an ore
shipment moving
westward across the
Keystone
State
in a
spaced-out convoy
of six trains
involving equipment
to the tune of
500 cars and 24 locomotive units haul
ing
more than
35,000 deadweight
tons
of mineral
lading, plus
cars.
Large-scale bulk-commodity
mov-
ments like this
are,
of
course, impres-
sive,
but there's another facet to the
business of
hauling
steel's
principal
raw
ingredient.
The stuff is extremely
h-e-a-v-y. Very
little is
required
to
load a car to
capacity;
used for
ore,
the standard coal
hopper
will
weigh
in with a
capacity
load when barely
half full.
Putting
it in terms of vol
ume
measure,
or
pounds per
cubic
foot,
iron ore
weighs
in at a
general
34
September
1962
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
*>*5n%j?
^
average
of 150
pounds,
far
exceeding
bituminous coal's 75 to 94
pounds,
or
water's modest 62.4
pounds.
At the
steel
mills, average production
sta-
tistics show that blast furnaces
gulp
down
V tons of ore for
every
ton of
finished steel
produced,
after the vari-
ous
steelmaking processes
have been
completed.
According
to nationwide totais cora-
piled by
the Association of American
Railroads, grain, piggyback,
and ore
(ali kinds) carloadings
were the
only general commodity
classifications
posting gains
in 1960. The ore increase
was
544,000 cars,
or 32.7
per cent,
above the
previous year,
but it must
be remembered that 1959 was a steel
Ali pilotos these pages, the Pennsy.
AS
many
as 48 cars
per
hour can be loaded at
Pennsylvania's Philadelphia import
ore
pier.
Ore is extremely heavy lading, requires (above)
two GG-1 electrics to lift a train of it
out of the
city
on the
freight high
line toward inland
steelmaking
cities. In electrified
territory Pennsy's
best ore-haulers are its new P-5
replacements,
the six-motor,
4400
h.p.
E-44's,
three of which can lift more than
10,000 gross
tons of ore train off the
pier.
strike
year.* Pennsylvania
Railroad's
1960 bite of iron ore traffic was a
whopping
20.8 million
tons,
which was
nearly
9
per
cent of its total
freight
tonnage.
PRR
originated
10.4 million
tons,
which
represented
10.7
per
cent
of ali iron ore
tonnage originated by
Class 1 railroads
during
1960. "Al-
though
we are
continuing
to haul a
good
volume of
domestically
mined
Minnesota ore from the Mesabi
Range,
via the Lake Erie
ports,
our basic ore
traffic
pattern
structure has
undergone
radical
changes
in recent
years,"
ex-
plained Pennsy's
Coal Traffic Man-
ager
W. Parker
Stuart,
who directs
coal and ore traffic from his 15th floor
office at Six Penn Center Plaza in
downtown
Philadelphia. Stuart,
a
tall,
handsome
61-year-old
PRR veteran
employee
who's been
working
for the
railroad since the
age
of 18 when he
started as a
messenger,
has been in
charge
of coal and ore traffic since
1953. He
continued,
"This
changed
traffic
pattern
now
gives
us more than
half our ore
tonnage
at Eastern sea-
board
ports,
the
imported
ore
coming
chiefly
from Canada and South Amer
ican countries."
Just a few
years ago,
before Mesabi
Range
ore ran out
qualitywise
and
steel
company geologists
started look
ing
for richer
foreign sources, ap
proximately
one-third of ali ore that
moved in Great Lakes vessels was
dumped
into
Pennsy hoppers
at Ash-
tabula, Cleveland,
or Erie. The
present
Cleveland ore
dock,
owned
by
PRR
and
operated by
M. A. Hanna Com
pany,
was built in 1910 and
partially
rebuilt in 1939. Its four mammoth
Hullett unloading
machines
operate
on
1961 ore carluading figures showed a decrease
of 470. 005 cars. or a 21.3 per cent drop from
the 1960 figures.
a
runway
track 871 feet
long;
each un-
loader can
scoop up
17-ton bites of ore
and has a
capacity
of 60 tons
per
min
ute, dumping
ore into
hopper
cars on
four tracks beneath. From Cleveland
alone,
9
per
cent of ali ore moved
by
ali railroads was hauled to steel mills
by
trains of
keystone-heralded hop
pers.
Out of the Cleveland lakefront
lowlands
they
'd
go, blasting up
Whis-
key
Hill with
smoking
10-drivered
power pulling
and
pushing. Today
's
diesel-powered counterparts
rate four
or five units on the front and four
shoving
from behind.
Among
the
country's major
ore
haulers, Pennsy
shares a
nip-and-
tuck situation with the little 500-mile-
long giant
of the
north, Duluth,
Missa-
be & Iron
Range.
In round
figures,
1960
tonnage
of the Missabe Road
topped
PRR's
by
11
million;
at the same time
the
keystone
carrier was ahead in
gross
ore revenues
by
an identical
figure,
11 million dollars. Of
course,
Missabe Road's basic existence is
pegged
almost
exclusively
to such
traffic,
while
Pennsy
handles ore
business as
just
one
segment
of its
vast and varied traffic
pattern. Also,
DM&IR
originates
the ore at
mines,
while
Pennsylvania's carloadings
in
1960 were divided almost
equally
be
tween
origination (from vessels)
and
received from other carriers for fur
ther
transport.
The ore route
map
shows
Pennsy's
principal
iron-ore hauls
originating
at the Lake Erie
ports
of Ashtabula
and Cleveland
(Mesabi Range ore),
and at
Philadelphia
and Baltimore on
the East Coast
(foreign imports)
ali
leading
to various
major
Eastern
steelmaking
centers. The railroad
Trains 35
owns three ore
piers, ineluding
the
remarkable Pier 122
South,
located at
Greenwich
Point,
South
Philadelphia.
The Cleveland and Ashtabula
piers
are
operated
for PRR under a lease
agreement
with M. A. Hanna
Mining
Company;
Baltimore ore
tonnage
reaches
Pennsylvania
rails via Canton
Railroad
interchange.
U. S. Steel also
gives
ore traffic to PRR
by unloading
some of its own
imports
at the Fair-
less Works
plant
located on the Dela-
ware River at
Morrisville, Pa.,
from
where
Pennsy
hauls it to western
Pennsylvania plants.
It's
easy
to see how
foreign imports
have
changed
the
complexion
of ore
traffic routes. Lake ore
gets
a 100-to-
200-mile
haul;
the
imported variety
rides about 400 miles via
rail;
and
just
look at that
mileage
of 677 Baltimore
to Detroit a
point
where lake ore
involves no rail haul at ali.
On the other
hand,
don't
get
the
idea that
Pennsy
struck it rich on
long
import
ore
hauls;
an 11.8-million-
dollar investment in the
Philadelphia
ore facilities was
necessary merely
to
help
retain
existing tonnage.
Ore is
also a
comparatively
low-rated bulk
commodity,
and on
PRR, imports
move
generally
westbound over the
uphill
route which involves additional
operating expenses
in the form of
extra motive
power.
There were also
some unavoidable losses to balance
out some of the
gains.
Two
major
losses: lake ore
moving
to Morris
ville, Pa.,
and to
Sparrows Point, Md.;
and a far shorter haul to
Bethlehem,
Pa.,
which has
replaced
Mesabi
Range
ore with
imports
and a local rea mine
at
Joanna,
served
by Reading
Com
pany.
Lake ore to Bethlehem
formerly
moved via Northumberland and the
hilly
Shamokin Branch to
Lehigh
Val-
ley
connections at Mount Carmel. In-
cidentally, speaking
of the
Pennsy
ore
routings,
here's one for
Ripley's
"Be-
lieve It or Not." An occasional train-
load of ore moves out of the
Philly
yards, waybilled
to lake
ship
at
Erie,
Pa.,
and destined for a steel
company
at Sault Ste.
Marie,
Ont.! That
just
about amounts to
hauling imported
ore to the
Mesabi; however,
the im
port happens
to be a
special high
grade
not available elsewhere.
Since the Great Lakes freeze over
in
winter,
the ore traffic
up
there en-
joys
a
200-day-a-year
season on the
average.
This runs from
mid-April
to
about December 1. Of
course,
East
Coast
ports
have
year-round naviga-
tion; however, ground storage
reas
near most
piers provide
a certain
amount of
leeway.
In
fact, freight-
train and
engine
crews
usually
look
upon
well-filled
storage
reas as fu
ture
money
in the
bank,
since the
stored ore
represents
trainloads of
cars to be hauled later on.
Pennsy
ore
36
September
1962
trains
average
around 8000 to
10,000
tons in
weight,
sometimes a little
heavier out of the lake
ports.
This is
not
exceptionally heavy tonnage,
but
it must be remembered that west
bound loads are
fighting
the
uphill
route most of the
way,
and traffic
along
the ali
important
main line must
be
kept moving
at a
steady pace;
therefore ore
tonnage
is moderate and
such trains are well
powered.
Just
look at a
10,000-ton
ore
job climbing
the
Big
Hill out of Altoona with nine
units, totaling
more than
15,000
horse
power.
Ore is a
very low-slung load,
riding
near the rails as it does. Its
great unyielding weight
makes it dif-
ferent to
pull
than most other trains.
Once it's
rolling,
kinetic
energy
will
give
it
good
forward
thrust,
even to
the
point
of
pushing along uphill
if
the throttle is eased off.
In years far removed from diesel
motive
power
and
import piers,
the
10-drivered steam locomotive was
Pennsy
's ore hauler. Lake
Region
rails
were
polished by
fleets of Santa Fe's
in N-ls and N-2sa
classes, practically
irreplaceable
I-lsa
Decapods,
and
later
on, splendid Chesapeake
& Ohio-
prototyped
Texas
engines
in classes
J-l and J-la. PRR's real "ore
engine"
was its mammoth N-ls-class 2-10-2.
One of the Iast
engines designed
at
Fort
Wayne, Ind.,
60 of these were
built
by
Alo and Baldwin
during
1918
and 1919. When
built, they
were rated
at 7100
adjusted
tons
(6000
actual
tons)
about 85 loads of ore from
Ashtabula to
Conway
Yard over a
ruling grade
of
only
0.3
per
cent. Their
tonnage rating
was
probably
increased
in later
years,
since the
foregoing
figures
aren't
very impressive.
N-ls
was so
big
it couldn't
operate
far from
its Lake
Region habitat;
its
huge
boiler had a maximum outside diam-
eter of 99 inches.
However,
consider-
ing
its size and
weight,
the
design
seemed to lack the
pulling power
you'd expect. Despite
its
elephant
look,
the N-ls exerted a
starting
trac-
tive effort of
only 84,800 pounds,
with
215
pounds
boiler
pressure.
The
Pennsylvania's
renowned if
slightly
smaller I-ls
2-10-0's,
with a
compa-
rable
weight
on drivers and
higher
pressure
of 250
pounds, lugged
to the
tune of
90,000 pounds
at
starting;
and
with
improved cylinder
valve
vents,
the I-lsa was a real brute at
96,000
pounds.
The N-ls was also similar
in most dimensions to RDG's K-lsa
2-10-2's which had
90,500 pounds
T.E.
Of
course,
the
chunky
1-1
Decapod
IMPORT ore was often dusted
by cinders in
the summer of 1956. At
Denholm, Pa.,
on
August
30 a
pair
of M-l 4-8-2's were ham-
mering
west with a
seemingly endless train
of ore-laden
hoppers
behind their
big
tanks.
Don Wood.
classes,
which could
operate
almost
anywhere
on the railroad and accom-
plish practically anything
were
among
the
very
Iast
Pennsy
steam
freight
power
to see service. Their ore train
swan
song
was rendered
hauling
ore
trains out of
Northumberland, Pa.,
and
up
the 1.31
per
cent
ruling grades
of
27-mile-long
Shamokin Branch to
a
Lehigh Valley
connection at Mount
Carmel.
Up
the Shamokin Creek Val
ley they'd
come with 9000 tons of ore
train sandwiched between
pairs
of
thundering
2-10-0's fore and aft. It ali
ended in December
1957, when diesels
took over. Since
then,
the ciooked
roller-coaster branch has been rele-
gated
to
purely
local
traffic, chiefly
coal mine runs. Little or no Bethle-
hem-bound ore moves to
Lehigh
Val
ley
these
days,
since the mills are
now
using imports
almost
exclusively.
If lake ore should move
again
to Beth
lehem, it would be routed to LV via
Pennsy's
Wilkes-Barre line.
A weil-remembered
high point
in
recent Lake
Region
steam
history
was
the 1956
leasing
of a dozen oil-fired
Texas-type
locomotives from
faraway
Santa Fe.
Although
these
huge
74-
inch-drivered 2-10-4's were common-
ly
associated with coal and ore
trains,
they actually
hauled
only
coal con-
sists. This traffic carne into Columbus
(O.) yards
from Pocahontas
Region
points,
and was moved northward
by
PRR to the Lake Erie
port
of San-
dusky.
This unusual
assignment
at-
tracted
wide-eyed
attention from ali
angles, bringing camera-toting pho-
tographers
from far and wide to re-
cord the
phenomenon. Pennsy engine
crews
reported
the AT&SF
engines
as
being slippery
in
starting,
but once
the
tonnage got moving, high-horse-
power
features of the machines ren
dered an excellent
performance.*
PRR owns
36,358 hopper cars,
ali of
which can be used to
transport ore;
however,
the
24,833 hoppers
of 70-ton
capacity
are most
generally
used. Un-
til
1960,
the standard
coal-type hop
per
was also the ore
carrier,
but the
railroad has now added 2000 short-
length
ore cars which it calls
"jen-
nies." Standard
hoppers
are used for
coal, ore,
or
any
other bulk com-
modities for which
they may
be suited.
In coal
service, they
can haul east-
bound bituminous from central-west-
ern
Pennsylvania
mines to tidewater
and return with loads of ore on the
westbound route.
However, jennies
are limited to ore service
exclusively.
Pennsy
feels there are
many
advan-
tages
in favor of the short
jennies:
lower first
cost; expected
25
per
cent
reduction in maintenance
costs;
short-
er
length; lighter weight;
and the
*The AT&SF jobs could not be coupled nose to nose
because of their
extended, slanting boilertube pilots.
Columbus
enginehouse hostlers had to flnd this little
fact out the hard way. Result two smashed pilots.
same
payload
as
larger
first cousins.
Coal Traffic
Manager
Stuart
explained
it this
way: "By segregating
ore cais
in the form of
jennies,
we can
get
many
more round
trips per year
out
of them. In
1960,
a
standard-type hop
per
in coal and/or ore service made
21.8 round
trips,
while our new
jen
nies were
making
36 or more. Jennies
require
far less
yard space
and also
make shorter trains.
Summing
it
up,
we don't consider the
jennies'
one-
way empty trip
a
handicap
because of
the over-all
high mileage
factor we're
achieving
with these cars."
As an
example,
to show how
empty
jennies
are returned to
Philadelphia,
consider an eastbound movement of
the little monsters out of Pitcairn
Yards on December
29,
1961. Four
diesel units had 256 of them in
tow,
a
train of about 5700 tons. Another
train earlier the same week moved
180
empty jennies, plus
35 assorted
cars of
freight.
Of
course,
standard
hoppers
fill the
gap, hauling
ore or
coal, making
far less
mileage,
but
doing
it with a
high percentage
of
pay-
loads. More than half the
empty hop
pers coming
off South
Philadelphia's
coal
pier
are switched
directly
to the
adjacent
ore
pier
for
loading.
The two classes of
jennies compare
with nine different classes of standard
hoppers
as follows:
Cost Capacity Wt. empty Length
Standard 10,000 70 tons 53,000 lbs. 4 1 ft.
Jenny * 9,000
70 tons 44,000 lbs.
27>/2
ft.
Lengths
and
weights
above are
averages.
In
1960,
1000 G-38-class
jen
nies were
built;
a
year later,
another
1000 were added to the fleet these
have
higher
sides and are classified
G-39's.
Higher
sides were desired to
handle finer
grades
of ore which has a
tendency
to blow out of cars with a
resulting weight
loss. The
jennies
were
built at
Pennsy
's own Samuel Rea
car
shops
in
Hollidaysburg, Pa.,
a few
miles south of Altoona.
They
are con-
structed of
low-alloy, high-tensile
Cor-ten
steel,
and have flat bottoms
with no
openings.
Parker
Stuart,
in
relating
the suc-
cess
story
of
Pennsy's booming
ore
import traffic,
recalled that back in
1952 the entire multimillion-dollar
expenditure
for the
Philly pier
was a
gamble
with future events. The rail
road
paid
out the
money
and built it-
self an ore
pier
without
being
sure
there would be
any
use for
it;
and
yet,
there were men who had
enough
faith
in the future to
go
ahead with the
project.
Steel
companies
were devel-
oping foreign
ore
sources,
but these
were
costly
and slow. The actual
future
import
volume was in doubt.
Furthermore,
PRR had no ore rates
from
Philadelphia;
even if ore volume
matured,
the railroad had to
get
a
rate
approval
from the I.C.C. before
it could load a ton.
Well,
the
imports
matured and PRR
got
its rate but not
without a
fight.
Baltimore & Ohio and
Western
Maryland, wishing
to
pre
serve their Baltimore ore
import
busi
ness with no
competition
elsewhere,
fought Pennsy every step
of the
way.
Even
though
PRR is secure
today
with
Supreme
Court and I.C.C.
stamps
of
approval,
the case remains in court
on
appeal.
Not
only
did
Pennsy get
its
Philly rate,
but the Baltimore rates
were 20 cents
per
ton
cheaper,
so the
I.C.C. evened them
up
to
give
the two
ports
the same rate.
The
April
1952
closing
of historie
Broad Street Station located in down-
town
Philadelphia
aided in construc-
tion of the new ore
pier
at Greenwich
Point,
South
Philadelphia.
Much of
the brick and stone from the station
building
and
unsightly
Chinese Wall
was hauled to South
Philly
and
dumped
into the Delaware River to
make a solid
pier
foundation. The
summer of 1954 saw the new
pier's
opening.
It was
originally equipped
with one ore
unloading machine,
but
space
had been
provided
for additional
machinery,
and
by
the end of 1956
four unloaders were in
operation.
On
August 5, 1954,
the
freighter
S.S.
Hawaiian steamed
up
the Delaware
River,
docked at the new 850-foot-
long pier,
and
began unloading
the
first
cargo
of
imported
ore 20,000
tons from Seven
Islands,
Labrador. A
number of
distinguished
industrial and
Government officials were on hand to
celebrate a double oceasion of the
pier's
dedication and its first
import
cargo. Pennsy
President James M.
Symes
was
there,
as were the
mayor
of
Philadelphia
and
Pennsylvania's
governor.
Two
days later, that ore
arrived in
Weirton,
W.
Va.;
the first
trainload was hauled
by
four-unit
Baldwin sharknose
freighter
No. 9706.
George Johnson,
the ore
pier super-
intendent,
recalled the first Labrador
ore
shipments
with a
wry grin
on his
face. "The
pier
was brand new and we
were
expected
to make a
good
show-
ing,
but that
ore,
when taken out of
the
ground
in
Labrador,
had been
frozen solid for over three thousand
years
with
permafrost. By
the time
it
got
to
us,
after a
five-day
boat
trip,
it had the
tough, sticky consistency
of
gooey
molasses and stuck to
every
thing.
What a mess!"
Top speed
was
desired on initial Labrador
shipments;
this was a race
against
time and Moth-
er
Nature,
to
get
frozen ore as far as
possible
before it thawed to a com
pletely unmanageable
state. Once
Labrador miners
dug through
the
per
mafrost
layer
near
ground levei,
everything
was A-O.K.
Superintendent
Johnson reflected
briefly upon
his
pier's operations
since
Trains 37
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Ctee^l
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Pennsy's
ore routes
PHILADELPHIA TO SAXONBURG
PHILADELPHIA TO LACKAWANNA
PHILADELPHIA TO BETHLEHEM
PHILADELPHIA TO WEIRTON
BALTIMORE TO LACKAWANNA
BALTIMORE TO YOUNGSTOWN
BALTIMORE TO ECORSE
MORRISVILLE TO SAXONBURG
CLEVELAND TO WEIRTON
CLEVELAND TO MINGO JC
CLEVELAND TO EAST STEUBENVILLE
CLEVELAND TO JOHNSTOWN
ASHTABULA TO WEIRTON
ASHTABULA TO MINGO JC
ASHTABULA TO EAST STEUBENVILLE
ASHTABULA TO JOHNSTOWN
ASHTABULA TO YOUNGSTOWN
"*GH
MAKy(
i
w
S
rv'RGINIA
\
ei**1
rAOR
I
\
Mop
not to scale
104 miles
: V v;.',;;:; ;
'
122 miles
117 miles
124 miles
221 miles
158 miles
153 miles
160 miles
209 miles
383 miles
423 miles
397 miles
420 miles
435 miles
407 miles
677 miles
61 mile
TRAINS
Magazine Larry
Luser
the 1954 dedication: "We had
just
two
unloaders to work that first Labrador
ship.
Their
capacity
was 1800 tons
per
hour. With four
unloaders, today's
one-hour record is 5098 tons. Efficien-
cy
and volume have increased simul-
taneously.
It now costs us about 55
cents
per
ton for
unloading
ore. When
we started in business down
here,
the
cost was
nearly
double that
figure."
Although
built and owned
by
Penn
sy,
ore
pier
No. 122 South is
operated
as a
separate company, completely
segregated
from rail
transportation
activities. The
pier
attracts
shiploads
of ore in volume
numbers,
not
only
because
imports
are a
big thing now,
but also because this
particular pier
(and
its
owning railroad)
have
gained
a
reputation
for
being just
about the
fastest
import
ore
handling setup
in
existence.
Ship operators usually
al-
low five
days
free
port
time
per
ves-
sel,
so when
they
can
get
a
50,000-ton
cargo
unloaded in less than 18 hours
at
pier 122,
it means a lot in dollars
and cents. Once the first
unloading
bucket
drops
into a
ship's hold,
work
progresses continuously
until the
ship
is
empty
there is no such
thing
as
"finishing
it
up
tomorrow." Vessel
arrivals are scheduled in advance
by
radio to avoid
congestion delays.
United States customs
regulations
allow
duty-free
iron-ore
imports.
Rail
travei time to the
Pittsburgh
or near-
by
Panhandle
reas,
for
example,
is
just
under two
days.
The Philadel
phia-
or
Baltimore-to-Pittsburgh
rate
is
$3.76 per gross-ton,
based
upon
shipload quantities.
Unloading
of an ore-laden
ship
is
handled in the
following
manner:
Each of the four
unloading
machines
can work
ships
from
any
free
point
on
either side of the
pier
with a bucket
having
a
capacity
of 25 tons.
Although
ore
may
be
dumped
into cars on the
pier,
it is
normally dumped
onto one
or both of the 54-inch-wide
conveyor
belts. These
belts, moving
500 feet
per
minute, convey
ore Vi mile toward
shore, lifting
it 110 feet
high,
and
dumping
it into either of the two 600-
ton
surge hoppers.
From
here,
ore
drops
into
any
of the four
weight
hoppers,
each
having
a 40-ton
capac
ity,
then it's
dropped
into railroad
cars below. The
pier
has two
big loop
tracks
leading
to and from South
Philadelphia
Yards. While on these
loops, hopper
cars or
jennies
are
handled
by
ore
pier men, using
little
narrow-gauge
diesel
pushing
locomo
tives to move them
along.
An
average
day's output
is 700 cars of ore.
Nearby
yard
tracks hold 2200 cars and are
available for
empties awaiting loading,
or for loaded cars
awaiting dispatch
in trains. Other tracks
directly
con-
nected with the
pier
and its
operation
hold 358 cars. In
considering
these car
figures,
it must be remembered there's
quite
a difference in
length
between
jennies
and
regular hoppers,
so the
above
figures
are
general averages.
Although
most ore
goes directly
in
to cars and on its
way
to steel
mills,
ground storage
is a
necessary
service.
This rea
occupies
about 30 acres with
a total
capacity
of 3% million tons.
The
storage
rea is served
by
a
widely
spaced
network of tracks that fan out.
Storage
ore is hauled
by
trucks from
the
pier
and
dumped upon ground
which has been
prepared
in advance
by rolling
down a
layer
of blast fur-
nace
slag.
This is
necessary,
since
most other materiais would contam-
inate ore.
Only
the smaller sizes are
38
September
1962
Jim Shaughnessy.
NOTCH-NOSE Alo DL-600's crest the
Alleghenies
at
Gallitzin, Pa., as the 2400
h.p.
C-C's
rev under a
position-light signal bridge
with ore
hoppers
behind them. Versatile
hoods have also
performed
to
good advantage
for
Pennsy
as
passenger helpers
in the rea.
ground-stored; they
are less
suscep-
tible to
freezing
in winter.
Pennsy
charges
1M cents
per
ton
per
month
for
ground storage.
Another extra
service available at South
Philly
is
an
ore-screening plant
which classi-
fies the stuff
by grades.
Most
foreign
ore isn't
processed
in
any way,
it's
merely
mined and
dumped
aboard
ships.
This is the
only screening plant
in
operation
at
any import pier.
West of the
roaring machinery
and
flying
dust on the wave-washed ore
pier,
South
Philadelphia
Yards
sprawl
out over a wide rea. There are 237
tracks with a total
mileage
of 91.8.
Yard
space
set aside for ore traffic
includes 63 tracks
totaling
25V4 miles.
Naturally,
ore is
just
one
part
of the
South
Philly scene;
there's a coal
pier
alongside
the ore
pier,
and consider-
able
merchandise,
industrial
products,
export-import,
and
produce
traffic is
handled.
During
World War
II,
the
yards
were
greatly enlarged,
with
much of the
ground
fill
coming
from
ship
ballast. This led to its
being
called "Burma Road Yard." The
engine terminal,
which
formerly
serviced dozens of steam
engines,
now
plays
host to a wide
variety
of diesel
and electric
power.
The electric serv
ice tracks are
usually
well filled with
E-44's, GG-1's, P-5a's,
and the vari-
WsSmL
Herbert Hanrood Jr.
BALDWIN shark-noses
grossing
6400
h.p.
thread
through
crossovers while
working up
grade from lakefront ore docks in Cleveland on an ore train. In the rear a
Bangor
&
Aroostook
Geep
on loan
during
BAB's summer lull shuffles
up freshly shopped hoppers.
ous
experimental
models. There are
diesel road
units, many
switchers
(mostly Baldwins),
and two kinds of
units which are rare the Baldwin
centipede
BH-50 class and the Bald
win 2400
h.p.
double hood units.
"Ore
extra, Enola, three-thirty p.m."
These
telephoned words, spoken by
a crew
dispatcher,
are
quite
familiar
to train and
engine
crews
working
out of South
Philadelphia.
Westbound
ore
jobs
are
usually assigned
a trio of
electrics,
with an occasional three- or
four-unit diesel
showing up.
Beth
lehem ore trains
get
three diesel units
to run
through
over the nonelectrified
Belvidere Branch north of Trenton.
These trains
go
on
Pennsy
rails to
Phillipsburg,
N.
J.,
where
they're
in-
terchanged
to
Lehigh Valley.
At Enola
or
Harrisburg,
westbounders
get
die
sels. At times when there are a num-
ber of westbound
dispatches leaving
South
Philly
in close
succession,
the
engines
are
very
often needed back
east in a
hurry,
so it's not uncommon
to see six electrics
running light,
eastbound from
Harrisburg
/Enola. An
average
ore consist is 80 to 90
cars,
although
it sometimes
gets higher,
especially
if the new E-44's are as
signed
to lock
coupler
knuckles with
the
jennies. Incidentally,
PRR men
say
the E-44's are
doing
a fine
job
hauling
ali
types
of
freights.
Ore-train
tonnages
are not
especially high,
in
view of far heavier mineral train
tonnages
on some railroads.
However,
it must be remembered that
Pennsy
westbound ore
jobs
move
uphill
against
the unfavorable
grades,
and
the railroad's
operating policy
has al-
ways
been to
keep
its
very busy
main
lines fluid
by running
ali trains at a
steady pace. Helpers
are also used at
certain
points,
and the ore trains
usually
roll
along
at 30 to 40
mph.
An unusual
experience
occurs while
watching
a train of
very
short
(27,2-
foot) jennies
roll
by.
The train
might
be
making
40
mph,
but the machine-
gun rapidity
of wheel clicks makes it
sound as
though
it's
doing
90! Below
is an
example
of ore trains
dispatched
from South
Philadelphia
November
7,
1961:
Crew
called
2:30A
7:00A
3:30P
5:30P
10:30P
Engines Class Cars
87
90
87
85
Ton.
8420
8990
8616
7941
4858/4828/4840 GG-1
4724/4719/4762 P-5a
4830/4855/4852 GG-1
4755/4741/4770 P-5a
4401/4400/4414 E-44 112 10784
Notice that the trio of E-44's was
given
more
tonnage.
These trains ali
went to the U. S. Steel
plant
at Sax-
onburg, Pa.,
about 10 miles south of
Butler,
and
just
north of
Pittsburgh.
The
Pennsy routing
is via direct main
line to either SG or JD
(Conpitt
Junction) interlocking just
west of
Johnstown,
then over the old Cone-
maugh
Division
freight
line to Butler
Junction,
over the Butler Branch to
Trains 39
DIFFERENCE
specialized design
makes is illustrated
by
standard
all-purpose
H-39A
hop
per (top)
and G-39 ore
jenny,
both rated at 70 tons
capacity.
The
jenny
is only 27%
feet
long,
costs
$9000
whereas the
hopper
is 41 feet and costs
$10,000.
Of
course,
the
jenny
is restricted to service to terminais
equipped
with
rotary dumpers
for
unloading.
an
interchange
with Bessemer & Lake
Erie,
which delivers ore trains to Sax-
onburg. Interestingly enough, empties
do not return
by
the full load route.
They
make a circle of sorts
coming
to
PRR's Pitcairn
yard
on the main line
15 miles east of
Pittsburgh,
a
big
train
make-up point
for the rea. From
Pitcairn, they
are either sent back to
Philadelphia empty, or,
if
they're
coal
hoppers,
to the mines if needed.
Let's follow one of those trains out
of South
Philadelphia
on November
7,
1961. Ore extra
4858/4828/4840
is
leaving
with three GG-1's
hauling
87
cars,
8420 tons. Destination: Sax-
onburg, Pa.,
383 miles
away.
Ore trains
get helpers
as far west as Paoli and
this train rates a
rumbling
BH-50
centipede.
Two BS-24m units are also
used as
helpers
when no BH-50's are
available. The train moves
along
the
West
Philadelphia high line, passes
Zoo
Tower,
and soon bucks
up
grade
on the hill
requiring helpers
2.2 miles of 1
per
cent near
Merion,
where three GG-1's are rated at 5100
tons westbound. Farther
west,
near
Coatesville,
there is 5.6 miles of 0.58
per cent,
sometimes
requiring
a
helper
out of Thorndale.
However,
the use
of three electric units on
many
ore
trains eliminates this
helper.
This train
is
safely
below the
tonnage
limit
by
a
margin
of 280. In Enola
Relay Yard,
three EF-15* units
replace
the GG-1's.
EMD model F3 or F7.
Diesel
power
can be three or four
units in a
variety
of
possible engines
EF-15, BF-16, FF-20,t
but
probably
not EFS-17mt
which is in motive
power pool "A,"
reserved for
long-
distance
symbol freights.
Three EF-
15's could roll the 8420-ton train to
Altoona with
ease; they're
rated at
8800 tons over the westbound
ruling
grade
5 miles of 0.46
per
cent
near
Tyrone.
The
keystone-emblemed
train moves
along, traversing
endless
sweeping
curves of the scenic Sus
quehanna
and Juniata river
valleys.
In East Altoona
yards, preparations
are made to boost the ore train over
the
Alleghenies;
9.4 miles of
rugged
grades averaging
1.85
per
cent are
ahead. The train is cut in half and a
burbling
trio of AS-18am road-
switchers is
slipped
into its center.
After the rear section is sandwiched
against
the midtrain
helpers,
another
AS-18am threesome nestles
snugly
against
the cabin car. Air
test,
clear
block,
and nine
units, totaling 15,300
horsepower,
move
easily
out of the
yards, passing Slope
Tower with a
deafening
roar as the train hits the
stiff
upgrade
resistance. The ore
rounds
Kittanning Point,
Horseshoe
Curve,
and rolls
through Allegheny
Tunnel at Gallitzin
Summit,
2193 feet
above sea levei. These are the heaviest
trains
Pennsy
has ever
put
over the
tFM 2000 h.p. passenger unit. used in freight work.
tKMD model GP9.
IAleo DL-702, model RSD-12.
Big
Hill. At one
time,
BH-50's were
used as
helpers,
but at this writing,
most are out of service and newer
Alcos are
being
used. Gallitzin is
the
drop-off point
for the rear-end
helpers,
and midtrain
helpers
are
taken out at Cresson.
Just west of
Johnstown,
SG inter-
locking puts
the ore extra onto Penn-
sy's Conemaugh
River
freight line,
which is the
principal
Pittsburgh by-
pass
route for
through freights.
Kis-
kiminetas Junction is the Iast
helper
pickup point,
where a four-unit EF-15
waits to boost the train out of the
Allegheny
River
valley
and over the
21-mile
long
Butler Branch to Bes
semer & Lake Erie
interchange
con-
nections at Butler. B&LE takes it 10
miles southward to
Saxonburg.
On its
Philadelphia-to-Butler jour-
ney,
that 87-car ore train
requires
6
different locomotives,
and a
grand
total of 18 locomotive units
quite
an
assemblage
of
power
for a run of
only
383 miles. November 7 saw
only
five
ore trains out of South
Philadelphia,
and
they
were run at
widely spaced
intervals.
Many days
are
busier;
ore
trains are
spaced closely,
and little
imagination
is needed to realize the
great
motive
power requirements.
"Although we have done wonders
with a
very
efficient
import
ore haul
ing operation,
continued increases in
efficiency
are most
important,
and
the
newly proposed high-capacity,
bulk
commodity
train is a
step
in the
right
direction." Parker Stuart was
referring
to a new
concept
in trans-
porting single
commodities in
bulk,
by using
an
integral-unit
train with
semipermanent couplings
between
cars, having
a
25,000-ton capacity,
and
powered by
diesel units at each end
as well as
throughout
the train.
The Eastern Railroad Presidents
Conference announced in June 1961
that 35 railroads are
sponsoring
a
study
of the
possibilities
of
building
such a train. The New York
consulting
engineering
firm of Theodore J. Kauf-
feld is
conducting
the
probe.
The
initial
study
will concern itself with
coal
traffic,
but such trains would also
be
adaptable
for
hauling ore, stone,
grains,
crude
oil, cement,
and
sulphur.
The trains would be owned
by leasing
companies,
such as General American
Transportation Company,
and would
operate
at
high speed
on schedules
allowing rapid loading
and
unloading.
Increased
efficiency
is
expected
to
pro-
duce substantial rate cuts.
Stuart
explained
further: "Of
course
Pennsylvania
is
among
the
sponsoring railroads,
and
although
the whole idea
definitely
holds
good
promise
for the
future, right now,
at
this
early stage
of the
game,
it's
just
a
big
dream." The new method of
40
September
1962
HOT, freshly
minted taconite
pellets
steam in
Biwabik-Two Harbors
(Minn.) miniquad
train.
0nDM&IR,4cars=1car
DAVID P. MORGAN
photographs
/ HAROLD A. EDMONSON
I TWO WINTERS AGO a railroad not
given
to im
modest claims told its
employees
that it
might
have
"the train of the future" made
up
of "the most
sophisti
cated railroad cars in America." Duluth, Missabe & Iron
Range
was so
impressed
with its train of tomorrow that
it assembled six of them, each 124 cars
long.
If
you
saw
one
moving
across northern Minnesota on the Mesabi
Range, you
would not be
impressed. Imagine
a trio of
not-so-new SD18's
leading
a consist of
stubby
ore
hopper
cars built more than 20
years ago
and a modern wide-
vision-cupola
caboose. You don't
spot
a
roller-bearing
journal
between
power
and markers; only
occasional
flashes of
orange
end
posts
on the cars differentiate
them from those on DM&IR trains of 2-8-8-4 times. This
train is futuristic? This train is
sophisticated?
Yes. Because this train
carrying 10,300 short (2000-
pound)
tons of
pelletized
ore in 124 cars rolls
year-round,
even if the
temperature
falls to 45
degrees
below zero.
Because this train never
stops
to allow retainers to be
set
up
or released
[page 50, October 1975
Trains]
even
though
it must descend 1000 vertical feet at the end of
its loaded
journey
on
gradients
as
steep
as 2.9
per
cent.
Because this train, captive
to a short-haul railroad,
exceeds 40,000
miles a
year
vs. a national
average
of
less than 21,000 miles
per
serviceable
freight
car. Be
cause this train is
testing
a
safety system
which initiates
an
emergency
brake
application
if
any journal
suffers
a hotbox or if
any
wheel derails. Because this train con
tains one-third less slack than a
typical
ore consist and
accordingly gives
its caboose crew a
passenger-train-like
ride.
This train hauls taconite
pellets;
indeed, taconite
obliged
its
development.
Taconite low-grade
iron-bear
ing
rock that is
mechanically upgraded
and
processed
into marble-size balls of uniform consistency
has been
gradually overtaking
natural ore in number of carload-
ings
on DM&IR, as evidenced in this table
expressed
in
millions of
long (2240-pound)
tons:
1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974
Natural ore 18.5 21 13.5 14.5 11.5 15.5
Taconite pellets
0 1.5 7 9 11 14.5
Because natural ore freezes,
the Missabe Road once
was largely
an
April-to-October
carrier (many
DM&IR
crews worked for Florida East Coast each winter). Also,
the
disparate physical makeup
of ore necessitates car-by-
car sorting
and blending
at the boat docks. Conversely,
SIMPLICITY of drawbars between cars
compared
with com
plexity
of conventional couplers
is evident in overhead and
ground-level
views of inner and outer ends of a
miniquad.
Stubby
24-footers allow but 1 3 inches between wheels of cars.
12 FEBRUARY 1976
taconite
pellets
can be
produced
and
shipped year-round.
and
they require
no
mixing.
The unit-train
operation implied by
taconite
pellets
is frustrated
by
winter. Federal law limits the
drop
in
train-line air-brake
pressure
between
engine
and caboose
to 15
pounds per square
inch
(PSI),
and DM&IR
operat
ing
rules narrow that allowable difference to 5
pounds
on
heavy grades.
To reach Lake
Superior
docks, loaded
trains must descend either 5 miles of 2.1
per
cent
(to
Duluth)
or 10 miles of 1.3
per
cent and 3 miles of 2.9
per
cent
(to
Two
Harbors).
As the
temperature declines, the
rubber
gaskets
in
angle
cocks and brake-hose
couplings
become like steel washers, and air
leakage
occurs. To
compensate
for this, train
length
has to be reduced from
124 cars to 75 and even to 40. The
steep
descents to the
ports
meant that retainers had to be set
up
and later
released, a
time-consuming activity
that
prevented
cer
tain runs from
being completed
within the Federal 12-
hour
"hog
law."
The
approach
toward a solution was twofold:
(1)
reduce
the number of
angle
cocks and hose
glad hands, which
leak air in the winter; and
(2)
introduce a
pressure
re
taining system operable
from the
engine
cab. At this
juncture taconite, which had caused Missabe's dilemma,
began
to
help
resolve it. Since there was no need to cut
cars
apart
for
mixing
ores, it was feasible to tie the cars
together
with drawbars, eliminating
most
angle
cocks
and brake-hose connections in the
process.
Thus was born the
"miniquad":
a set of four 24-foot
ore
hopper
cars with
couplers, angle cocks, and hose
couplings only
at the two outer ends
[for plans
of the
miniquads,
see
February
1975 Model
Railroader].
First and foremost, the elimination of three out of
every
four train-line connections reduced airflow resistance
32
per
cent. At 25 below zero, the difference in brake
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
pressure between locomotive and caboose on a 124-car
miniquad
train
(counting
each
quad
as four
cars)
is
typically
3
pounds
or more than that on conventional
ore trains in
July.
Brake control and
response
is faster,
as is train-line
charge
time. Second, the utilization of
solid drawbars instead of conventional
couplers
reduced
free slack in a 124-car consist from 21 feet to 13.9 or
34
per
cent. Not
only
is the ride in the caboose
improved
but
presumably long-term
car maintenance
savings
will
result.
Item: Drawbars instead of
couplers
saved 965
pounds
of tare
weight per miniquad
set or 15 tons
per
124-car
train. DM&IR considers the conversion a "wash" in
terms of
weight
since new door seals
plus
9Vfe-inch exten
sions to car sides and ends* added 1100
pounds per
car.
Still,
assuming
the 1100
pounds
would have been added
anyway,
the
15-tons-per-train saving, multiplied by
enough
train-miles, becomes
significant.
The retainer
problem
was solved
by
the
adoption
of a
system developed by Westinghouse
Air Brake for U.S.
Steel's Orinoco
Mining
trains in Venezuela
(but
which
in
principle actually
dates back to the 1880's on the
Denver & Rio Grande narrow
gauge) namely,
the addi
tion of a second,
straight-air
line. In
practice,
the
engineer
makes his initial brake
application
with an automatic
brake-pipe
reduction; then he
opens
the
straight-air
line
to hold and, if
necessary,
to modulate that brake
appli
cation. Meanwhile the automatic brake line is
recharged
and is held in reserve if needed. Thus the function of
setting up
retainers is handled from the
engine
at
speed
and the
pressure applied
can be varied.
Now. all U.S. Steel-owned railroads stress
safety
and
DM&IR even
incorporates
the admonition
"Safety
First"
Previously
taconite-service cars had 19-inch extensions, which over-
loaded them thus the term 'mini'' for the cars with 91 2-inch extensions.
++*#**+*##**+****#*+#***+***************^
in its
logo.
The
subject
is
particularly pertinent
to taconite
hauling
because
production
of the
pellets
is continuous
and cannot economically
be shut down as a mine could
be if a train derailment
clogs
the
delivery system.
Also,
the
miniquads
are
high-mileage
car sets
(quads
account
for 9.2
per
cent of the road's ore-car roster but
carry
over
33
per
cent of its
tonnage),
hence have a
higher
accident
exposure
rate.
Missabe
imposes
a
tight security
screen around its
operations.
For instance, hotbox detectors are
spaced
only
20 miles
apart
in
high-train-density territory (in
1973 DM&IR
averaged
one-third more miles between
hotboxes on
solid-bearing
cars than the AAR
reported
for
roller-bearing
cars
nationally).
The
miniquads
rate
special safety
surveillance.
They're shopped
once a
year;
must
pass
air brake
leakage
tests as if
they
were
single
cars; have
Type
F
couplers
at their outer ends to
prevent
vertical
separation
in case of derailment; and
carry
non-
mating straight
and automatic air line
couplings.
Still, an accident in 1973 convinced the railroad that
an on-board automatic derailment detector was worth a
test. An ore car derailed, bounced
along
still
coupled
for
7 miles, and hit a switch; the toll was more than 18,000
chopped
ties and 25
destroyed
cars. One member of the
safety
task force
appointed
in the wake of this wreck
recalled
reading
of an antiderailment sensor
developed
by
the Naval Ordnance
Laboratory
at the behest of the
Federal Railroad Administration
[page
3, January
1974
Trains].
NOL
proposed
the
application
of an
impact/heat
sensor in the
bearing
of each
journal.
If the
bearing
ran
hot, or if the
adjacent
truck side frame
began
to bounce
vertically
as wheels hit ties, the sensor would activate a
thermal
battery
which in turn would fire an
explosive
charge opening
an n/32-inch hole in the brake
pipe,
initi
ating
an
emergency application.
If
continuing
DM&IR
field
testing
of the NOL invention arrives at
acceptable
false-alarm and maintenance rates, the cost seems
justi
fied. In the railroad's
summary,
"The
prevention
of one
major
accident could cover the cost to
equip
several
unit trains."
Ultimately,
the
miniquad
cars
(and they
could become
"minisixes" to further reduce the number of or to sim
plify
intercar
connections) might
be wired with an elec
trical train line which,
through
a
minicomputer
in the
cab, would
give
the
engineer continuous
knowledge
of
the
brake-pipe
and
straight-air pressures
at the caboose
as well as the status of the brakes and bottom
dump
doors
on each ore car in the train. "A natural
addition,"
says
DM&IR, would be
electropneumatic brakes, which have
characteristics of smoother, faster
application
and release.
The next time
you're up
on the Mesabi
Range,
and a
trio of
maroon-and-gold
Missabe Road SD's coil out of
the woods on .62
per cent,
chanting away
in Run 8 at
8
mph
with 124 70-ton ore
hoppers
at their
backs, look
long
at the consist. If
you
see
orange
corner
posts every
four cars,
plus high-mounted double air
lines, you
are
seeing
a railroad movement with credentials for the claim
of "train of tomorrow."
J_
Weirton's
employee-owned
li
Iff
mm.
"^
*
IN view from Lee Avenue
bridge,
S2 207 and
partner pull
turn from Walnut Street Yard across Cove Road on
April
30. 1984
Loyalty dating
to steam
days
is about to end
I IN the
early 1970's, the
Chicago
&
North Western became
employee-
owned. As a
consequence,
C&NW re
ceived a
great
amount of
press,
in both
rail and business circles. An
equal,
if
not
greater,
amount of business cover
age
has been devoted to a more recent
employee buyout,
the
Employee
Stock
Ownership
Plan (ESOP) of National
Steel's Weirton works in the West Vir
ginia
Panhandle. The
coverage
has oc
curred because of the Weirton mill's
size ($1
billion 1982 sales),
and because
it is
part
of the
greatly
troubled Ameri
can steel
industry.
Weirton Steel is of interest to die
sel fans because the
plant
rosters 27
Alco switchers,
which
perform
all the
switching
for the
large complex.
(Is it
coincidental that North Western,
now
publicly
as well as
employee-owned,
is
one of the last
large
Class 1 roads also
to own Alcos?) Just like Armco Steel's
Lima-Hamilton diesel fleet of recent
memory
at Middletown, 0.,
Weirton's
Alcos are one of the last
large groups
of
their kind in the
country
(Bethlehem
Steel's South Buffalo is another). The
Alcos and their railroad are the back
bone of the Weirton Steel mill.
KEVIN N. TOMASIC
PHOTOS / KEITH CLOUSE
Weirton,
W. Va
population 25,371
and 37 miles due west of
Pittsburgh,
Pa., is the
quintessential
mill town
i.e.,
a
community
which is
virtually
in
separable
from its
biggest industry.
It's
a town where the homes don't need a
backyard fence;
the brick walls of the
mill see to that. The
biggest building
is
not the town hall or some office build
ing,
but the Weirton Steel Basic
Oxy
gen
Plant,
which looms
huge
and
green
above
everything.
The town of Weirton
got
its start in 1909 when Ernest T.
Weir built a sheet and
tinplate
mill on
the bank of the Ohio River. The
compa
ny grew quickly
and
by
1915 was
oper
ating
50 hot mills in Weirton and
Clarksburg,
W. Va.,
and Steubenville,
O., just
across the river from Weirton.
The
company's
total
tinplate output
was second
only
to
mighty
U.S. Steel.
The name Weirton Steel was
adopted
in
1918,
but it
only
lasted until 1929,
when Weir and his associates
joined
with
George
R. Fink to form National
Steel,
with Weirton Steel as its
major
division.
As a
producer,
Weirton has earned
a fine
reputation
in the
hotly
com
petitive beverage-can market, and bill
boards around town
proclaim
Weirton
to be "the home of the
mighty
tin can."
To
keep
the
plant competitive,
National
Steel modernized it
during
the late
1960's and
early 1970's,
adding
the Ba
sic
Oxygen Plant, a continuous slab
caster,
and a new coke
plant
on Browns
Island in the Ohio River. But the coke
plant
was shut
down, and
that, com
bined with the
entry
into traditional
can markets
by aluminum and
plastic,
probably figured
in National's divesti
ture
plans. Citing
Weirton's
capital
in
vestment needs and
marginal profits,
National Steel announced in March
1982 that it would sell the whole steel
plant,
or
slowly phase
it out
beginning
with the
melting operations. Quickly,
the
plant's
7000
employees, plus
the
State of West
Virginia, combined to
fund a
feasibility study
on the
propo
sal of
employee
ownership.
After almost
a
year's preparation,
on
September 23,
1983,
the workers voted 84
per
cent in
favor of
employee
takeover
and,
after a
50 OCTOBER 1985
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
LEFT: Caboose No.
2,
with Bessemer-like look,
leads on
slag
train
backup
move as seen from Main Street viaduct. Above:
Cat-engined
226 is sixth
deep
in
storage
line of nine Alcos in
June 1983
telephoto
view from Lee Avenue. Below:
Glimpse
from between homes on Weir Avenue finds radio-controlled
202
pulling empty
bottles from BOP as m.u.'ed S2's sort flats.
second round of
legal challenges,
took
financial
responsibility
for the
plant
January 11, 1984,
at a
ceremony
at
Weirton's
general
office.
In its first
year,
Weirton Steel Cor
poration
netted
$60.6
million on sales
of
$1.1 billion,
a
good performance
con
sidering having
to
play "catch-up"
with
plant
maintenance deferred
by
Nation
al. Weirton made
plant improvements
and will build a new continuous caster
to
complement
the
existing unit,
en
abling
Weirton to
continuously
cast all
of its
steel,
a
competitive advantage.
Steel
shipments
in 1984 (2.1 million
tons) were
highest
since 1981 (2.6).
Weirton Steel's Alco
loyalty
can
be traced back to steam
days,
when
Schenectady
delivered
everything
from
0-4-0's to 0-8-0's for
batting
cars around
the mill. So when Weirton
began
look
ing
for diesels near the end of World
War
II,
it called
up
Alco and ordered
three switchers. One 660
h.p
SI and
two 1000
h.p.
S2's were delivered in
1945. In
1946,
Weirton received two
more
Si's, continuing
a
string
of new
Alco switcher
purchases
which lasted
until 1959.
According
to the current
Plant Traffic
Manager,
Weirton Steel
stopped using
steam in 1951 or 1952.
To set
up
a
program
of diesel main
tenance,
Weirton Steel hired Roberts
Greene from the
Pennsylvania
Rail
road,
who set
up
strict
guidelines
which
the
plant
follows to this
day.
All of the
units conform to DOT/FRA/ICC specifi
cations for
inspection
and
repair.
The
Alcos worked out so well for mill work
that from 1958 through
1970,
Weirton
acquired
12 more S2's (one
might
have
been an S4 see roster) on the second
hand market for service, plus
some der
elict units for
parts.
One of the derelicts
was cut down and made into a
slug,
numbered 100,
for use in the ore
yard
where slow, hard, pulls
are normal.
To allow for the
highest
availabil
ity
of motive
power,
Weirton Steel has
a
fully equipped
shop,
which is under
the
jurisdiction
of
Joseph
L. Hunter
Jr.,
manager-traffic
and
transportation.
Joe
joined
Weirton in 1979 after
spending
23
years
on
Pennsy/Penn
Central/Con-
rail. One of his
special
memories is rid
ing
the last PRR steam
engine
out of
Niles, O.,
with his father at the throt
tle. The next
week,
Joe rode in the
steamer's
"covered-wagon" replace
ments. At
Weirton,
he
supervises
a
shop
force of 36 men who
repair
the
Alcos, plus
air
compressors
for the mill.
The
shop
can do
complete overhauls,
except
for electrical
work,
which is done
either elsewhere in the
plant
or sent to
outside contractors. Weirton also has a
five-man track
gang
and a
car-shop
crew.
"The Alcos are
tough
to
maintain,"
Hunter
says.
The
externally
mounted
lube
piping
on the Mcintosh &
Sey
mour model 539
prime
mover is
fragile
and
prone
to
leakage
and
breaking.
All
of the Alcos now ride on roller
bearings,
and all the units have had their
origi
nal
turbochargers replaced.
You can see
as well as hear the difference the new
turbos result in an
oblong
stack
atop
the
hood,
rather than the S2's tradition
al stack with the
round,
flared out bot
tom,
and these units don't
"chirp"
or
"whistle" like
good
old 539's
usually
do.
The sound now is much more
guttural
and
deep,
like the later Alco S6 and T6
switchers with 251
engines.
After Weirton had settled on 1000
h.p. units,
its
plant
crew rebuilt the
early Si's, raising
their
rating
from 660
h.p.
to 1000.
Another,
more extensive
rebuild
job
deserves
mention,
as it di
luted the Alco roster 221 was
upgrad
ed
by
an outside contractor with a re
vamped
cab and a
Caterpillar
diesel
engine.
Hunter: "The unit didn't work
as well as we had
hoped.
In
fact,
it
didn't work at all." The 221 now is
stored,
and
only
a
major
business
up
turn could
bring
it back to work
again.
Four units are
equipped
with radio
control to allow them to do hazardous
duty
with
only
a two-man crew. Weir
ton's forces also
designed
and
applied
multiple-unit
controls to six units for
use on
heavy drags
delivered
by
Con
rail. All of Weirton's Alcos are radio-
equipped
for
efficiency
in
dispatching.
In addition to the
interchange
cars
from
Conrail,
Weirton Steel has 706
cars of its own for use in the
plant:
97
cinder/slag
cars known as
"Pots";
170
flat cars for
hauling
coil steel within
the
plant;
144 40- and 50-foot
gondolas
for
general plant use;
111
hopper cars;
129 "Hot
Cars,"
which are 35-foot flats
for hot steel
slabs;
20 "Bottle" or "Tor
pedo" cars,
which are
55-foot, 777,000-
pound capacity
cars
riding
on four 4-
wheel trucks for
hauling
molten iron
from the blast furnace to the Basic Ox
ygen Plant;
2 ore transfer cars with
drop bottoms;
and 3 cabooses. The ca
booses,
for use on the
slag runs,
are ho-
mebuilt and numbered
1, 2,
and 3. Two
are cut-down box
cars;
the other resem
bles a Bessemer & Lake Erie caboose.
The Alcos roam over a rail network
of 125 track-miles in three
yards
and
on two mains. The mill railroad was
just
like
any
other until
July 1980,
when Conrail and Weirton
signed
an
agreement
for the steel
company
to
TRAINS 51
BELOW: BOP
dwarfs 208
pulling
flats to
continuous caster
building. Right: part
ners of D&RGW and IT
heritage,
as seen
from Main Street. Lower
right: May
1983
shot from
Avenue A of
steel-pouring
at
No. 4 blast furnace is datedfurnace is
shut
down, other three can't be viewed.
lease CR's
33-track,
1100-car
capacity
Weirton Junction
yard, plus
3 miles of
Conrail's New Cumberland
Secondary
which bisects the
plant.
With
that,
the
Alcos had a real railroad to run. Weir
ton Steel calls the old CR
yard
its Wal
nut Street Yard.
Within the
plant
there are two oth
er
yards,
one called the main
yard
and
the other the finish
yard.
An old PRR
station
building,
used
by
the mill for
material
storage,
stands at the south
end of the main and finish
yards.
Weir
ton Steel uses the CR branch line as
its "main" but also has another main
to reach a
slag dump.
This is run
by
Standard
Slag Company,
which has two
small GE diesels to do the
switching.
"This could be its own
railroad,"
Joe Hunter
says proudly
of Weirton's
plant pike.
His Alcos hauled
27,000
cars in
April 1983,
and the railroad av
erages
11.3 cars
per engine
hour. The
railroad is run
by
three or more
yard-
masters, by radio,
which allows
great
flexibility.
An hour of
train-watching
(but
please,
from off
company property)
will
yield
a dozen different moves
by
the little
green
Alcos. The 86 railroad
crewmen,
all members of the
Indepen
dent Steelworkers Union,
are
assigned
by
8-hour shift,
or
"turn,"
as follows:
one 2-man crew for the blast
furnaces,
one 2-man crew for the
slag train, three
3-man
yard crews, and one 3-man crew
at the ore
yard.
The blast
furnace, slag,
and ore
yard
crews
usually get
one Alco
each, but one or more of the
yard
crews
might get
a
pair
of m.u.'ed switchers or
the
S2-slug
set.
Conrail serves Weirton with two
regular
trains which
pick up
and set
off at Walnut Street:
WIMJ-30, a Min
go
Junction-
Weirton-Follansbee, W.Va,
local, and
WIMJ-32/WICE-33,
a
Mingo
Junction-
Weirton-Conway Yard, Pa.,
turnaround
job.
Conrail also delivers
coke in
special trains, as Weirton Steel
must
buy
this from outside sources.
Iron ore is
brought
over from
Mingo
Junction
by special moves which
go
di
rectly
into
Weirton's ore
yard,
the
only
work Conrail now is allowed to do in
the
plant. Every
few
days,
Conrail will
run a local
up through
the
plant
to
Chester, W.Va. Hunter
says Weirton
has been
pleased
with Conrail's
perfor
mance over the last
couple
of
years.
Since Weirton is a
complete steel
mill
(except
for coke
producing),
the
Alcos are
required
to haul
many
com
modities,
from
slag
to iron to
shiny
coil
steel. The most moves are for steel in
various forms such as
slabs,
ingots,
52 OCTOBER 1985
Weirton's Mcintosh
&
Seymours
No. Build
200 73343
201 73366
202 73389
203 73907
204 74965
205 75378
206 75379
207 75380
208 76780
209 77829
210 78836
211 79808,
212 61837,
213 61838,
214 82007,
215 70077
216 69421
217 70208
er
No.,
Date
April 1945
May
1945
May
1945
June 1946
December 1946
September 1947
September
1947
September 1947
June 1949
December 1949
September
1951
June 1952
April
1956
April
1956
January
1959
May
1943
March 1941
October 1942
218 74805. October 1946
219 74804, October 1946
220 74972, March 1947
221 75368, August
1947
222 69907, July
1942
223 75655, January
1948
224 78789, June 1951
225 75673, April
1948
226 77051, March 1950
Weirton service
April 5, 1945
June 5. 1945
June 5, 1945
July
5. 1946
December 9, 1946
September 17, 1947
September
23, 1947
September 24. 1947
June 2, 1949
December 13, 1949
September 19, 1951
June 27. 1952
April 22. 1956
April 24, 1956
January 22, 1959
December 2. 1958
October 9, 1965
April 23, 1966
July 20, 1967
September 10, 1967
December 23, 1968
Notes
Built as 660 h
p , raised to 1000 h
p by
Weirton Steel
Radio control
Built as 660 h
p , raised to 1000 h
p by
Weirton Steel
Built as 660
h.p.,
raised to 1000
h.p. by
Weirton Steel
Multiple unit, designed
and installed
by
Weirton Steel
Radio control, built as S4, retrucked with Blunts
Radio control
Ex-Denver & Rio Grande Western 108
Ex-Peoria & Pekin Union 300
Ex-Peoria & Pekin Union 301 , multiple unit, designed
and installed
by
Weirton Steel
Ex-Minnesota Transfer 94, multiple unit,
designed
and
nstalled
by
Weirton Steel
Ex-Minnesota Transfer 93, multiple unit, designed
and
installed
by Weirton, eguipped
to m u with
slug
100
Ex-N&W 2027. nee Nickel Plate 27. multiple unit, de
signed
and installed
by
Weirton Steel, equipped
to
m u with
slug
100
February 20, 1968 Ex-N&W 2040, nee Nickel Plate 40, rebuilt
by
outside
contractor with
Caterpillar engine
and new cab, stored
March 27, 1968 Ex-Union Railroad 512
July 28, 1970 Ex-Illinois Terminal 701, multiple unit, designed
and
installed
by
Weirton Steel
June 16, 1970 Builder No. is for New York Central S3 906 (later NYC
9401),
built in
September 1950, Weirton unit is an
ap
parent
S4
July 8, 1970 Ex-Illinois Terminal 705, multiple unit, designed
and
installed
by
Weirton Steel
April 25, 1970 Ex-Illinois Terminal 707
Note: Weirton Steel does not record model
type listings
All units were built as S2's
except 200, 203, and 204
(S1's);
210-214
(S4's);
and 224, origin
uncertain
Switching
of trucks and cannibalization
may
cause mts-
identification of some units.
No 100 is a
slug
converted from a cut-down S2, Alco data lists New York Central S2 8505 as
purchased by
Weirton in 1966, and Union Railroad S2's 507 and 511 in 1967
Roster from
Manager,
Traffic and
Transportation,
Weirton Steel, additional information from Alco data in
collection of Kenneth L.
Douglas
Effective June 15, 1985.K.N. T./J. D.I.
coils,
and sheet to different
finishing
buildings,
until at last it
goes
to the
shipping yard
or the finished
product
warehouse. The Alcos muscle around
5- to 15-car cuts of flats to do
this,
with
nary
a
hitch, though
now and then a
unit will
cough
or rattle a little while
on a
long heavy string. They
do smoke
a bit
too,
as Alcos are wont. The
slag
train are
usually
15 "Pots"
long
and
create
quite
a
pyrotechnic display
at
the
dump
area. On the
road,
a
gray
crust forms on the
top,
but at the
dump,
the cars are
tipped
over and out sloshes
bright orange
2000-degree material,
in
essence melted rock. At
night,
the or
ange light
casts a
glow
over the moun
tains of cold
slag
as the Pots are
dumped.
Workmen at the
dump spray
water on the
slag
to cool it down for
Standard
Slag
to haul
away.
Walnut Street yard presents
its
own
problem,
as the Alcos must be
m.u.'ed to ascend
the short but stiff
grade
to the finish
yard.
Conrail deliv
ers coal, coke, scrap,
and limestone in
hoppers, gons,
and covered hoppers,
and
the Alcos work very
hard to hoist them
into the
plant.
The most
spectacular
show that the
Alcos
participate
in is the
tapping
of
the blast furnace.
To most
people,
the
blast
furnace,
with its
huge piping,
handrails,
and
smoky atmosphere,
is
the
symbol
of the steel mill. Weirton
Steel has
four,
buried
deep
in the
valley
at the far end of the
plant,
and the Al
cos must
pull
trains of
slag
and iron
from them. The iron is
conveyed
in the
bottle cars from the blast furnaces to
the Basic
Oxygen
Plant over a track
which must be
replaced every
5
years
owing
to the
weight
of the
iron,
which
flattens the rail in that short time! The
tapping,
or
casting,
of the blast furnace
is done
by
a crew of men in reflective
protective
suits who set
up
the runners
(troughs
for the metal and
slag
to run
in) which lead to the
slag pots
and bot
tle cars. A klaxon sounds above the
general
scream of the turbo blowers
and the
whooshing
hiss of
gas
in the
huge piping
around the
furnace,
and
then out
pours
a stream of
pale orange
iron to the
waiting
car. The Alco holds
back as a
great orange-red
cloud of
smoke rises out of the bottle car when
the
2000-degree
metal roars in. The
nearly
400 tons of iron take about 10
minutes to
top
off each of the
cars;
then
the two-man locomotive crew starts the
S2 into motion. As
they
take the iron
down to the Basic
Oxygen
Plant at
about 10
mph,
all motion
stops
on the
adjacent
tracks out of
respect by
other
crews to this
cargo.
A
quick back-up
move at the
"BOP,"
and the Alco is fin
ished for a
time,
but
usually
there are
empty
bottles to
go right
back. Weirton
Steel doesn't let its Alcos rest much.
Later in the same
day,
once the BOP
and continuous caster do their
permu
tations to the
iron,
another Alco will
haul out a train of hot steel slabs to be
rolled down to sheet.
The Alcos' future? Good news and
bad. In
1984,
at least two shed their
dingy green paint
for a new coat of
dark
green
and
yellow,
with WEIRTON
STEEL CORPORATION in
large
white let
ters on the cab. But since Alco 539 en
gine parts
are
tough
to come
by,
and
Weirton Steel
depends
too
heavily
on
its railroad to have Alcos
sitting
around
awaiting parts,
Joe Hunter laid
plans
for some EMD
replacements.
Weirton
tested GP38's but found them too
big
to
work the entire
plant
(some curves are
tight
even for an
S2),
so
early
in 1985
Weirton leased Lake
Erie,
Franklin &
Clarion SW1500's 23 and 24. Results
were
better,
and Joe Hunter
plans
to
shop
around for some secondhand SW-
1500's in
early
1986. He
plans
to re
place
three or four Alcos a
year
with a
like number of EMD's.
Hence,
train-watchers who
delight
in
seeing dirty, gutsy
S2's at work
around a steel mill should not
delay
in
visiting
Weirton. When
you do, please
respect
Weirton Steel's
policy
of no tres
passing
on
company property.
Weirton
is
very security-conscious,
and both the
slag dump
and Walnut Street
yard
are
company property.
Two
good photo
loca
tions on
public property
are the Cove
Road
crossing
(U.S.
22),
which the units
cross to reach the
slag dump
and Wal
nut Street
yard,
and the Main Street
(W. Va.
Highway
2)
bridge,
which bi
sects the
plant. Also,
two Weir Avenue
spots yield good morning high
views.
So,
as
you
drive west from Pitts
burgh
on U.S. 22 and
drop
down into
Weirton,
where the four-lane
quits
and
becomes a two-lane
blacktop
descend
ing
into the "Steel
Valley,"
don't be sur
prised
if
crossing gates drop
in front of
you
and an Alco S2
goes rumbling
across. It's
just
another
job
for a unit in
one of the last
big
bastions of Mcintosh
&
Seymour
diesels ... the
employee-
owned Alcos which serve the home of
"The
Mighty
Tin Can." 1
KEVIN N.
TOMASIC,
an estimator
for
a
furnace
company,
and
wife
Susie are
renovating
their old North Side Pitts
burgh
home. KEITH
CLOUSE, drafts
man
for
an
engineering firm,
lives in
Sharpsburg, Pa.,
with
wife
Norma and
son Keith Jr. The men
spend
most Sun
days
train-watching; after
three
frontis
pieces,
this is their
first TRAINS
feature.
TRAINS 53
Baldwins and FM's
hang
on,
but EMD's are
making
inroads
JOHN M. PETKO
PHOTOS BENJAMIN F.MICHAELS
1 IN eastern Bucks
County, Pa., 35
miles northeast of
Philadelphia,
is
the town of Fairless Hills. Just outside
of
town,
secluded
by foliage,
bordered
by
a state
park,
and surrounded
by
wa
ter on three sides, is a steel
mill,
one of
the newer
fully integrated
facilities of
U.S. Steel,
now USX
Corporation.
Not
only
is this mill located in
perhaps
an
unlikely spot,
it is one in which
reposes
as exotic an active collection of stan
dard diesel locomotives as
probably
ex
ists in the U.S.
today. For,
behind the
fences of the Fairless Works
you
will
hear
daily
the familiar chant of EMD
switchers mixed with the
fast-disap
pearing
burble of Baldwins and smooth
hum of Fairbanks-Morses.
Fairless Works
grew
out of U.S.
Steel's decision in the late 1940's to
place
itself in the Eastern steel custom
er market and have access to world
markets. To best
accomplish this,
USS
wanted to build an
integrated
mill on
the East Coast,
where an
ample
labor
supply,
land, fresh water, navigable
waterways,
and
major
rail and
highway
networks all were available. The Works
is named for the late
Benjamin
F. Fair
less,
U.S. Steel's
president
at the time.
Ground-breaking
ceremonies for the
3900-acre
plant
were held on March
1,
1951,
and the first steel was
poured
there in December 1952.
By
late
1953,
all facets of the
operation
were on line.
Among important products
of Fairless
Works are coiled
strip
and sheet steel
and continuous welded
pipe.
As
planning began,
the
layout
of
the
plant
railroad was
being
deter
mined,
and locomotive orders were
placed. Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton, near
by
in
Philadelphia (Eddystone), got
the
first
order,
for
eight
1200
h.p.
S12
switchers,
to be numbered GE1-GE8
(GE stands for General
Equipment).
The second order went to Fairbanks-
Morse,
in
Beloit, Wis., for a like num
ber of 1200
h.p. H12-44's,
to be GE9-
GE16.
Although
these
"minority
build
ers" would
eventually
exit the locomo
tive
business,
in the
halcyon dieselizing
days
of 1951 there was
nothing
unusual
about
ordering
from them BLH deliv
ered almost 400 units that
year
and
FM more than 160. Other orders fol
lowed to
complete
the Fairless Works'
initial roster: two more S12's (GE17-
GE18), a
single
small unit (No. 19)
from BLH's Whitcomb division for the
rolling mills,
and a 20-ton
Plymouth
(No. 20) from Fate-Root-Heath, of
Ply
mouth, O. About this same
time,
Na
tional
Tube,
the
planned pipe
division
of
Fairless,
ordered a 65-ton center-cab
unit from
Davenport
in Iowa.
Construction of the mill
complex
and its railroad was
just
under
way
when its first locomotives were
ready
for
shipment,
so several found
tempo
rary
homes. Baldwin GE1 was
loaned,
and
shipped direct,
to the USS Home
stead Works near
Pittsburgh,
where it
worked for several
years;
it wound
up
working
at other USS installations be
fore
going
to Fairless. The first two
Fairless
FM's, GE9-GE10,
were like
wise loaned
out, shipped directly
to the
Santa
Fe,
which used them for about a
year
before
sending
them home.
The remainder of Fairless's new lo
comotives were
shipped straight
to the
Works.
Upon arrival, some were stored,
while others were used
by
contractors
to
help
build the
plant
railroad or to
shift inbound materials and
equipment.
As various
stages
of the mill came on
line, more locomotives were activated
until
everything
was
operational,
in
late 1953.
AT the northern
boundary
of Fair
less
Works, the
plant railroad has a
double-track connection to the outside
world. When built in
early 1951,
the
46 JULY 1989
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
%
AT the
open
hearth
yard,
FM 12 switches
scrap metal, a Conrail SW1001 works, EMD/FM 18/24
push
the
open
hearth ramp,
and Baldwin 32
pulls freshlj poured ingot
molds
connection was to both area Class l's.
The
Pennsylvania
Railroad built a
spur
off its
Philadelphia
& Trenton Branch
at
Morrisville, Pa., while the
Reading
Company
built a branch off its New
York line at Woodbourne,
Pa. Their
lines met east of
Pennsy's
Morrisville
Yard, and, by
means of a concrete via
duct, crossed above the
nearby
PRR
main line to access Fairless Works. The
connection enters USX
property
under
a
highway bridge
that carries the main
road into the
plant,
and then
passes
through
the rail
security gate.
At this
point,
the
plant
railroad
begins.
Once
through
the
gate,
the double-
track main has several crossovers, then
quickly
branches into a classification
area,
designated
North Yard. With a
capacity
of 500 cars, this is the
largest
of several
yards
in the mill;
it handles
most of the
interchange
traffic. At the
south end of the
yard,
tracks
converge
to
pass
under a
bridge carrying
the
plant's main road
system.
From here
the railroad fans out to the east, south.
and west to serve all
parts
of the mill.
To the
east, between the
pipe
mill and
the
rolling mills,
is the
300-car-capacity
East
Yard;
to the west is another 300-
car
yard,
used for inbound coal and oth
er
materials, known
simply
as the Coal
Yard. There are several other small
yards to
support
various mill divisions.
Being
of
relatively
modern
design.
the mill's lavout was
engineered
with
efficient material flow in mind; its sev
eral divisions are located in the order of
the
steelmaking process.
With
ample
land, the various
segments
of the com
plex
are not crammed
together
as is the
case at
many
older mills. Well defined
highways
and rail lines link each divi
sion. A "main line," both
single
and
double track, encircles the entire
plant.
The
plant
railroad has 125 miles of
track, all laid with 115- to 130-lb. rail.
Strategically
located in the center
of this vast
complex,
and situated
along
what is said to be the
longest piece
of
straight
track in the mill, is the four-
track railroad
shop. Standing
2Va sto
ries tall and
measuring
about 500 feet
long,
it houses
repair
facilities in two
sections. In one, over two dozen locomo
tives and
self-propelled
rail cranes are
serviced; in the other, more than 600
cars are cared for.
ranging
from
gondo
las and
hopper
cars to
special-duty
flat
cars and brick-lined hot-metal cars. The
shop
workers have done
everything
from
minor car
journal
work to
complete
loco
motive overhauls and
rebuilding.
SINCE us
beginning,
the Fairless
Works has
employed
more than 60 loco
motives [roster
on
page 45],
Ofthe ini
tial orders, Baldwins GE6-GE8 were
delivered with custom "cut-back" cabs
for use in the mill's
open-hearth opera
tion The
right
side of the cab was vir
tually
flush with the hood
owing
to
close side clearances. The
engineer's
controls were moved to the left side,
with a
large
window and mirrors in
stalled on the cut side for added visibili
ty.
The Fairless
shop similarly
modified
the left side of the GE5's cab in the ear
ly
1970's.
Fairbanks GE9-GE16
sported
the
carbody designed by Raymond Loewy,
with
sloping
hood linos and the distinc
tive roof
overhang
at the back ot' the
cab. Under the tall hood, of course, was
the
unique six-cylinder opposed-piston
engine capable
of 1200
h.p.
No. 19. the
35-ton Whitcomb
rigid-frame
locomo
tive, was for exclusive use at the
rolling
nulls, and
Plymouth
No. 20. a custom
low
-profile
20-ton JDT model, was de
signed
for use in the
charge-materials
loading" building*,
where overhead clear
ances are not much more than 7 feet.
All units were delivered in a dark
green, nearly
black,
paint
scheme with
yellow safety stripes.
Locomotive num
bers
appeared
in several
places.
It soon
became
apparent, however,
that the
dark color was a hinderance to visibili
ty, especially
on the
plant's many grade
crossings
after dark, so the
shop
de
vised a distinct scheme of
bright yellow
with red reflectonzed
tape.
It was soon
applied
to the entire fleet.
Upon seeing
the new look,
interchanging Pennsy
and
Reading
train crews dubbed the
units
"yellow jackets."
The nickname
caught
on. and later was
adopted by
the
TRAINS 47
Courtesy B. F. Michaels
IN rare mid-1950s
plant shop view,
FM GE10
displays
fresh
yellow paint
and reflectorized
tape,
as dark
green
Baldwin awaits
repainting.
"GE"
prefix appeared only
in number boards.
BALDWIN S12 No. 3
("GE3"), posed
in
September 1988, had been
completely rebuilt, sporting
a 606A
engine,
some EMD amenities, dual
couplers,
and remote control. It now has a 606SC.
Courtesy Michaels.
ALCO
representation
at Fairless was short-lived. In
May 1965, HH1000 21 is
newly repainted
and
ready
for service . . . still with former Oliver Iron
Mining
number board
reading
"902."
Fairless
shop's bowling
team. One vari
ation of the scheme was the trial
appli
cation of a heat-resistant
silver
paint
to
several Baldwins used
primarily
in the
open
hearth area.
Throughout
the 1950's,
the Fairless
diesel roster did not
change.
In the ear
ly
1960's,
work became increasingly
more demanding
for National Tube No.
1,
the 65-ton
Davenport
center-cab,
so
one of the standard-size units was as
signed
to the
pipe
mill as a substitute
and the
Davenport
was transferred to
the USS
Edgar Thompson
Works in
Pittsburgh.
At about the same time,
S12 No. GE1
finally
arrived at Fairless
after
touring
several USS divisions for
almost 10
years.
By
the mid- 1960's,
Fairless Works
needed more
power,
and the first addi
tional units added a builder to the ros
ter Alco,
in the form of two 1000
h.p.
high-hood
units transferred from USS's
Oliver Iron
Mining operation
(later the
Minnesota Taconite Division,
or Minn
tac) in northern Minnesota. These
aged
units took the next
open
Fairless num
bers,
21 and 22. But the Fairless me
chanics were unfamiliar with the
Alcos,
and even minor
problems quickly
made
these units
orphans,
so their service life
at Fairless was short. Both were cut
up
at the
mill,
22 in 1968 and 21 three
years
later. Also in the late
1960's,
re
mote-control
apparatus
which would
become common in steel-mill rail
opera
tions was installed in GE1 and GE2.
In late
1970,
Fairless
acquired
its
first EMD
product, ex-Elgin
Joliet &
Eastern SWl No.
243,
on
long-term
lease for exclusive service at the Roll
ing
Mills Division. It
kept
its
original
number.
Shortly thereafter,
two more
EMD's came in the form of
ex-Apalach-
icola Northern
SW9's,
which were num
bered in the vacated Alco HH slots.
The EMD's
performed
well in
yard
switching,
but were a bit
light
for the
strenuous
lugging
around the mill's
"hot side"
operations
and the
heavy
grade entering
the
open
hearth's second
level. It was here that the
weight
and
power
distribution of the
heavily
built
Baldwins and FM's had more than
proved
their
rugged
abilities.
With these characteristics in
mind,
Fairless
during
1970-1972 added five
more Fairbanks-Morse
H12-44's,
four
from Penn Central (Nos. 23-26) and one
from the U.S.
Army
(27). Nos.
25-26,
both of New York Central
heritage,
sported
the old
body styling, including
the cab-roof
overhang,
while the other
three had the flat
body design
found in
intermediate
production
H12's.
In
early 1973,
General Electric be
came the seventh builder
represented
at Fairless Works when it delivered a
custom-design
industrial model B40/40
unit.
Filling
in the number
28,
this
unit was
essentially
a
companion
for
48 JULY 1989
Road
No.
Builder
No. Date Builder Model H.P.
N.T.1
GE1
3341
75281
8-51
7-3-51
Davenport
BLH
65-ton 300
S12 1200
1 (3rd)
GE2
2 (2nd)
18963
75282
74188
11-53
7-6-51
6-29-49
EMD
BLH
Baldwin
SSB1200 1200
S12 1200
DS-4-4-1000 1000
2 (3rd)
647 1-38 EMC SW1200M 1200
GE3 75283 8-22-51 BLH S12 1000
GE4 75284 9-12-51 BLH S12 1000
GE5 75285 9-17-51 BLH S12 1200
5A 12360 6-50 EMD SSB-1200 1200
5B 12361 6-50 EMD SSB-1200B 1200
GE6 75286 3-7-52 BLH S12 1200
GE7
GE8
75287 3-7-52 BLH
75288 3-7-52 BLH
S12
S12
1200
1000
stored
stored
Fairless Works:
Baldwins, FM's, EMD's,
and more
History
and current status
Used at National Tube, Morrisville, Pa., for 7
years, transferred to USS
Edgar Thompson
Works.
Pittsburgh
Pa renumbered
'
10
Used at USS Homestead
(Pa.) Works and other divisions, removed from service 4-19-82 icab electrical fire)
remote control re
tired, used for
parts
Ex-ATSF 1238, rebuilt 8-78 from SW9 2438: acquired 11-84. cut-cab leftside, placed
in service 6-12-85 remote control, in service
Shipped directly to Fairless; removed from service 1-79
(internally
eroded
engine block), remote control, retired, used for parts
Ex-Oliver Iron
Mining 928. arrived Fairless 7-80; placed
in service 9-18-80. removed from sea-ice 1-3-85. engine
removed 1-3-85 n-
stalled in GE 8; retired, used for
parts
Ex-Burlington Northern 106. rebuilt 2-55 from Great Northern NW 100, arrived Fairless 10-8-87. on lease from dealer Wilson Rail
way Supply,
in service
Shipped directly
to Fairless Works; rebuilt 6-26-82 with EMD control stand, electrical
switchgear.
and trucks rebuilt 606A
engine
from dealer
Republic Locomotive Works
replaced original 606A. then 1000 h
p 606SC from Indiana & Ohio 91 installed 2-89 re
mote control; in service
Shipped directly
to Fairless Works, hood and cab wrecked, replaced
with same from ex-Auto Train 621 received 1 000 h
p 606SC
engine
from ex-Oliver DS-4-4-1000 930, 11-17-81: remote control, in service
Shipped directly
to Fairless Works, cut cab. left side, removed from service 2-16-82 (cab electrical fire), retired, used for parts
Ex-Santa Fe 1242, rebuilt 4-79 from TR4A 2418; acquired 11-84. cut cab left side, in service 6-12-85. remote control, in service
Ex-Santa Fe 1243. rebuilt from TR4B 2418A, acquired 11-84; placed
in service 6-12-85; calf unit, stored serviceable
Shipped directly
to Fairless Works, cut cab, right side, received 606A
engine
from GE 5 on 5-1-82, then 606A from GE 17 on 4-19-
84, then rebuilt 606A on 3-30-86, remote control, in service
Shipped directly
to Fairless Works, cut cab.
right side, received 1000 h
p
606SC
engine
from Oliver 929 on 8-7-81, then 606SC
from Oliver 931 on 3-11-83, then 1200
h.p 606A from a Morehead &
Morgan
Fork RS12 in 4-89; remote control, in service
Shipped directly
to Fairless Works, cut cab
right
side: received 1000 h
p
606SC
engine
from USS Fairless 2 (2nd) on 1 1 -4-85, re
mote control; in service
Loaned to Santa Fe for 1
year:
removed from service
(internally
eroded
engine block) 10-13-80; retired, used for parts
Ex-Conrail 9079, ex-Penn Central 9079, nee
Pennsylvania 9379. acquired
6-81 (previously
Midwest Steel & Alloy), placed
in service
3-82. removed from service 1987
Loaned to Santa Fe for 1
year; removed from service 1987. retired, used for
parts
Removed from service
(internally
eroded
engine block) 12-1-81 , retired, used for
parts
Ex-Conrail 9178, ex-PC 8772, nee New York Central 8772. acquired 6-81 (previously
Midwest Steel &
Alloy); placed
in service 4-82
stored, out of service
Manual operation; in service
Removed from service 3-78; retired, used for parts
Ex-Oliver 1205A. acquired 7-80, placed
in service 10-16-81, out of service 2-13-82; used with S8A 13B (ex-Oliver 1203B)
Ex-Oliver 1203B, acquired 7-80. placed
in service 10-16-81, out of service 2-13-82: used with S8A 13A (ex-Oliver 1205A).
Removed from service 2-1 1-80
(internally
eroded
engine block), stored
Ex-Santa Fe 1234, rebuilt 9-78 from SW9 2434, acquired 11-84, placed
in service 5-9-85. remote control, in service
Removed from service 12-30-81
(internally
eroded
engine block); retired, used for
parts
Ex-Santa Fe 1236, rebuilt 1-78 from SW9 2436; acquired 11-84; placed
in service 5-9-85; remote control, in service
Manual operation;
in service
Removed from service 4-19-84; engine removed, placed
in GE 6 on 4-19-84; retired, used for parts
Ex-Elgin,
Joliet & Eastern 437, to
McHugh
Bros for
rebuilding 1-81. placed
in service 4-6-84, remote control in service
Removed from service 11-26-80 (threw a
piston
rod
through engine block); retired, used for parts
Ex-EJ&E 458 (2nd); modified to 1200
h.p., 3-77, other
history unknown; to
McHugh
Bros for
rebuilding
1-81. placed
in service 3-
21-84: remote control; in service
Re-engined
in 1964 with Allis-Chalmers model 16.000 AC diesel; removed from service 10-24-83 (cracked engine block); stored
Re-engined
in 1964 with Al I is-Ch aimers model 1 1,000 AC diesel, low headroom
design,
used in open-hearth operation switching
charging buggies;
in service
Ex-Oliver 902; scrapped
1 971
Ex-Apalachicola
Northern 705; acquired
4-20-71 ; out of service
Ex-Oliver 906; scrapped
1968
Ex-Apalachicola
Northern 706; out of service
Ex-Penn Central 8337, ex-PRR 8337, nee PRR 8721, retired
by PC 6-28-68. started complete rebuilding
3-85 hailed used tor parts
Ex-Oliver 1204A, acquired 7-80; used sporadically
12-5-80 to 7-82 with 23B (ex-Oliver 1205B), stored
Ex-Oliver 1205B. acquired 7-80; used
sporadically 12-5-80 to 7-82 with 23A (ex-Oliver 1204A). stored
Ex-Missouri Pacific 1101, via Wilson; placed
in service 1987, carries 1
100-prefix for Wilson
organization
remote control in seivice
Ex-Penn Central 8330, ex-PRR 8330, nee PRR 8714. retired
by
PC 6-28-68, remote control, in service
Ex-Penn Central 8309, ex-NYC 8309, nee NYC 9120, retired
by
PC 9-24-69, remote control, in service
Ex-Penn Central 8310, ex-NYC 8310, nee NYC 9121 , retired by PC 9-24-69, removed from service 8-80 retired used tor parts
Ex-Oliver 1201A, acquired 7-80, placed
in service 1-5-81, removed from service 1-13-82. used with 26B (evOliver 1206B1 stored
Ex-Oliver 1206B, acquired
7-80. placed
in service 1-5-81 . removed from service 1-13-82, used with 26 A
(ex-Oliver
1201 A), stored
Ex-US Army
1845. Radford (Va ) Ordnance Center, rebuilt 3-1 1-83 with EMD
switchgear
and trucks remote control, in sen.' ice
175/155 Acquired
new; low-headroom design,
used in
open-hearth operation
with
charging buggies
rebuilt 19S9 b\ MRME. in service
Ex-Reading 103, acquired
2-78 via dealer Mernlees, found
unsatisfactory (leaks, possible cracked
engine
block), to IREX. donated
to Reading
Co Technical & Historical Society,
moved 2-89 to Leesport, Pa to be restored to
original livery
Ex-Reading 100, replacement
for 29 (1st) 2-78 from dealer Mernlees, out of service
Ex-Union Pacific 1058, acquired
7-78 from dealer Chrome, removed from service 5-1 1-84. retired, used for
parts
Ex-MP 1 189. acquired
1987 from dealer Wilson, carries 1 100 prefix for Wilson
Supply Organization
remote control, in service
Ex-Soo Line 301 . acquired
3-79 from dealer Precision National . out of service
Ex-Oliver 932. acquired 7-80, in service 7-12-81. received 606A (1200 h.p.) engine
from dealer Wilson, installed 2-88, remote-con
trol; in service
Ex-Algers,
Winslow & Western 6, converted
by
Precision in 1970 from PC S4 9683 (nee NYC 8611) to
slug, acquired
via dealer
Naporano,
in need of new trucks, stored
Ex-USS Duluth Works 9, removed from service 1-61 (in need of new clutch!, stored
Ex-Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line 106, via Farmrail, on lease arrived Fairless 12-8
Ex-Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line 108. via Farmrail, on lease arrived Fairless 12-8
Ex-Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line 112, via Farmrail on lease arrived Fairless 12-8
Ex-Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line 113, via Farmrail, on lease, arrived Fairless 12-8
Ex-Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line 115, via Farmrail. on lease arrived Fairless 12-8
Ex-Burlington
Northern 155. nee Great Northern 155. acquired 10-87 from dealer Wilson on lease, in service
Ex-EJ&E 243, acquired
6-70 on lease, later purchased, used
exclusively by
Billet & Bar Mill Division, in service
Ex-McHugh
Bros 309. nee Erie 609. leased, placed
in service 5-~4 removed from service 9-80. purchased 1981 , retired, used as
parts supply,
donated to Railroad Museum of
Pennsylvania, Strasburg
Ex-McHugh
Bros. 313, nee Erie 613. leased in service 5-~4 out ot service 9-80. purchased 1981 retired, used as parts supply
Ex-EJ&E 433. purchased
7-83 as a parts
supp \
Ex-Auto-Train 621. nee Erie 621. purchased
as a parts supply (had seized-up engine),
hood and cab installed on GE 4 trucks
gen
erator, and compressor salvaged,
remainder scrapped
Ex-Oliver 929. acquired
7-80 as 8 parts suppi\ 606SC engine placed in GE 7. 8-7-81
Ex-Oliver 930. acquired
'-80 as a parts supply
B06SC engine
placed in GE 4. 1 1-17-81
Ex-Oliver 931. acquired
"-50 as a parts suppI)
B06SC engine placed in GE 7 3-11-83
Ex-Oliver 1200B, acquired 7-80 as a parts suppi\
Ex-Oliver 1202A ace. red 7-80 as a parts supp )
Ex-Oliver 1202B ace. red 7-80 as a
parts supp
,
Ex-Oliver 1204B acqi
red 7-80 as a parts
st pp
\
Ex-Oliver 120?A acqu
'ea 7-80 as a cats
supp j scrapped
Key to builders; BLH Baldwm-Lima-Hamilton EMC. Electro-Motive Corporation
EMD Electro-Motive Division General Motors. FM Fairbanks-Morse, GE. General Electric
Roster effective
April 15, 1989, compiled by
John M Petko with data Irom L SS Fa i ess Works Mti I ona references American Shortline
Railway Guides,
by Edward A Lewis, BN Motive
Power
Annuals, by
F. Hoi
Wagner;
EMD Product Reference Data Extra 2
' '
GE9 12L571 11-51 FM H 12-44 1200
9
(2nd)
10398 3-50 EMD SW7 1200
GE10 12L572 12-51 FM H12-44 1200
GE11 12L573 2-52 FM H 12-44 1200
11
(2nd)
6217 1-49 EMD NW2M 1200
GE12 12L574 2-52 FM H12-44 1200
GE13 12L575 2-52 FM H12-44 1200
13A 75489 11 -29-51 BLH S8A 800
13B 75250 8-27-51 BLH S8B 800
GE14 12L576 2-52 FM H 12-44 1200
14
(2nd)
18959 11-53 EMD SSB1200 1200
GE15 12L577 2-52 FM H 12-44 1200
15 (2nd) 18961 11-53 EMD SSB1200 1200
GE16 12L578 2-52 FM H12-44 1200
GE17 75542 2-13-52 BLH S12 1200
17
(2nd) 8521 5-49 EMD NW2 1000
GE18 75543 2-13-52 BLH S12 1200
18 (2nd)
EMD NW2M 1200
19 61274 5-53 Whitcomb 35-ton 225
20 5573 6-13-52
Plymouth
JDT 20-ton
21 69319 6-40 Alco
High
hood 1000
21
(2nd) 16640 3-52 EMD SW9 1200
22 69323 6-40 Alco
High
hood 1000
22
(2nd) 16641 3-52 EMD SW9 1200
23 12L647 11-52 FM H12-44 1200
23A 75488 10-31 -51 BLH S8A 800
23B 75492 11-29-51BLH S8B 800
23
(3rd) 27869 1-63 EMD SW1200 1200
24 12L640 11-52 FM H 12-44 1200
25 12L837 1-51 FM H 12-44 1200
26 12L613 5-52 FM H12-44 1200
26A 75244 7-31-51 BLH S8A 800
26B 75493 11-29-51BLH S8B 800
27 12L669 1-53 FM H 12-44 1200
28 38936 5-73 GE B 40/40 175/1
29 4943 7-28-47 EMD NW2 1000
29
(2nd) 4940 7-24-47 EMD NW2 1000
30 4704 3-47 EMD NW2 1000
30
(2nd) 28765 3-64 EMD SW1200 1200
31 888 9-29-39 EMC NW2 1000
32 74192 7-12-49 Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 1200
79564 3-52 Alco
Slug
BF9 6257 3-24-61
Plymouth
MDD35-tori
106 21056 3-56 EMD SW1200 1200
108 21058 3-56 EMD SW1200 1200
112 21062 5-56 EMD SW1200 1200
113 21063 5-56 EMD SW1200 1200
115 21065 6-56 EMD SW1200 1200
155
13303 5-51 EMD SW1200 1200
243 1401 10-41 EMD SW1 600
309
74203 6-49 Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 1000
313
74618 7-49 Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 1000
433 7496 1-49 EMD NW2 1000
621
75674 5-52 BLH S12 1200
929
74189 6-6-49 Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 1000
930
74190 6-6-49 Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 1000
931
74191 7-8-49 Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 1000
1200B 75247 7-29-51 BLH S8B 800
1202A 75245 8-27-51 BLH S8A 800
1202B
75249 8-27-51 BLH S8B 800
1204B 75491 10-31-51 BLH S8B 800
1207A 75??? ?-?-51 BLH S8A 800
in service
in service
in service
in service
in service
.-. r"
TRAINS 49
FORMER Santa Fe TR4A has cut cab, rooftop
remote-control
lights.
CUSTOM
Plymouth
clears 7-foot
charge-materials loading building.
No. 20, the low-clearance
Plymouth.
The
following year,
Fairless satis
fied a need for additional Baldwins. Mc
Hugh
Bros., renters of
heavy
industrial
equipment
and
operators
of the
nearby
New
Hope
&
Ivyland Railroad, supplied
the Works with four overhauled DS-44-
1000's on
long-term
lease. Two were ex-
Erie
Lackawanna,
and two came from
the abandoned
Copper Range
Railroad
in
Upper Michigan.
All arrived at the
mill in
McHugh's eye-catching green,
red, and white scheme. Fairless soon re
turned 100 and
101,
the
ex-Copper
Ranges,
to
McHugh
for use on the
NH&I, but the others, ex-EL 309 and
313, stayed
and were
eventually pur
chased
by
USS.
The late 1970's saw more
changes.
Fairless Works' two outside connections
became one Conrail. EMD's
began
to
permeate
the roster
more,
as three
NW2's were
purchased, through
differ
ent dealers. Remote control was added
to several more units. Fairless also ac
quired
its first
slug
former No. 6 of
the Indiana coal-hauler
Algers,
Wins-
low &
Western,
via dealer
Naporano
Iron & Metal.
Designated "A,"
this
slug,
which had been converted from an
Alco S4, was matched with Baldwin
GE5;
they operated
as a set until
1982,
when the Baldwin suffered an electrical
fire and both were retired.
Time was
finally beginning
to run
out for some of Fairless Works' first lo
comotives after over 25
years
of contin
uous service. In need of
major
rebuild
ing.
FM GE13 and Baldwin GE2 were
retired, but
they
were
kept
around as
parts
sources. An additional source was
acquired
with the
purchase
of ex- Auto-
Train S12 621, from which usable
parts
were removed, leaving only
the frame
and some
parts
to be
scrapped
on site.
Also in the late
1970's,
several
Fairless locomotives
emerged
from the
paint
booth in a new
light
blue scheme
with red. white, and blue
stripes
(unre
lated to the nation's Bicentennial).
In
early 1980,
more Baldwins came
from Minntac as its fleet, displaced by
newer
EMD's,
was transferred to other
plants experienced
with Baldwins. Fair
less
got
5 DS-44-1000's and 11 units of
the
unique
S8A-B cow-calf sets. Half of
them would see Fairless service,
while
the others would be
parts
sources.
Unlike
large
common-carrier rail
roads,
which cast aside old Baldwins or
FM's without a second
thought,
Fair
less Works looked
carefully
at each unit
as it came due for
major
work. In the
mid-1980's,
Baldwin GE3 and FM 27
were
completely
rebuilt.
Although
the
Baldwin received an overhauled 606A
prime mover,
it was otherwise "EMD-
ized," receiving
the more
commonplace
EMD
trucks,
electrical
switchgear,
and
cab control stand.
Similarly,
the FM re
ceived the EMD treatment but
kept
its
6-cylinder
OP
engine.
Both units were
repainted
in an attractive dark blue
scheme with
red, white,
and blue
stripe.
Other Baldwins and FM's were not
worth
rebuilding,
so several more sec
ondhand EMD's also were
purchased.
Two each came from Conrail and USS's
Elgin,
Joliet & Eastern for service (the
EJ&E units went to NH&I for rebuild
ing prior
to
shipment
to
Fairless),
and
EJ&E NW2 433 was
purchased
as a
parts
source.
Five former Santa Fe rebuilt 1200
h.p.
EMD's
followed;
two
subsequently
were modified with cut cabs for
open
hearth service. One of the five was a
cabless
booster,
from an
original
cow-
calf set. The four cab units arrived
equipped
for remote
control,
and all five
were fitted with dual
couplers.
The slowdown in the steel
industry
in the mid- 1980's took its toll on sever
al more Fairless Baldwins and
FM's,
but in
early
1987 the steel
industry
be
gan
to rebound. Fairless Works met
this
by bringing production
back
up,
which included
taking
several locomo
tives out of
storage.
Demand for steel
increased
further,
and once
again
the
need for more units became
apparent.
BALDWIN 6, pulling freshly poured ingot
molds from
open hearth to
stripper building,
is on
its third 606A
engine, sports
cut cab and remote control. Paint
job
is
"keep
it in service."
50 JULY 1989
*uu*.. i c: <.'
DEALER
spelled
out
plant
name on Flexicoil-truck ex-GN SW1200. FORMER EJ&E SW1 243 is used
solely
at the
Rolling
Mills Division.
Four more EMD's arrived in
1987,
two each SW1200's and two
SW9's,
all
from dealer Wilson
Railway Supply.
They sported
a new
paint scheme, ap
plied by Wilson,
with FAIRLESS WORKS
spelled
out on their flanks. This
general
scheme also had been chosen for 10
EMD's for the USS Geneva Works in
Utah,
but with that
plant's
future un
certain,
several of the switchers were
directed elsewhere. Fairless's two SW-
1200's came from this
group, arriving
in blue
paint
with a
yellow stripe
and
the words FAIRLESS WORKS
spelled
out
("Fairless"
having replaced
"Geneva").
The numbers were
changed
to 1123 and
1130,
the 1100 series
preceding
the
Fairless number
signifying
Wilson ori
gin.
These units were
equipped
for re
mote-control
operation prior
to
ship
ment, and the two SW9's that followed
received the same scheme.
To ease the need for
costly
month-
by-month rentals
necessary during spo
radic
power shortages,
in December
19SS five more 1200
h.p.
EMD's came
via Farmrail
Leasing
on a
long-term
lease,
former Norfolk & Portsmouth
Belt Line SWl200's 106, 108, 112, 113,
and 115
[page 15, May
1989
TRAINSI.
They
were
shipped directly
from Vir
ginia
to Fairless, where modifications
for mill
operations
were made.
Further, in
April 1989, nine more
1200
h.p.
EMD's (seven ex-Conrail and
one each ex-Houston Belt & Terminal
and
Birmingham
Southern) were leased
from Farmrail and
shipped
to Wilson
for modifications. All are
getting
re
mote control, and four the cut cabs.
These
may
hasten the
phase-out
of the
remaining
Baldwins and FM's.
FOR now, though,
Fairless Works
remains
probably unique
in U.S. rail
roading
in still
operating among
its 30-
plus
units
examples
from five builders:
Baldwin, EMD, FM, GE, and Plymouth.
Five FM H12-44's and six Bald
wins continue their
daily
chores. The
FM's include GE12 and GE16, from the
original
Fairless Works order, manual-
ARMY
veteran
27, an FM H12-44 of the final
*
'shoebox" body styling,
shifts a
string
of
ingot
cars into the
stripper building
so molds can be
put
back on and returned to
open
hearth.
ly operated
and still
sporting
the cab-
roof
overhang.
The other three, all with
remote control, are secondhanders
24,
25, and 27.
Although
25 is of the old
body design,
it lost its roof
overhang
in
an accident several
years ago.
Baldwins still active are 3, 4, 6, 7,
8, and 32, all with remote control. Sev
eral have had their careers
prolonged
by prime-mover transplants.
S12's
3, 4,
and 7 had their 606A's
replaced
with
1000
h.p.
606 SC's from ex-Oliver units;
the
shop designates
these units "Fan-
less SlO's."
Conversely,
DS-44-1000 No.
32 has a 1200
h.p.
606A under its hood.
and is
designated
a "Fairless S12."
Much ofthe
original
roster of retired lo
comotives remains stored,
serving
as a
parts
source for the active units.
Differing
from units in
many
in
dustrial
applications,
the addition of re
mote control to
many
Fairless units has
not
adversely
altered their outward
ap
pearance.
The modifications occur most
ly
within the cabs. Manual
operation
is
still
possible,
and cab windows are in
tact. The
only
noticeable
changes
on
the outside are the addition of colored
position lights
on cab sides, lowered
roof sides, and an antenna in the center
of the roof.
The
general appearance
of the fleet
varies. Given that most units see ser
vice in the "hot side" areas, fresh
paint
lasts
only
a short time as the heat
causes it to blister and
peel
from the
metal surfaces. Locomotives that see
little or no service in the hot side retain
a
fairly
clean
paint job
for
many years.
Some units, however, exhibit the effect
of
multiple paint
schemes as hoods,
panels,
and even whole cabs from re
tired locomotives
replace damaged
ones.
Painting
and
matching
of colors is not
always
effective when the
shops' prima
ry objective, understandably,
is to dis
patch
as
many
locomotives as
possible
for round-the-clock
daily
service.
Daily
operations
see as
many
as 18
TRAINS 51
FAIRBANKS 25,
built as New York Central 9120, running
"hot metal"
duty
in October 1988,
pulls
two hot-metal cars full of molten iron from the blast furnaces to the
open
hearth.
units in service at one time. Locomotive
crews have been reduced from three
people
to two (for manual units) or one
(for remote-control units). For versatili
ty,
most locomotives can be used
any
where in the
plant, although
some have
their
preferred
or
specialized
areas. The
general
areas are raw materials han
dling, scrap processing,
iron and steel
making
(the "hot
side"), rolling
and fin
ishing,
and finished
products.
The
in-plant
rail
transportation
of
most materials
coming
into the mill be
gins
at North Yard. A dedicated Con
rail local
freight interchanges
almost
daily here, although
unit-train extras of
coal or blocks of other materials
may
proceed directly
to the Coal Yard or an
other
point
in the mill before
being
set
out. One crew
generally
is used in
North Yard for
shifting
cars bound for
specific parts
of the mill. Another crew
usually
works the Coal
Yard,
where in
bound coal loads and outbound
empties
are switched, and the
nearby
American
Bridge
Yard, where
scrap
is
processed
and loaded. This crew also
may
do oth
er
general switching
around the mill.
Inbound ore and other materials
also arrive in
seagoing
vessels at the
dock
facilities,
located at the south end
of the Works. The docks can
keep
from
one to as
many
as three crews
busy
during unloading,
and distribution and
storage. Coke,
for
example,
often is off
loaded here into
hopper
cars and then
shipped
to other
nearby
USS
plants.
On the hot side of Fairless
Works,
materials such as iron
ore, coke,
lime
stone, and dolomite
converge
in the
three
23-story
blast
furnaces,
in which
iron is
produced.
When the molten iron
is drawn
off,
it is fed into hot-metal
cars below.
Usually
two of these
heavy-
duty
"bottle"
cars, capable
of
holding
250 tons of molten
iron,
are filled and
then moved to the
open
hearth build
ing,
where the iron is transformed into
steel. Once at the bottom level of the
seemingly
endless
open
hearth build
ing,
the cars are rotated to
pour
into
huge ladles,
which are raised
by
mas
sive cranes and their contents
poured
into
any
of nine
waiting open
hearths.
Two to three railroad
crews, each with
several ladle
cars, may
be used to run
the "hot metal."
In another
building, alongside
the
open hearth,
steel
scrap
and other ma
terials are sorted and
placed
in
charg
ing buggies.
These are
small,
two-axle
flat cars each
carrying
several
charging
buckets.
Here,
one crew will use a low-
profile
locomotive to switch because of
low overhead clearances. If a low unit
is not
available,
the crew will
employ
a
standard locomotive with several idler
cars. From
here,
one to two crews will
deliver a
string
of loaded
charging bug
gies
to the second floor of the
open
hearth
building.
To reach that "floor"
trains must climb a short but
steep
grade. Generally,
two crews will switch
the
floor,
where the
charging
buckets
are lifted
by
cranes off the flat cars and
dumped
into
open
hearths.
Empty bug
gies
are returned for
reloading, creating
a continuous
process.
At the lower
level,
or
"pit side,"
where the molten steel is
trapped,
two
to three crews shift
strings
of short
heavy-duty
flat cars
carrying
cast-iron
ingot
molds. Clearances are
tight
on
one side at the
pouring platform,
neces
sitating
the use of the "cut cab" locomo
tives. Steel is
poured
into the molds.
When a
string
of cars is
complete,
it is
taken to the
ingot stripper building,
where the
ingots
sit for
varying periods
to
solidify.
One crew is
assigned
to shift
the
ingot
cars under
large
cranes and
plungers,
where the mold is lifted as
the
ingot
is
pushed
out. Once the
ingots
are
stripped, they
are taken to the
soaking pits,
while the molds are
put
on cars and readied for their return for
filling.
The "hot side" locomotives are
fitted with dual
couplers:
the
upper
cou
pler
is standard,
the lower used for the
charging buggies
and the
ingot
cars.
From the
soaking pits,
the
ingots
are broken down into semi-finished
shapes
on the
slabbing
mills. The two
basic
shapes
that leave the mill are flat
"slabs" or
square
"blooms." Slabs are
rolled into flat
product
and finished in
the Sheet and Tin Division. Blooms
eventually
become
pipe
at the
nearby
Pipe
Division. One crew on SWl 243
handles
switching
of the
rolling
mill.
One last crew
generally
handles
the
switching
in the
nearby
East
Yard,
which is
customarily
full of finished
sheet, coil,
and other related steel
prod
ucts. This crew
may
also service the ad
jacent
Fairless
Pipe Division,
in be
tween
trips
to and from North Yard to
deliver outbound loads and return with
empties
to be loaded.
Characteristic of most steel
compa
nies,
USX's Fairless Works is extreme
ly security
conscious. The
company
has
a firm
policy
of limited access to the
plant
(i.e., no cameras). The
mill,
bor
dered
by
water or chain-link
fence,
is
protected
round the clock
by
a deter
mined force of
security guards.
Other
than the occasional
passage
of a Con
rail train over the connection and into
North
Yard,
most Fairless Works rail
activity
occurs well within the mill's
confines,
out of
sight
to the
public.
It is not known how much
longer
at this
point
Fairless's
Eddystone
and
Beloit
products
will continue to
operate,
but with
replacement parts becoming
scarce and
costly,
and the influx of
EMD's
gaining momentum,
time
may
be
running
out.
Hence,
what is un
doubtedly
the
largest assemblage
of ac
tive Fairbanks-Morse diesel-electric lo
comotives at one location in
1989,
not
to mention the handful of active Bald
wins,
will
probably
labor its final
days
in
obscurity.
Located in the same sur
roundings
that have
protected
these
units for so
long,
and with so
many
of
their kind
already gone, perhaps
that is
just
as well. 1
JOHN M.
PETKO, 29, traces his
affini
ty for
railroads to childhood trackside
visits with his
father along
the
Reading
and to the Alan Wood Steel Mill. Now a
project engineer
at an iron
foundry,
John earned a B.S.
degree
in Mechani
cal
Engineering from Temple
Universi
ty.
He and
wife
Robin live in the
Valley
Forge area, within earshot
of
Conrail's
ex-Reading
main line. He is a
regular
photo
contributor to various rail
periodi
cals; this is his
first
TRAINS
byline.
He
thanks
Benjamin
F. Michaels
for
the
photography,
and the
employees of
the
Fairless Works locomotive
shop for
their
assistance in
compiling
roster data and
historical
information.
52 JULY 1989
:,.', '
Jgm
m .
176
?
MM
*~4Mft I
*a!<J
I ', -4
c
Ml
#J,1-.
/
Hti
in"
\vw
Strong
as steel
Minnesota iron ore
keeps
the Missabe Road
rolling
STEVE GLISCHINSKI
I ONE-HUNDRED
years ago
in the
north woods of
Minnesota,
a short
train
crept
south from the
village
of
Mountain
Iron, pulling
10 cars of iron
ore destined for docks on Lake
Superior
at
Superior,
Wis. This was the first
trainload of ore from the
great
Mesabi
Iron
Range,
which would
supply
most
of the iron ore used in
steelmaking
and
other activities in the U.S. over the
next
century.
The train was also the
first of the
Duluth,
Missabe & North
ern
Railway,
a
predecessor
of
today's
Duluth,
Missabe & Iron
Range
Rail
way,
the "Missabe Road."
The DM&IR is the result of the
1938 consolidation of DM&N and the
Duluth & Iron
Range,
which moved the
first ore mined in Minnesota (from the
Vermilion Iron
Range)
in 1884. Both
roads were owned
by
United States
Steel
Corp.
after 1901. DM&IR contin
ued under this
ownership
until
1988,
when USX (USS's new name) sold a
majority
interest in its railroads to
Transtar, Inc.,
a
holding company.
Missabe Road's
primary
role is to
move taconite
pellets
from
plants
on
the Mesabi Iron
Range
to
giant
ore
docks at Two Harbors and Duluth on
Lake
Superior.
From
there,
boats take
the
pellets
to steel mills or docks at
Great Lakes
ports.
The
railway
has un
dergone
a
metamorphosis
since the ear
ly 1960's, when its main
commodity,
natural iron
ore, declined
severely
as
deposits
were
depleted.
The Missabe
Road rebounded thanks to new
process
es which made
taconite, a
low-grade
iron
ore,
economically
viable.
DM&IR is a distinctive railroad. It
was
among
the last to
employ large
steam
locomotives, but it also was in
strumental in
developing
the automatic
car identification (ACI)
system just
five
years
after the last
regular-service
steam run.
Nearly
all Missabe's car
loads
go
to one of the two lake
ports.
To
62 NOVEMBER 1992
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
-dBSK
ORE moves
year
'round on Missabe. The SD9's smoke it
up
and the ore is
steaming
as a Fairlane train heads south near Culver on
February
18. 1989 Steve Glischinski
photo
maintain its
huge
dock
complexes,
the
railroad
employs
more
people
in its
bridges
and
buildings department
than
in train service.
Although many
Mis
sabe ore cars date from the steam era
and some of the diesels that
displaced
steam are still in use, DM&IR's
physi
cal
plant
is
thoroughly
modern.
The Vermilion Iron
Range,
in the
area of Tower and
Ely, Minn.,
was dis
covered first. To the west
lay
the Mesa
bi
Range.
Mesabi, sometimes
spelled
Mesaba, Missabe, or
Missabay,
means
"giant"
in the
Chippewa language.
The
Mesabi
Range
extends
along
a 100-mile
ridge
of
granite
from Babbitt to Grand
Rapids,
Minn. Lewis Merritt of Duluth
and three of his seven sons found the
first ore there in November 1890 near
the
present
town of Mountain Iron.
How to
transport
the ore to Lake
Superior,
where boats would take it
east to steel mills'? The D&IR, on the
Vermilion, was not interested, and oth
er railroads were too far
away.
The Du
luth &
Winnipeg,
a Canadian-backed
railroad that became
part
of the Great
Northern, was 48 miles
away
at
Stony
Brook Junction
(today
Brookston). On
June 23, 1891,
the Merritts
incorporat
ed the Duluth, Missabe & Northern
Railway Company,
and construction be
gan
in 1892 between
Stony
Brook and
Mountain Iron. Those 10 loads that
DM&N moved on October 17, 1892,
went to
Stony
Brook, thence
by
D&W
to docks at Allouez, east of
Superior.
In
mid-1893 DM&N built its own line to
Duluth,
including
a
receiving yard
at
Proctor and a
huge
wooden dock ex
tending
into St. Louis
Bay.
Between Proctor and the Duluth
dock the railroad descends 600 feet on
an
S-shaped
line with a 2.2
percent
grade
which became known as Proctor
Hill. The
grade,
of course, favors loads
going
downhill. On
July
22, 1893. the
first whole trainload of Mesabi ore ar
rived in Duluth. and
today
DM&IR
pel
let trains follow tins same route.
Summer vs. winter
Today
the Missabe Road has 252
miles of track, all under the control of
dispatchers
based at the modern
(1976)
Keenan Yard near Forbes. From a
spe
cially designed
room in the
yard
office.
"Missabe Control" handles dozens of
moves each daw
many
under Central
ized Traffic Control
signals.
Missabe
was an
early
user of CTC. in 1943. Dis
patchers today
also
employ
a
computer
ized track warrant
system (CTWC), put
on line
February
4. 1991.
Missabe
operates
as two divisions.
named for their
predecessor
firms. The
Iron
Range
Division stretches north
from Two Harbors to Embarrass and
Biwabik;
the Missabe Division extends
from Duluth to Minntac. Biwabik, and
the west end of "the
Range."
Clinton 0. Ferner has been Mis-
sabe's
general manager
since 1981; he
reports
to Maurice R.
Seipler,
vice
pres
ident-operations
for all seven Transtar
railroads. (The others are
Elgin.
Joliet
& Eastern; Bessemer & Lake
Erie;
Un
ion Railroad;
McKeesport Connecting;
Lake Terminal: and
Birmingham
South
ern, i
Transtar, based in
Monroeville,
Pa., was formed in 1988 to
purchase
and
operate
the
transportation
busi
nesses
formerly
controlled bv U.S.
Steel, now USX
Corp. USX, Blackstone
TRAINS 63
Strong
as steel
Limited Partners
L.P.,
and the senior
management
of the
transportation
com
panies
own Transtar's
stock,
and USX
keeps
a 49
percent
interest.
Missabe
people
refer to lines in the
Iron
Range
area as the "North
End";
the "South End" includes
Duluth-Supe-
rior, Proctor,
and Two Harbors. Mike
Urie is DM&IR's north-end assistant
superintendent,
and Bob
Aho,
based at
Proctor,
is in
charge
of the south end.
"We have
separate operating plans
for summer and
winter," says
Urie.
Cold weather affects
ore, causing
it to
freeze,
and air-brake
pressure,
so we
have to
operate
trains
differently,
de
pending
on the
temperature."
In natu
ral-ore
days,
this wasn't a
problem.
The
mud-like ore froze
easily,
but Missabe
simply
shut down ore
operations during
winter,
since the
ports
and locks on the
Great Lakes froze
anyway.
Missabe em
ployed
steam locomotives to thaw cars
of natural ore when
temperatures
dropped. Later,
an infrared ore
thawing
plant
was built at Two Harbors. Taco
nite
helped
make it an
anachronism,
since the marble-like
pellets
don't
freeze as
quickly.
Now trainloads of
steaming
hot
pellets
fresh from
plant
furnaces are common
sights
in winter.
The Great Lakes boats still
"lay
up"
between
January
and
March,
but
now the Missabe
keeps moving,
thanks
to
pellet storage
sites
adjacent
to the
docks. The first one
opened
in Duluth
in 1965. Trains
discharge
their loads
into
specially
modified
pockets
on dock
No.
6,
which feed onto a
conveyor
belt
carrying
the
pellets
to a
stockpile.
(Docks were numbered as built. Four
wooden docks
preceded
docks 5 and 6 in
Duluth. One dock is in use at Duluth,
two in Two Harbors. The Duluth
dock,
built in
1917-1918,
is the
largest
of its
kind on the Great Lakes. The
facility
can store 3.1 million tons of
pellets.)
In 1977 a similar
storage facility
opened
at Two Harbors. Work also be
gan
on a
ship-loading facility
on Two
Harbors dock
2,
to
permit handling
the
1000-foot Great Lakes vessels then
coming
into use. Unlike
Duluth,
where
trains are unloaded
directly
on the
dock,
at Two Harbors
car-unloading
takes
place
either on the docks or
using
a car
dumper.
In winter
only
the car
dumper
is used.
To load the boats from the stock
pile,
22 shuttle
conveyors
each
capa
ble of
extending
out over the vessel
hatchescan load 750 tons
per
hour.
The
average loading
rate for a 1000-
foot vessel is
10,000
tons
per
hour. A
similar
ship
loader was
opened
on dock
6 in Duluth in 1983.
Many
of the boats
belong
to the
USS Great Lakes
Fleet,
and some of
the ore moves to Conneaut (Connie-
awt), Ohio,
where it is transloaded from
the boats to lakeside
storage
areas
owned
by
the
Pittsburgh
& Conneaut
Dock Co. Like DM&IR,
P&C Dock is
also
celebrating
its 100th
anniversary
in 1992. P&C
Dock,
the Great Lakes
Fleet,
and Warrior & Gulf
Navigation
Co. all are Transtar
properties.
The taconite revolution
That the Missabe Road exists
today
is
part
of the incredible
story
of taco
nite. Minnesota had
long
been a leader
in iron
mining, supplying
about 55
per
cent of U.S. iron ore in the mid-20th
Century.
But steelmakers could envi
sion the
day
when natural ore would
play
out.
Donald B.
Shank,
retired DM&IR
vice
president
and
general manager,
re
members the concern over the decline
of natural ore. "The
shipment
of ore de
clined
precipitously by
the
early 1960's,
getting
to a
point
where we hauled
only
18 million tons in 1961 after a
peak
of
49 million tons in 1953. That resulted
in
closing
down Two Harbors
[yard
and
dock]
in
1963,
which was a traumatic
experience
for all of us involved."
As
early
as
1913,
the
University
of
Minnesota Mines
Experiment
Station
in
Minneapolis
had
begun studying
tac
onite,
which contains
only
20 to 30
per-
Steve Glischinksi.
AT a Two Harbors
spot photographer
Frank
King
made
famous, SD's
glide
over North Shore Scenic's former Missabe line
August 4, 1992.
64 NOVEMBER 1992
cent iron in its natural state. The UM
group's
mission was to find a
way
to
economically
recover the iron from tac
onite,
which was
plentiful
but uneco
nomic to mine
compared
with natural
ore.
Eventually
researchers worked out
a method of
upgrading
and
pelletizing
the rock that made the ore attractive to
steel
companies.
In the
1950's,
Reserve
Mining
and Erie
Mining
built
large
plants
on the eastern Mesabi
Range
that
helped prove
the success of the tac
onite
process.
Taconite turned out to have several
qualities
that
gave
it an
advantage
over natural ore. The
consistency
of
natural ore
approximates
that of
dirt,
and it tends to "cake
up"
in steel mill
blast furnaces.
Taconite,
when molded
into
pellets,
reduces more
quickly
and
uniformly
to molten
iron,
and it in
creased the furnaces'
production
rates.
Still,
steel
companies
in the 1960's
hesitated to make
costly
investments in
taconite, fearing
that after
they spent
billions on
plants, they
would be
easy
targets
for tax increases. The "Taconite
Amendment" solved that. The
compa
nies asked for tax assurances from the
Minnesota
legislature,
which came in
the form of an amendment to the state
constitution that
stipulated
the taconite
industry
would not be taxed
any higher
than other businesses for 25
years.
The
change
was
approved by
Minnesota vot
ers on November 3, 1963, after a cam
paign by industry
and labor
groups.
Says Shank,
"After the Taconite
Amendment
passed
and the
plants
be
gan being built,
we ended
up exceeding
the
capacity
of the Duluth
docks,
so
Two Harbors was
reopened
in 1966."
Two Harbors
ultimately played
a
major
role in
securing
taconite traffic
for the railroad, according
to Shank.
Missabe's chief
competitor
for new taco
nite business was the Great Northern,
whose
facility
was at Allouez, just
east
of
Superior.
Because the docks at Two
Harbors are farther
up-lake,
both the
trains and the lakeboats have shorter
journeys.
These factors enabled DM&IR
to offer steelmakers lower rates and
shorter transit time.
Taconite
production
mushroomed
in the 1960's and 1970's. In 1973,
the
Missabe carried more taconite than
natural ore for the first time, and the
gap
has widened each
year
since. In
1991,
Missabe carried
only
about 5000
tons of natural ore and other
products.
Fairlane,
Minntac, and Minorca
From Two Harbors and Proctor
yards,
Missabe sends
empty
ore cars
north to three
plants
on the
Range,
where
they
are filled with
pellets.
Gary
J. Benson.
ORE JENNIES
by
the hundreds
populate
Proctor Yard in
August
1989 view
looking
north.
Fairlane, near Forbes, was the first
taconite
plant
on DM&IR. Its first
pel
let
shipment
was loaded aboard the
steamer Edmund
Fitzgerald
at Duluth
on
April
8, 1966. The
legendary
boat
sank in Lake
Superior
on November 10,
1975. with the loss of all 29 hands. It
was later
eulogized
in a
popular
ballad
by singer
Gordon
Lightfoot.
The Fairlane
plant
is owned
by
Eveleth Mines,
formerly
Eveleth Taco
nite. which is owned
by Rouge
Steel
(Ford), Oglebay
Norton. Armco Steel.
and Steel
Company
of Canada (Stelco).
You
may
wonder
why
the name Fair
lane'1 That was the name of
Henry
Ford's
huge
estate in
Dearborn,
Mich.
The
plant
is unusual in that the
Missabe carries both its crude ore and
its finished
pellets.
Ore is not mined at
Fairlane, but at two mines to the north.
The
first,
Thunderbird
North,
is 10 rail
miles
away.
In 1977, Fairlane's
capaci
ty
was
expanded
from its
original
level
of 2.4 million tons
per year
to 6 million.
To
produce
additional crude
ore,
Thun
derbird South mine
opened
near Eve
leth and made its first
shipment
Au
gust
31, 1976. T-Bird South will soon
exhaust its
easy-to-reach
surface crude
and is scheduled to shut down.
Opera
tions will then be
expanded
at T-Bird
TRAINS 65
Strong
as steel
North. Local
trains, commonly
called
"T-Birds,"
shuttle between the mines
and the
plant
with crude ore.
Fairlane loads one
11,500-ton
train
of 176 to 180 ore cars (or
"jennies")
each
day.
This makes a
daytime
round
trip
over the Missabe Division to Proctor. In
1991, Fairlane
produced
3.4 million
tons of
pellets.
Missabe's
largest
customer is the
Minntac (Minnesota taconite)
plant
of
USX near Mountain Iron. It
began pel
let
shipments
October
25,
1967. The
plant's original capacity
was 4V2 mil
lion
tons, expanded
to 18 million be
tween 1972 and 1978. Minntac
typical
ly
loads four to six 136-car trains each
day, usually operated
over the Iron
Range
Division. Most of the ore
goes
through
Two Harbors to
Gary
(Ind.)
Steel Works or to Conneaut. (Interest
ingly,
the water distance from Duluth
or Two Harbors to
Chicago, Gary,
or
Conneaut is
approximately
the same.)
In
1991,
Minntac
shipped
13 million
tons of
pellets.
The water reservoir at
Minntac is the dormant
open pit
of the
Mountain Iron
mine,
where Mesabi ore
was discovered
by
the Merritts.
Inland Steel
Mining's
Minorca fa
cility just
north of
Virginia, Minn.,
is
the newest
plant
served
by DM&IR;
Robert C. Anderson.
VIEW on Proctor Hill of trains
leaving
Duluth
(above)
is Missabe's most famous
photo
loca
tion. SD9M rebuilds 303 and 316 lead a mixed
freight
and ore
empties, respectively,
June 16,
1991. At Fairlane
(below),
three SD9's
bring
a train in for
loading
on
February 1, 1988.
first
shipments
were made June
9,
1977. DM&IR access to the
plant
is via
trackage rights
over seven miles of Du
luth, Winnipeg
& Pacific north from
Shelton Junction
(Largo
is Missabe's
designation),
then on a mine
spur
to
the
plant. Burlington
Northern also has
rights
to Minorca,
but
only
to deliver
commercial
freight.
Minorca's annual
capacity
is 2.6
million
tons;
in
1991,
it
shipped
2,512,633
tons. DM&IR runs one 132-
car train six
days
a week over the Mis
sabe Division to Minorca,
with most
production moving through
Duluth to
Inland's Indiana Harbor Works.
Flux vs. acid
pellets
Minorca and Minntac
produce
"flux"
pellets. Beginning
in
1988,
a
combination of limestone and dolomite
was mixed with the ore
during
the
pel
let-making process.
This
mixture,
when
introduced in blast
furnaces,
becomes
slag
that absorbs
impurities
and allows
better heat utilization. The limestone-
dolomite mix
formerly
was added at
steel
plants,
but with the
industry
cut
ting costs,
it found
adding
the mix at
the taconite
plant
was less
costly
and
increased
pellet quality.
Minntac is
now
producing only
flux
pellets,
while
Minorca
produces
both flux and stan
dard "acid"
pellets.
The limestone used for flux
pellet
production
is moved
by
Missabe from
Duluththe first northbound loads the
railroad has ever handled on a
regular
basis. Boats
bring
the stone from Michi
gan quarries
to Hallett Dock Co. in Du
luth,
served
by
BN.
Mike Urie
says
there are two dis
tinct limestone
operations
for the two
plants.
For
Minorca, a switch crew
takes 40
empty
ore cars from Proctor to
Duluth, where 40 limestone loads from
the
previous day
are
waiting. Upon
re
turn to
Proctor, the cars are added to
the rear of an 92-car
empty
train bound
for the
plant.
At
Minorca, the 40 stone
cars are set out and the
previous day's
empties picked up
and loaded with
pel
lets
along
with the other
empties.
The
loaded 132-car train then returns to
Proctor.
Enough
limestone is
stockpiled
to
carry
Minorca
through
the winter.
Getting
limestone to Minntac
pre
sents different
problems.
The limestone
dock is in
Duluth, but Minntac
pellets
normally
move
through
Two Harbors.
The sheer
quantity
of stone needed
pre
vents the
plant
from
stockpiling
over
the winter. To solve the
problem,
Mis
sabe
arranged
to shift the
routing
of
some Minntac
pellets
to Duluth, which
permits
backhauling pellets
after the
limestone is
dumped.
Between
April
66 NOVEMBER 1992
*%a
\ lo r-ort trances
oV
t
All-rail C&NW 8543-8536 105-1
Minntac
LTV Steel Mining Company
MINNESOTA
15 miles
Predecessors in italics
1992. Kalmbach Publishing Co.. TRAINS: Mike Danneman
DW&P406 CN5220-5209-DW8.P590
Cloquet
MINNESOTA
DW&P switcher 5907
fSOO)
Jjr
DW&P switcher CN
2\\ DW&P760 r;j s:08-5013-DW&P5911 70-0
To
Ladysmith
and
October,
Minntac receives two 55-
car limestone trains
daily using regular
ore cars. The trains
operate
out of Proc
tor,
with switch crews
moving
loads
and
empties
to and from Duluth. After
unloading
at Minntac,
the cars are
filled with
pellets,
returned to Proctor,
and
dumped through
the Duluth dock.
In
winter,
two 35-car limestone
trains
operate daily.
These trains use
side-dump gondolas,
which are easier to
unload in winter and are treated with a
special
freeze-release
agent just prior
to
loading.
Trains leave Proctor with 35
freshly
treated
empties,
set out the cars
on the BN
interchange
in Duluth.
pick
up
35 loads, and run
directly
to Minn
tac,
nonstop through
Proctor.
They
re
turn
empty
since the side
dumps
do not
fit well into the
pellet unloading system
at the Duluth dock.
These trains are
operated
on a
'just-in-time" delivery
schedule both to
prevent
the limestone from
freezing
and to meet the schedule at Minntac.
Late trains can cut into Minntac's
pel
let
productivity,
so the whole
operation
requires
close
cooperation among
Hal-
let, BN, Missabe, and Minntac. Because
of the
pellet backhauls, the railroad
was able to
improve
its
pricing
and was
awarded
long-term
contracts for lime
stone movements with annual volumes
of 1.5 million tons.
Minntac also loads all-rail ore
trains which move via the Missabe Di
vision to off-line steel
plants
in both
winter and summer. C&NW handles
one movement from
Superior
to Fre-
TRAINS 67
Strong
as steel
?
mont, Nebr.,
where Union Pacific takes
the train to the Basic
Manufacturing
Technology
(BMT) Geneva Works near
Provo, Utah,
a run of 1642 miles. The
train
averages
106
cars, employing
North Western coal
hoppers. They
are
interchanged
at C&NW's Itasca Yard
in
Superior,
Wis.
Burlington
Northern also occasion
ally participates
in Missabe all-rail
moves. These are
interchanged
at Steel
ton
Yard,
near Duluth. BN takes them
to Granite
City,
111. BN also has its own
large
ore
operations, serving
taconite
plants
at
Hibbing
and
Keewatin, Minn.,
with dock facilities at Allouez. There
are also
regular
all-rail moves from
these
plants
to Granite
City.
Wisconsin Central now also moves
Minntac ore
pellets.
On
April 11, 1992,
it took the first loaded train from Mis
sabe
interchange
at
Ambridge, Wis.,
to
Chicago.
CSX forwards the trains to
Birmingham, Ala.,
where
Birmingham
Southern delivers them to USX's Fair
field Plant. This
plant formerly
re
ceived ore from
Upper Michigan,
where
mines are served
by
Lake
Superior
&
Ishpeming
and C&NW. Since
1989,
WC
also has handled all-rail Minntac trains
to
Chicago,
with Conrail
taking
them
to USX's
Edgar
Thomson Works near
Pittsburgh.
On all-rail
moves,
the
connecting
carriers' locomotives
typically
will run
through
over the Missabe. The all-rails
normally
have 106
cars,
but when tem
peratures drop
below
zero,
DM&IR
splits
the trains into 53-car
cuts, oper
ated about 3 hours
apart.
These shorter
trains are less
prone
to air-brake leak
age
in cold weather. The all-rail
opera
tions,
combined with limestone trains
shuttling
back and forth to Minntac
and
regular moves,
make the Missabe
busier in winter than in
summer,
the
opposite
of
operations
in
years past.
Commercial traffic and the MRF
Other
operations
include the 84-car
T-Bird crude ore shuttle
trains,
which
originate
at Keenan Yard. One SD38
diesel
pulls
these trains in the summer
months,
vs. two SD9's/18's or rebuilt
"SDM's" (see below) in winter.
On
weekdays,
a switch run works
from Keenan west to
Hibbing
or east to
Virginia
to handle "commercial" (non-
ore) traffic. The Braxton Industries
chip
plant,
near
Bovey,
has
generated
new
business a
weekly
move of
gondolas
full of used ties (most from roads other
than DM&IR).
Braxton
grinds
them
into wood
chips,
then trucks them to
the Blandin
Paper
Mill in Grand
Rap
ids, Minn.,
where
they
are burned in
the mill's boilers. This business will be
lost in 1993 when Braxton is to move
its
plant
because of a
highway project.
On
Mondays
and
Thursdays,
the
Miscellaneous Road
Freight
(MRF)
works from Proctor to Two
Harbors;
it
returns on
Tuesdays
and
Fridays.
The
MRF handles ore as well as commercial
freight.
It handles
any
cars for
Cyprus
Northshore
Mining (formerly
Reserve
Mining)
at Norshor Junction on the
Wales Branch and LTV Steel (ex-Erie
Mining)
at
Hoyt Lakes,
the
mining
roads'
only
outside rail connections. A
chief
duty
for the MRF is to
bring
ma
terials to four
plants
that manufacture
blasting powder,
which is used to blast
taconite rock free from the earth.
On
Wednesdays
and
Sundays,
a
yard
crew works the "Steelton Switch"
job
on the
Spirit
Lake and Interstate
branches between
Adolph, Minn.,
and
C&NW's Itasca Yard in eastern
Superi
or. This 23-mile route connects with all
major
roads
serving
the Twin Ports and
is Missabe's
only foray
outside Minne
sota. DW&P also has used it since
1984,
when it was forced out of its West
Duluth
yard by freeway
construction.
The federal
government helped
fund a
new
yard, Pokegama
(Poe-KEG-uh-
muh),
astride DM&IR in
Superior.
This route once was
part
of the
Spirit
Lake Transfer
Railway,
leased in
1915
by
DM&N. It formed a link to
U.S. Steel's
giant
Duluth Works at
Steelton, Minn., south of Duluth. The
plant
closed in
stages beginning
in
1973. At
Oliver, Wis., the line connect
ed with the Interstate Transfer
Railway
via a two-deck
bridge
over the St. Louis
River. The
bridge
has the railroad on
the
top deck, a
roadway
on the lower.
During
the
summer, the "Hill Job"
takes loads down Proctor Hill to the
dock at
Duluth,
returning
with
emp
ties.
During winter, road ore
jobs origi
nate and terminate at Duluth docks,
without
stopping
at Proctor. The idea
behind this is to
get
the
pellets
to the
Duluth
stockpile
before
they
freeze.
Even
though
taconite is far less
suscep
tible to
freezing
than natural ore, there
is still moisture in the
pellets.
Late
dieselizationa
plus
The Missabe was late to dieselize,
and
keeps
a
well-maintained roster to
day. Until
July 5, 1960, when 2-8-8-4
Yellowstone No. 222 hauled the last
steam-powered ore
train, DM&IR de
pended on 18 of the behemoths received
during
World War II.
Diesels of the
Duluth,
Missabe & Iron
Range
Road
Nos.
11-25
50-55
101-110
Model and
class
SW9(DS1)
RS07(RS5)
SD9R(RS1)
Builder,
year
EMD. 1953
Alco. 1959
EMD, 1956
Qty.
built/
remaining
15/0
6/0
10/0
111-130 SD9R(RS2) EMD, 1957
131-158 SD9R(RS3) EMD, 1958
159-174 SD9(RS4) EMD, 1959
20/2
28/16
16/7
175-193
201-208
209-216
SD18
(RS6)
SD38AC (RS7)
SD38-2 (RS8)
EMD.
EMD,
EMD,
1960
1971
1975-1976
19/4
301-322 SD9R, SD18R EMD, various
900-909
C630(RS9) Alco, 1966
0/22
10/0
1/1
Dispositions
11,
14 to Electro-Motive Division in 1958, to Carbon County
1201-1202 in 1963; 12, 17-18, 20-22 to EMD in 1960, to Union
Railroad 563-568 in 1963; 13, 15-16, 19, 23 to Union 569-573 in
1963; 24-25 to
Chicago
Short Line 24-25 in 1962
To B&LE 881-886 in 1964, to Cartier
Railway
81-84 in 1972
To B&LE 826-829, EJ&E 603, B&LE 830, EJ&E 604-605. B&LE
832, B&LE 831 in 1965-1968; 110 was ex-EMD 5591; EJ&E 603-
605 to MRL 603 (later 602), 604 (later 600), 605 in 1987-1988
111-112, 115, 126 retired
by 1980; 113-114 to B&LE 833-834 in
1968; 120, 116. 125, 128 to Union 630-633 in 1979
(chop-nosed
by DM&IR); 121 to EJ&E 611 in 1972; 123-124 to B&LE 836-837
in 1971 ; 1 27 to EJ&E 606 in 1968, to MRL 606 (later MRL 601 ) in
1988; 129-1 30 in service as Class RS3
131 to B&LE 831 in 1971; 132. 145 to BN 6240-6241 in 1989;
133, 135, 147. 154 to EJ&E 607-610 in 1971
(607. 610 returned
to DM&IR in 1992, 608-609 returned and
cannibalized); 136,
140-141. 146, 148 to B&LE 821-825 in 1964; 137, 151 to B&LE
839-840 in 1971
165, 173 to EJ&E in 1989; all others rebuilt to 300 series except
159, 161.164. 166. 168. 170-171
All rebuilt to 300 series except 175, 185, 189, 193
210 to B&LE in 1980, returned in 1992; 214 ex-EJ&E 655 (SD38);
215 ex-B&LE 892, 216 ex-B&LE 863 (SD38)
In-house rebuilds, classified SDM
by DM&IR ("M" lor Missabe,
not "modified"); 301 from 174 in 1979. 302 Irom 160 in 1980,
remainder
chronologically
in 1988-1991 in this order 192, 169,
188, 178, 190. 177. 184, 183, 180, 181, 179, 162, 163, 186.
167, 172, 191, 176, 187.182
Ex-UP 2900-2909, purchased
in 1973. to Cartier
Railway 33-37,
30-31,38. 32, 39 in 1974-1976
Ex-BN
slug ET3. converted
by
NP Irom Baldwin VP-1000 406
(built 1944)
in 1965, acquired
from Duluth dealer in 1988; stored
ET3 Slug(-) NP, 1965
Notes:
All units C-C wheel
arrangement except SW9's and
slug,
B-B Horsepower ratings SW9. 1200, SD9, 1750; SD18, 1800; SD38,
2000; RSD7, 2250; C430, 3000
Key to initials: B&LE, Bessemer & Lake Erie, BN, Burlington Northern; EJ&E, Elgin,
Joliet & Eastern, MRL, Montana Rail Link,
NP, Northern Pacific.
Roster accurate as of July 1, 1992; sources: DM&IR, "Locomotives ofthe DM&IR." by
Frank
King, Range Research SG.
68 NOVEMBER 1992
One reason it
kept
steam so late
was its then-seasonal
operation.
Don
Shank,
Missabe
general manager
1961-
1981,
recalls another reason
Superin
tendent of Motive Power and Cars Pat
rick Michael
("Paddy") Sullivan, who
"hated diesel locomotives."
"He
pretty
much convinced the
president,
Paul H. Van Hoven (who
served
1944-1954),
that diesels were
not all that
they
were cracked
up
to be.
The two of them
played
a
big
role in
holding
back on dieselization. Another
factor was that as the other U.S. Steel
roads dieselized,
their steam locomo
tives came to the Missabe."
Shank,
a Biwabik native who be
gan
his Missabe career in
1940,
eventu
ally
rose to Sullivan's old
position,
and
had a
tough
time
selling management
on diesels. 'It was a little awkward for
me to become an advocate of dieseliza
tion,
with a number of the
top
DM&IR
people feeling
that the diesels were not
the
panacea
that the other railroads
found them to be."
Passenger
excursions ended the
Missabe steam era. On
July 4, 1961,
Yellowstones 224 and 225 worked
sepa
rate
trips,
last for their
type,
and 2-10-2
No. 514 hauled two excursions in
Sep
tember
1962,
which closed out steam.
Three
Yellowstones,
two
2-10-2's,
and
several smaller
engines
are
preserved.
Shank believes the late dieseliza
tion
helped.
"I think
dieselizing
late
was a
blessing,
because diesel locomo
tives
improved
over the
early years.
So
when we dieselized we
got
the latest
models that were ideal for the Mis
sabe's
heavy
service."
Missabe's
staple
diesel was EMD's
hard-lugging SD9,
a
1750-h.p.,
six-mo
tor road-switcher. Missabe
bought
10 in
1955-1956, classifying
the them RS-1
(road-switcher,
first
order);
64 more fol
lowed from 1957 to 1959. To handle the
heavy hauls, they
were ballasted to
weigh 387,000
lbs.
Twenty-nine
of them
are still in Missabe service, many
of
them rebuilt. One of two
originally
equipped
with
passenger-service
steam
boilers (to heat
cars),
No. 129,
was re
stored to its
original livery
in 1991.
In
1960,
DM&IR finished dieseliza
tion with 19 SD18's. Missabe also has
13
second-generation
SD38's from 1971
and 1975. The last ones cost $390,000
each;
a similar unit
today
would be
near
$1 million. Missabe also had EMD
SW9's,
Alco
RSD7's,
and secondhand
C630's,
but sold them to standardize.
All 61 Missabe units
today (plus
3
SD38's due in 1992) are
equipped
with
a
straight
air
braking system.
This al
lows retainers on cars to be set from the
locomotive
cab, particularly important
MINNTAC loads
(rear)
wait as "the MRF,
TRAINS: Mike Danneman.
with
jennies,
takes
siding
at Fairbanks in 1989.
for
descending
Proctor Hill and the 3
percent grade
into Two Harbors
yard.
Missabe's diesel
shop
is at Proctor.
DM&IR had steam
backshops
at both
Two Harbors and Proctor and
planned
to build diesel
shops
in both cities.
Proctor went
up first,
in 1958, and
DM&IR realized it needed
only
one.
Charles E.
Voss,
locomotive
superinten
dent and son of Fred J. Voss, DM&IR
president
1954-1961, runs the
shop.
where 90 are
employed.
Missabe embarked on an in-house
rebuild
program
after
testing
the con
cept
in 1979 with SD9 174. It received
a new. modular electrical
system.
EMD
645-engine power
assemblies.
2400-gal-
lon Kiel tank, electric cab heat, and a
chopped
front-hood. Renumbered 301. it
was
outshopped
on
August
15th. A sec
ond unit, SD9 160, was done and came
out as 302 in March 1980. The rebuilds
were a success, but the steel
industry
downturn forced a
suspension.
The rebuild
program,
in which
newer SD9's and 18's are
completely
worked
over,
was restarted in 1988.
Twenty
units have been done. These
are called
SDM's;
"M" is for
"Missabe,"
not "modified." About four months is
required
to
complete
a unit. Voss
says
the work adds 15
years
to a unit's life
for
$350,000.
The older
SD9's,
which have differ
ent
electro-pneumatic switching gear
and air
brakes, get only partial
work.
They
receive an
engine overhaul, truck
rebuild, and new
paint,
but
keep
their
TRAINS 69
Strong
as steel
?
high
noses and old numbers. Voss
says
this will
keep
them
rolling
until 2000.
Eleven have been
done,
with four left.
Next: the
SD38's,
some 21
years
old.
Missabe bases its maintenance
cy
cle on the amount of fuel used
by
a lo
comotivethey
come due for overhaul
with
every 800,000 gallons.
The SD38's
come due
every 1,050,000 gallons,
and
account for almost half of fuel
consump
tion. Three used SD38's are scheduled
to come this
year,
one from EJ&E and
two from
B&LE, already
rebuilt and
repainted.
An innovative railroad
Three decades
ago
DM&IR
helped
develop technology employed through
out the nation
today.
In
spring 1965,
Missabe became the first U.S. railroad
to install
Sylvania's
Automatic Car
Identification
system,
named Kartrak.
The
technology
seems
simple now,
but was
revolutionary
then. Trackside
scanners send out beams of white
light
and receive colored reflected
light
from
striped,
reflective material
(developed
by
Minnesota's 3M
Company)
on
pass
ing
cars. These
strips identify
each car
by
number and
empty weight.
The ACI
system eventually
went into nation
wide rail
use,
but the scanners had
problems reading
labels if
they
were
dirty.
Since road
grime
is an
everyday
part
of
railroading,
other railroads
abandoned the
system.
Missabe contin
ues to use
it,
since it has a
mostly cap
tive car fleet. The labels are
kept
clean
by
automatic washers that
spray
a
clear water rinse as cars
pass
at the
Proctor scale. This "bar code" technol
ogy
is similar to that seen on
magazine
covers and in retail stores.
In the
1970's,
Missabe attacked
car-managing inefficiency by develop
ing
the
"mini-quad."
This was
simply
a
four-unit ore car
carrying
a
single
car
number,
with each unit connected
by
a
drawbar instead of a
coupler.
Having
survived the transition
from natural ore to taconite in the
1960's,
the Missabe then faced the re
structuring
of the steel
industry
in the
U.S. in the 1980's. As steel reeled from
recession and
foreign producers beating
it on
price,
the Minnesota ore
industry
was
affected,
with taconite
plants
shut
down or curtailed. The steel
industry
had to
eliminating
excess
capacity
and
older
facilities,
and the DM&IR was
forced to do likewise. In 1981 the rail
road moved 24 million tons of ore with
1700
employees,
and in
1991,
19.5 mil
lion tons with but 800
employees.
Clint Ferner,
Missabe's
general
manager,
credits automation for much
of the Missabe's
ability
to survive. The
railroad is a
heavy
user of
computers
for
everything
from boat
loading
to of
fice
security. Physical changes
have
also taken
place.
The Iron
Range
Divi
sion Lakefront Line between Duluth
and Two Harbors was abandoned (it is
now the North Shore Scenic tourist
railroad). The Missabe Division main
from
Adolph
to Fairlane was
single-
tracked in
1987,
with three
passing
sid
ings
made from the old second main.
Missabe was an
early
convert from ca
booses to rear-end
devices, beginning
cabooseless
operations
in 1985.
Says
Ferner: "We were able to control our
costs so that when ore business came
back,
we could hold our own
against
Michigan ore,"
which is Missabe's main
competitor
in the domestic market.
More
pressures
face the nation's
steel
industry
in the 1990's.
"Integrated
mills,"
which
produce
steel in the tradi
tional manner from
ore,
face
competi
tion from
"mini-mills,"
which melt
down
scrap
to make steel.
Many
of
these mills are nonunion and have low
er costs. A new
development
is the di
rect reduction of iron
ore,
in which the
blast furnace is
bypassed
and ore is re
duced to steel on-site. This would
pose
a
challenge
in the
U.S.,
where mines are
far from markets.
Possibly
a
bigger
problem
is the location of Minnesota
taconite itself. While there is
enough
ore to last over 100
years,
it is
getting
more
expensive
to extract because the
ore veins are farther below the surface.
Ferner
says
the DM&IR's close ties
to
mining
will determine its fate. "The
future of the
Missabe,
for the next 100
years,
is based on the
competitiveness
of Minnesota ore in the world ore mar
ket. Without Minnesota ore
being
com
petitive,
the Missabe won't exist." All
with an interest in this historic railroad
hope
the steel
industry,
its
employees,
and the
government
will
cooperate
to
ensure this
competitiveness
so Missabe
trains can roll to Lake
Superior
docks
well into the 21st
Century.
1
STEVE GLISCHINSKI is a Minnesota
native and
freelance writer based in St.
Paul. He thanks Clint
Ferner,
John
Leopard,
Bob
Bennett,
Lee
Oviatt,
Tom
Sample,
Chuck
Voss,
and Mike Urie
of
DM&IR and Alice
Saylor of
Transtar
for help
with the
article,
and Missabe
dispatcher
Arnold Suihkonen
for
the
train-status
map.
Gary
J. Benson.
HOSTLER
helper
Ron Van Dell sands
chop-nose
SD9 186 at Proctor on
August 15, 1989.
70 NOVEMBER 1992
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
How Wisconsin Central and
Southern Pacific snared the
big
Geneva Steel ore haul
By Mark W. Hemphill
PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR
At
1 1:30 ij.m. on September 26, 1994, the
city
of Pueb
lo, Colo., closes for the
night.
The
streetlights
cast
pools
of
light
on the
empty
streets beneath the red
brick and sandstone facades ofthe
city's
turn-of-the-
century
business blocks. You could stand on the
overpass spanning
Pubelo Union
Depot
Yard and roll
bowling
balls
down Union Avenue without fear of
striking
a car.
Wait . . . there, south of the
overpass,
is a steel
building
whose
overhead doors stand
open
on this
pleasantly
warm
night,
whose
bright lights spill
into the
yard
and beckon
you
in. This is Southern
Pacific's Pueblo "roundhouse." Inside the crew room
you
find Don
Gibbs, road foreman of
engines,
a
big,
no-nonsense man whose
36
TRAINS
curly gray
hair,
wire-frame
glasses,
and measured
speech
make him
professorial.
"This is
engineer
Jim Harvey
and conductor Bob Brazil," he
says,
introducing you.
Had he told
you they
were Montana
cowboys, you
would have believed it,
judging by
their weathered faces, sure hand
shakes, and
steady gaze.
"O.K., let's
go."
The formalities over, Gibbs turns
abruptly
and
strides out the door, his
grip
and thermos in his left hand, a
parka
and
laptop computer slung
over his
right
shoulder.
Around the corner,
past
a dozen
idling
diesels, is Denver ;n Rio
Grande Western SD40T-2 541 1. This is the taxi to
your
train,
which
rests 2 miles
away
at Pueblo Yard's west end.
Headlight
on
dim,
341 1
New GE Dash-9 diesels hustle coal east
up
the 1.3
percent grade
be
tween
Eagle
and
Sage, Colo.,
on SP's Denver & Rio Grande Western.
moves
slowly through
a dark
canyon
ot
hoppers
and boxcars. It
emerges
into the west throat, where three of SP's 100 new C44-9W's
reflect the
faraway glow
ofthe
yard light
towers.
Coupled
behind
them are 103 black
four-bay hopper
cars. The three men
quickly jug
gle
the
locomotives,
splicing
in the 541 1 as third unit
among
the new
General Electrics. A carman
pulls alongside
in his truck and
picks
up
Bob and the end-of-train device, then
disappears
down a narrow
road between the tracks.
Fifty-three
cars
deep,
he
stops.
Bob lifts the
pin
to
split
the train, lim
pulls
forward a few feet, and Bob attaches
MARCH
1995 37
the rear-end device. The air brakes
are tested and released, and at 1:28
a.m.
your
train is
ready
to
go
west.
The CTC
signals
at the west end
show
yellow
over red. At 1:30, lim
opens
the throttle on C44 8138 and
the train
slowly pulls
forward
through
the narrow
girders
over
Dry
Creek. As soon as the rear end clears
the
yard,
Jim
pulls
the throttle back
to Notch 8, and the four units
spool
up.
The 81 38's ammeter
swings
over
to 900
amps
as the four units trade
horsepower
for
speed
on the 1
per
cent
ascending grade.
A few minutes
later
[im
calls the absolute
signal
at
the end of two main tracks at Good
night:
"Green."
"Green," confirms Don.
Ahead, the track climbs toward On the team:
Posing
with a train at Minntac are (from left)
the
Rocky
Mountains,
faintly
visible Ed
Burkhardt,
WC
president; Ralph Rupp,
Geneva Steel
manag
in the starlit distance. This crew will
er-traffic;
and Jim
Swearingen,
Minntac
general manager.
take
your
train 181.9 miles west to
Minturn, a small mountain
helper
terminal on the far side of Ten
nessee Pass. At 10,221 feet elevation, the
pass
is the
highest point
on
North America's
contiguous
rail network. From Pueblo to Ten
nessee Pass,
your
train will climb 5549 feet more than one mile
up!
The
lights
of Pueblo dwindle, and the 53
hoppers
behind
you
are
almost invisible in the darkness. From the
locomotives,
they
look
like the usual westbound
empties heading
into the
Rocky
Mountains
for more coal, since
nothing
is visible above their sides. Yet the
steady
drone of
prime
movers in Notch 8 and the slow train
speed
speak
a different
story:
these cars are loaded with 5300 tons of
taconite
pellets
bound for Geneva Steel at Geneva, Utah.
Wisconsin Central
hopper
cars? Loaded with taconite? On
Southern Pacific?
UTAH
AND STEEL: For 71
years, starting
in 1924, Union
Pacific hauled iron ore to blast furnaces near Provo, Utah.
On
April
30 of that
year,
Columbia Steel "blew in" its blast
furnace at Ironton, the first successful one west ol the
Rocky
Moun
tains. All the raw materials were
brought together by
railroads: iron
ore from the Iron
Springs Mining
District near Cedar
City,
Utah,
236 miles south on UP;
coking
coal,
from the thick
Sunnyside
seams in
Carbon and
Emery
Counties, 115
miles east on D8cRGW;
and lime
stone and dolomite, from the Kei-
gley Quarry,
21 miles west on the
D&RGW. Ironton
supplied
about
165,000
tons a
year
of
pig
iron to
Columbia's
open-hearth
furnaces
and
rolling
mills at
Pittsburg
and
Torrance, Calif. Columbia Steel be
came a
subsidiary
of U.S. Steel in
1930.
In 1940, as America's
participa
tion in World War II
approached,
the U.S.
government began
award
ing
contracts to West Coast
ship
yards
to build the thousands of
cargo ships,
tankers, and small war
ships necessary
to
support
an is
land-hopping,
trans-Pacific war.
These
ships
were built from steel
plate
and structural steel rolled at
Eastern mills, which traveled
by ship
via the Panama Canal because
water rates for steel were about half as much as all-rail rates from
the nearest
large
mills at
Chicago
and
Gary,
Ind.
During
World War I,
shipping
losses to German submarines had
reached
alarming proportions.
Would there be
any ships
available
to
carry
steel to the West Coast in the next war? Was the Panama
Canal route safe
enough
from
enemy
attack? The
government's
De
fense Plant
Corp. began
to
plan
a new Western steel mill to
supply
the West Coast
shipyards.
Central
Utah,
rail hub ofthe West, was the
perfect place
for this
large
new mill, just
as it had been for Columbia Steel in 1924. Local
communities could house the thousands of
people
who would build
and
operate
the mill, and a cadre of
experienced
blast-furnace work
ers at [ronton could Irain ihe new
employees
in
making
iron. Rail
roads would
supply
the mill's raw materials and
carry
its steel
plate
to the
shipyards:
UP southwest to Los
Angeles
and northwest to
Portland and
Seattle, Western Pacific and Southern Pacitic west to
San Francisco
Bay.
Thus in
May
1941 the Defense Plant
Corp. bought
a 1600-acre
site named Geneva, 6 miles north of
Provo, and contracted with
3
8
TRAINS
Columbia Steel to build what would be the nation's 1 1 th
largest
steel
mill. Its ultimate cost was over $200 million, one ofthe
largest
indus
trial
expenditures
the
government
made
during
the war. Geneva
rolled its first steel in
April
1944.
LONG
NIGHT'S JOURNEY:
"My
first
day's pay
on the
Rio Grande was in 1957 at
Durango,
Colorado,"
says
Don
Gibbs,
"firing
a
yard
switcher for a
75-year-old hoghead
with
54
years' seniority.
That
midnight
I
got
called on
my
rest to fire a
road
freight
on the
narrow-gauge
to
Chama, New Mexico."
Don is
riding
the lefthand forward seat of C44-9W 8138, Jim
Harvey
is
running.
Your train is
symboled
1MNGVC-24, for 1st
Minntac to Geneva Ore,
beginning
its SP
journey
at
Chicago
on
Sep
tember 24. Two
days
before, U.S. Steel's Minntac (short for Min
nesota
Taconite)
pellet plant
at Mountain
Iron, Minn.,
loaded this
train's 105 cars with 10,500 tons of fluxed iron ore
pellets.
Minntac,
the
largest
maker of taconite
pellets
in the world,
expected
to exca
vate 73.6 million tons of rock in 1994 from its
10-mile-long,
1 -mile-
wide
open-pit
mine in order to make 14.4 million tons of
pellets,
containing
either 63.8 or 65.5
percent
iron. Ofthe rock excavated,
48.5 million tons is taconite ore
containing
15 to 30
percent mag
netic iron
particles;
the rest is waste.
A few
days ago
Minntac loaded this ore into trains of 8 to 10 air-
dump gondolas,
and an EMD switch
engine
hauled it to the
pellet
plant.
Crushers at the
plant
reduced the ore to the
consistency
of
fine
powder. Magnets separated
the iron
particles
from the waste
rock. The ore, now enriched to 65
percent
iron, was mixed with ben-
tonite
(a clay
binder), water,
powdered
limestone, and dolomite
flux, rolled into 3/s-inch
pellets,
and baked at 2400
degrees.
The
pel
lets were
poured,
still hot, into these 100-ton
hopper
cars for the
2268-mile
trip
to Geneva.
After
loading
at Minntac,
your
train traveled south on the Du
luth, Missabe & Iron
Range
76 miles to Steelton Yard in southern
Duluth. There Wisconsin Central took over,
forwarding your
train
464 miles
through
Wisconsin and Illinois to the Belt
Railway
of Chi
cago's Clearing
Yard in the
Windy City.
En route: a
servicing stop
at WC's
Shops
Yard in North Fond du Lac, Wis. Once off WC rails
at Franklin Park, 111., the train used the Indiana Harbor Belt to Clear
ing,
where Southern Pacific took over. SP's route,
via
Joliet, 111., St.
Louis, and Kansas
City,
includes
trackage rights
over Illinois Cen
tral, Terminal Railroad Association, Kansas
City
Terminal,
and Un
ion Pacific. At Pueblo,
your
train was
split
into two sections. The
second, 2MNGVC-24, will follow behind four SP "SD's"SP
jar
gon
for
anything
from an SD40 to an
SD45T-2. The sections will
rejoin
at Min
turn and
go
on to the
rotary
ore
dumper
at Geneva as one train.
The time is 2:45 a.m.: After a meet at
Canon
City
with
freight RVNSQ (Rose
ville, Calif.-Norfolk Southern
Quality
Train),
you
enter the
Royal Gorge,
a slit
sliced into the mountain like a saw cut in
a fallen
log.
To
your
left,
the ballast drib
bles off a
rocky ledge
into the black rush
ing
water ofthe Arkansas River.
Through
8138's
sloping
windshields
you
can see the
vertical walls
jutting
a thousand feet into
the
starry sky.
The four units are
working
hard as the
grade
stiffens to as much as
1.41
percent. Tight
curves trace the base
ofthe
canyon
wall, 16 of them 12
degrees
or
tighter. Every
so often the 8 1 38 makes
a faint,
singing, high-pitched squeal.
"That's the wheels
slipping
a little,"
says
Jim. "That's about as much as
you'll
ever hear from them.
They're supposed
to do that; that's when
you
know the
wheel-slip
system
is
doing
its
job."
At
Hanging Bridge
the river fills ihe
gorge
trom wall to wall, with
the track
suspended
over the river
by
trusses that
span
the
canyon.
At 3:28, the train exits the
gorge
at Parkdale, where L:.S. 50 re
joins
the railroad.
Jim
starts on his fourth
cup
ot coffee. It's
begin
ning
to look like a
very long night.
TRADITION
FOR
UP,
THEN A BOLD MOVE: In the
1950's, Union Pacific's Iron Mountain Branch
originated
as much as 4.5 million tons of "natural" iron ore
yearly,
to
Ironton and Geneva, as well as to Colorado Fuel & Iron at Pueblo
and Kaiser Steel at Fontana, Calif. In
August
1962, U.S. Steel's new
taconite
pellet plant
at Atlantic
City, Wyo., began producing
1.5 mil
lion tons of
pellets
a
year
for Geneva,
reducing
the mill's
consump
tion of southern Utah iron ore (Ironton shut down in 1962.) UP also
had this ore haul, since Atlantic
City's
railroad (notable
in rail-
enthusiast circles for its ex-Bessemer & Lake Erie F7 diesels) was
cap
tive to UP's main line.
By
1982, the American steel
industry
was in a terrible
depression.
The world's
capacity
to
produce
steel far
outstripped
its
capacity
to
consume it. American mills were forced to reduce
capacity
in order
to reduce costs and
stay
alive.
U.S. Steel's Minntac
pellet plant
was then
producing
at about 25
percent capacity,
so USS shifted Geneva's
pellet supply
to Minntac
and closed the remote,
costly
Atlantic
City plant
on October 1 , 1 983.
Atlantic
City's
76.7-mile railroad
shipped
its last
pellets
later that
month.
Beginning
in November 1983, Geneva
began receiving
its
pellets
from Minntac, in 105-car unit trains
traveling
1657 miles via
Missabe Road,
Chicago
8< North Western, and L'F. (C&NW's route
between
Minneapolis-St.
Paul and Omaha was
variously
via Sioux
City,
Iowa, on the old Omaha Road or via Mason Citv and
Nevada,
Iowa,
using
the ex-Rock Island
"Spine
Line.") Ihe 100-ton
hopper
cars, drawn from a UP-C&NW
pool, dumped
their
pellets
at Gene
va,
were cleaned at
Ogden,
then loaded with coal at a southern
Wyoming
mine
(principally
the Black Butte Mine east of Rock
Springs)
which
supplied
one to two unit trains daih' to Common
wealth Edison in
Chicago.
After
emptying
at
Chicago,
the unas-
signed hoppers
went back into the
pool.
On
February
9, 1994, Geneva Steel, owner ofthe Utah mill since
August
1987 (see
page
41), announced it had
signed
an
agreement
with Missabe Road, Wisconsin Central, and Southern Pacific to haul
At 7:40 a.m., engineer
Jim
Harvey
has 1MNGVC-24
doing
15
mph approaching
Pando Tunnel.
MARCH
1995
39
For purposes of this list, "westbound" means en route Geneva,
eastbound" means en route Minntac. Actual timetable or
geo
graphic
direction
may vary.
Trainsets are numbered
arbitrarily
Data includes location, host road, last
reported time, and train
designation;
locomotive numbers, car count
tonnage, length,
and destination (it not Geneva or Minntac); loading point; date
WESTBOUND ORE TRAINS
Gilluly,
Utah. DRGW, 1534 MSTas 1MNGVC-06
SP 8100, 8298. 9804, 9805, 105 loads. 13,739 tons.
Loaded at Minntac 11/04,
Split for
grades,
tirst half at
Wolcort. Colorado. DRGW, 1557 MSTas 1MNGVC-07
SP 8110. 8114, 8148, 52 loads. 6805 tons, 2927 feet.
Second half about 10 miles behind at
Avon. Colorado. DRGW, 1554 MST as 2MNGVC-07.
SSW 8326, SP 8620, 8651 , 8307, 52 loads, 6813 tons,
2980 feet.
Loaded at Minntac 11/05.
1
<a
20 miles east of Horace. Kansas. DRGW
(rights
on UP).
1700CSTas2MNGVC-07,
SP 8119, 9189. WC 6520, SP 8138, 107 loads, 13,979 tons,
5884 feet
Loaded at Minntac 11/06.
Jefferson
City,
Missouri. SP
(rights
on
UP),
1 650 CST as
1MNGVC-09,
SP 8133, 8158, 8143, 100 loads, 12,990 tons, 5480 feet
Loaded at Mintac 11/08.
North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Shops Yard, WC, 1700 CST,
as SPLD-09, receiving
1000-mile
inspection.
SP 8117, 8118, 8136, 92 loads, 11,849 tons.
Loaded at Minntac 11/09. Will become SP 1MNGVC-10
Last coal hauled was from Pacific Basin Resources Somerset
Mine, Somerset. Colorado, tor Marblehead Lime c/o KCBX
Terminal, BRC
Clearing Yard, Chicago,
as 1TCCHC-01 .
Loading
at Minntac, Minnesota. DMIR. 1600 CST
SP 8129. 8122, 9800, 93 cars
Last coal hauled was from Mt. Gunnison No 1 mine for
Cahokia Marine, Sauget, Illinois, for TVA
(via barge),
then
moved as
empties
ESMNC-06. Delivered to WC at BRC
Clearing Yard, Chicago,
0215 CST. 11/08
GENEVA ORE TRAINS
AT 1700
CST,
NOVEMBER
10,
1994
LOCOMOTIVE TYPES
SP6700'S-SD40T-2R
8100's -C44-9W
8600's
-
SD40M-2
9100's-SD45-2
9800's
-
SD70M
SP/SSW
8200,s-8500,s
-
SD40T-2
WC 6500's
-
SD45
300 miles
RAILROAD ABBREVIATIONS
BRC Belt
Railway of Chicago
C&IM
Chicago
& Illinois Midland
CR Conrail
DMIR Duluth, Missabe & Iron
Range
DRGW Denver & Rio Grande Western
(SP Lines)
IC
PAL
ssw
SP
UP
WC
linois Centra
Paducah & Louisville
Cotton Belt (St. Louis Southwestern, SP Lines)
Southern Pacific
Union Pacific
Wisconsin Central
at least 2.6 million tons of
pelletized
iron ore a
year
from Minntac.
This
stunning
announcement left UP with
just
2 1 5,000 tons a
year
of
natural ore from southern Utah.
How could Southern Pacific and Wisconsin Central win the Ge
neva ore business, worth at least $50 million a
year
in revenue, from
UP and C&NW? Their route is 600 miles
longer.
SP crosses two
major
mountain
ranges,
the Rockies at Tennessee Pass, 10,221
feet
above sea level, and the Wasatch at Soldier Summit, 7440
feet,
with
westbound
ruling grades
of 1 .4
percent
and 2.4
percent, respective
ly.
UP crosses modest
northerly
extensions of both, at altitudes of
At
Minturn,
crews
change
on
1TCCHC-27, carrying
coal from Terror
Creek, Colo.,
to
Chicago
8013 and 7230
feet,
with a westbound
ruling grade
of 0.82
percent.
Clearly,
UP needs fewer locomotives and less fuel to do the same
job,
and
considering
its shorter
route, has faster
cycle
times and
requires
fewer trainsets.
Clearly,
it costs C&NW-UP less than WC-SP to haul
pellets
to Geneva.
What's the difference? In a word: coal. SP has it to fill the
hop
pers,
once
they're emptied
of
taconite, and UP does not.
In the
early
1980's, there were 10
large
coal mines
along
the UP
main in southern
Wyoming.
Most of these mines are idle now,
though,
their coal too far beneath the surface to
compete
on a cost
basis in the Midwest with northeastern
Wyoming's
Powder River Basin coal. When
Commonwealth Edison switched to Powder
River mines in 1993, UP was faced with
deadheading
the
empty hoppers
from Gene
va to the Basin for
reloading.
Instead, UP
gave up
the reload.
"When I heard
they gave up
the
backhaul,
I said, 'I've
got
it!'
"
says
John
Carey,
assistant
vice-president, marketing
for WG.
Carey,
who left C&NW to
join
the
big regional
when it started
up
in
1987, had
helped put
together
the 1983 Geneva move
[see page
38].
"I knew all we had to do was wait for the
UP-C&NW contract to end."
Carey
set
up
a
meeting
in
June 1993 in
Chicago
with
Kathy
Bostick, SP's
managing
director, metals and ores, and a second meet
ing
in November with Bostick and Shannon
Courage,
SP's director of ferrous metals and
40
TRAINS
MINNTAC
Ore loader
MINNESOTA
^y
DuluthvQ Superior
&
E>
E>
EMPTY
E>
EASTBOUND COAL OR EMPTIES
Pueblo. Colorado. DRGW
(rights
on UP).
0730 CST as
1TCCHC-08
SP 8131.8112. 8340. 105 loads. 13,370 tons
Loaded at Somerset Mine, for KCBX, Chicago,
tor Wisconsin
Electric via
barge
Kansas
City,
Missouri. SP (rights
on UP). 1610 CST, as
1VCSHC-07
SP 8139, 8124. 8103, 92 loads. 11.981 tons, en route to TVA
Shawnee Steam Plant. Chiles, Kentucky.
Loaded at Commonwealth Coal White Oak Mine,
Valcam. Utah 11/07
Out of East St. Louis, Illinois. SP, 1 130 CST. as 1VCKIC-06.
SP 8144, 8140, WC 6512, 104 loads, 13,602 tons, 5709 feet.
Loaded at Commonwealth Coal White Oak Mine, Valcam, Utah.
1 1/06 for Commonwealth Edison Kincaid Plant, Kincaid,
Illinois, via C&IM Spnngfield,
Illinois.
Benton, Illinois. IC. 1425 CST, as 1CVSHC-06
SP8147, 8101,8146,9801. 105 loads. 13,690 tons En route
to TVA Shawnee Steam Plant.
Loaded at Cyprus Orchard Valley Mine, Converse, Colo. 11/06.
Provo, Utah. DRGW, 1600 MST for
cleaning.
Released from
Geneva at 0540 MST. Last moved as 1MNGVC-04, 106 loads,
1 3,845 tons. 5539 feet. Will reposition to Acco, Utah, to load
as 1CPCHC, at
Co-Op Mining Co., Bear Canyon No 1 Mine,
for
delivery
to KCBX, Chicago.
Chiles, Kentucky. IC. 1610 CST, Eastbound empties, with
SP 8137, WC 6506, SP 8134, 8107. Last coal hauled (105
loads, 13,661 tons, 5504 feet) was from West Elk Resources
Mt. Gunnison Mine No 1 , Arco, Colo . to TVA Shawnee Steam
Plant as 1ARSHC-05.
Out ot East St. Louis, Illinois. Eastbound empties. SP. 1520
CST as 4GVMNC-07 with
SP 8126. 8109. 6770, 106 cars, 3232 tons, 5802 feet
Last coal hauled was from Mt Gunnison No 1 to TVA
Shawnee as 1ARSHC-04.
Stevens Point. Wisconsin. Eastbound empties about 10
miles east of town. WC. 1600 CST as SPEM-09. with
SP 8145, 8247, 8574, 1 19 cars. 3695 tons Last coal hauled
was from Arco to Chiles, Kentucky,
delivered to IC at East St.
Louis 1 1/06. returned 1 1/08. moved as SPs 1 GVMNC-31 to
Chicago.
103 empties. 3206 tons. 5360 feet.
ores. Based on his
experience
with all-rail ore moves,
Carey
con
vinced them that WC and SP could win the contract.
"I told them UP had lost their
ability
to
compete," says Carey.
"They
had too
many empty
miles. SP has
plenty
of excellent coal on
line which could be sold in the Midwest. When
you program
in low
ered
transportation
costs,
that coal is
highly competitive.
And the
way you
lower
transportation
costs is to reduce
empty
miles,
by
loading
the coal into
hoppers
that
brought
ore west."
"At first,
I
thought
we had
perhaps
a five
percent
chance of win
ning
this contract from UP-C&NW,"
says
Bostick. "We knew the
only way
we could do it was with a coal reload. We
began
with de
tailed research into Geneva's needs,
and how UP had met them.
Geneva needed
delivery consistency.
The ore trains had to arrive on
a
regular
schedule. We realized that
by assigning
locomotives and
hoppers
to Geneva, we could
provide
that."
The secret to
winning
the contract was not to think of a head-
haul of taconite which
happens
to backhaul coal, but as two
sepa
rate movements which use the same cars. SP's Rio Grande
taps
rich
coal resources in Colorado and Utah. Most of it is
"super compli
ance" coal
(less
than 0.5
percent
sulfur), which meets the
recently
stiffened
requirements
ofthe Clean Air Act. It is
high
Btu, low mois
ture, and low ash coal attractive to Midwestern
power plants
which must convert from
high-sulfur
local coal or install
expensive
pollution-control equipment.
Nevertheless, Powder River Basin coal
has most of the Midwestern market, because it is
inexpensive
to
mine,
selling
for as little as $3.50
per
ton at the mine versus SI 5
per
ton and
up
for Colorado and Utah coal.
On the other hand, the coal trains that flow east from the Powder
River Basin return
empty. By filling
its westbound cars with taconite,
SP could reduce its rate and make its coal
competitive.
Now all SP
had to do was find customers for about 3 million tons ol coal a
year.
In
early
1994, SP
requested proposals
from coal customers in the
Midwest,
principally power plants, asking
them to bid on rate, vol
ume,
and term. "We sent out all these bids, and
nothing happened,"
says
Bill
Berry,
SP's
managing
director of coal.
"Then,
10
days
before
they
were due,
they
started to flood in. When we counted them
up,
there were 1 15
proposals.
We had received bids for 15 million tons
a
year!"
These were narrowed to
approximately
8 million tons a
year,
of
which about 3 million tons were bid at attractive rates for mines and
s si v t hlrn pacific: rich Carlson
Working
with WC and Geneva was SP's team (from left): Bill
Berry,
Darrell
Luther, Kathy Bostick,
Shannon
Courage,
and Bob Perko.
MARCH 1
9 9 5
41
WC: More ore than paper?
John
Carey is on a
personal quest:
to make his
employer,
Wisconsin Central, a
bigger
ore carrier than a
paper
carrier.
"You'll find I don't lack for
audacity,"
he
says.
From its
startup
in
1987, WC attributed 60
percent
of its annual
carloadings
to the
paper industr)',
but even
then,
Carey predicted
that iron ore
would
someday
be WC's No. 1
commodity.
"Not too
many peo
ple
took me
seriously
then,"
he
says.
WC now
says
the
paper
industry represents
"more than half its
carloadings.
The new WC entered the all-rail ore business in 1987 to
sup
ply pellets
to steel mills
during
winter, when the Great Lakes
freeze
up, putting
a
stop
to ore-boat traffic. In 1989 the Missabe
Road, WC, and Conrail handled 17 ore trains from Minntac to
the
Edgar
Thomson Works of U.S. Steel
(USX)
in
Pittsburgh,
via
WC from
Superior,
Wis.,
to
Chicago.
This worked so well that
the
following
winter, USX asked for 65 more trains.
In winter 1990, Inland
Steel used Missabe Road,
WC, and
Chicago
& North
Western to haul 2200 car
loads of
pellets
from Minn
tac across northern Wis
consin to C&NW's dock at
Escanaba, Mich., and lake
boats to Inland's mill in In
diana Harbor, Ind. WC had
to
reopen parts
of its Cam
eron
(Wis.)-Hermansville
(Mich.)
route for the trains.
The line remained
open
in
its
entirety,
and
gold
and
copper
ore mined near La-
dysmith,
Wis., now moves
across it to Canada. Fur
ther, in
early
1994 Inland
agreed
to a similar
three-year
con
tract for 8000 annual carloads
from the Minorca
(Minn.) pellet
plant
to Escanaba.
At about the same time, Armco
Steel contracted for
eight
105-car
taconite trains from the Fairlane
(Minn.) pellet plant
for its mill at
Middletown, Ohio,
via Missabe,
WC, and CSX. In March 1994,
Wierton Steel
signed up
for all-rai
ore from Palmer, Mich., to Weir
ton, W.Va.,
via C&NW, WC,
and
Conrail.
USX's Fairfield Works in
Birmingham,
Ala.,
began using
all-
rail ore moves
year-round
in 1992. This contract, which lasts
until 1997, calls for an
every-other-day
train via Missabe, WC,
CSX,
and
Birmingham
Southern. USX's
Gary
(Ind.)
Works has
also received a few all-rail trains via WC,
and in fall 1994,
it
began
accepting
natural-ore trains from the Auburn Mine on Min
nesota's Mesabi
Range.
These trains
employ
six sets of 100 to 1 22
compact
DM&IR ore
jennies. Algoma
Central
Railway,
the Ca
nadian
regional
road which WC is
acquiring,
hauls sintered iron
ore down from Wawa, Ontario, to
Algoma
Steel at Sault Ste.
Marie, Ont. And AC's unrelated steel
company
namesake
may
Thanks to John
Carey (top)
and
colleagues,
meets on WC
with ore trains
(above,
at
Rugby Junction) are common.
begin receiving
Minnesota and
Michigan pellets
via WC as well.
"My
whole orientation is to make the steel
companies
and the
ore
companies
more
profitable, by lowering
their cost to
ship
iron ore,"
says Carey.
The Geneva contract was a
huge opportunity
for WC. "We
were
willing
to do whatever it took to win this contract,"
he
says.
"Supply power,
cars,
you
name it. SP was
extremely easy
to work
with."
"It was a lot of work to
put together," says
SP's
Kathy
Bostick,
"But it's fun when
everyone, especially
the customer,
comes out
a winner."
In 1994, WC handled more than 32,000
carloads of iron ore,
vs. 3000 carloads in 1991, and for 1995,
Carey
forecasts 84,000!
Geneva Steel alone
represents
one of
every
10 carloads of
every
thing
handled on WC. So it
appears
that in 1995 WC
may
well
haul more ore than
paper.
There is no secret to
gaining
the all-rail ore business,
says
Carey, only
teamwork
among
railroads. "If we share and share
alike, we'll establish business no one can take
away.
If someone
gets greedy, you might
have the business in the short
term,
but
eventually
someone will take it
away."
"WC is a
very progressive,
innovative
company," says
Dave
Skillings,
editor of
Skillings' Mining
Review. "That is what has
got
them this business."
It is
possible
that more and
more ore business will move all-
rail, to avoid transit losses inherent
in boat
transportation.
Each time a
pellet
is
handled, small
particles
of
ore, called
"fines,"
are rubbed off.
They
either
disappear
en route or
are blown out of the blast furnace
by
the
high-velocity
air blast, re
sulting
in extra costs to the steel
mill to recover the fines and re
process
them.
"You can lose 1 0 to 15
percent
of
your pellets
to fines
by
trans-
loading," says Carey.
"It's caused
by multiple handling.
First
you
dump
the
pellets
into an ore car.
Then
you dump
them into a car
dumper.
Then
they
fall onto a con
veyor.
Then
they
fall into an ore
pocket,
and fall down into the hold
of an ore boat. The vessel uses a
whole series of
conveyors
to unload
the
pellets.
And so on. The cus
tomer is
paying
for 100
percent
ofthe
pellet
and
getting maybe
90
percent."
Great Lakes ore boats are not
likely
to
go away
soon, howev
er. "Vessels are
relatively cheap transportation
for iron
ore,"
says
Skillings,
"so
cheap
that there are vessel moves that make the Ge
neva move look
very
small, such as from Saldanha
Bay,
South
Africa, to Kobe,
Japan,
about 10,000 miles. There will be
gradual
growth
for all-rail ore
moves, but there will
always
be
pellets
moving
on the lakes. To
expand
all-rail ore
moves, railroads
must look for coal backhauls. That will
get
them the business."
Mark
Hemphill
42
TRAINS
power plants
on-circuit
(or
close to
it)
for the taconite trains.
"Now we had a
package," says
Bostick. "But could we sell it to
Geneva Steel?
They
had a
long history
with UP."
THE
ART OF MOUNTAIN RAILROADING: At 6:54
a.m.,
your
tac train
stops
at Tennessee
Pass,
where the tem
perature
is a
frosty
28
degrees.
On the other side of the
Arkansas
valley,
14,421 -foot Mount Massive flushes with the
pink
glow
of dawn. Conductor Brazil
pulls
on his
gloves
and
begins
walk
ing
back
along
the
train,
turning
the
retaining
valves on the
hoppers
to the
"High
Pressure"
position
as he
goes.
After he reaches the
end,
he crosses the
track,
and returns on the other
side,
turning up
the
retainers he could not reach earlier. At 7:23, he climbs back on the
second unit and radios to
Jim
that
you're ready
to leave.
Jim
throt
tles
up
for the last few feet to the
summit,
at the east
portal
of the
2550-foot tunnel. On the other side: the 21
-mile,
2396-foot descent
to
Minturn, much of it on a 3
percent grade,
the
longest steep
main
line
grade
in the U.S. and Canada.
Now,
despite
the
long night, you
are awake with interest.
Going
up
a 3
percent grade
is
simply
a matter of
horsepower
and remem
bering
to take the throttle out ofthe
eighth
notch at the
top. Going
down is an
altogether
different
proposition.
Your train enters the Tennessee Pass tunnel
just
before 7 a.m. As
soon as the train balances the
apex,
Jim
switches to
dynamic braking
and makes two successive 10-lb. reductions
("sets")
in the train air,
allowing
the brake
pipe
to
recharge
between each reduction. A
minute later the train
emerges
onto the 3
percent
in
deep
shadows.
SP's rules
require any
train
descending
Tennessee Pass whose cars
average
100 tons or more to use retainers, and to
obey
a
15-mph
speed
limit. You
glance
at the
speedometer:
it shows 15.
"We use what is called
short-cycle braking," says
Don. "The idea
is to let the
dynamic braking
do as much work as
possible,
and con
trol the
speed by making
successive sets and releases ofthe train air,
each time
waiting
for the brake
pipe
to recover to 90
pounds
before
you
make another set. That
way you
can use
your
air to maintain a
15-mph speed
limit on the
steep
stretches, and release
your
air to
get
over the flat
spots."
Dynamic braking
doesn't do all the work
on mountain
grades?
"Not
hardly," says
Don.
"By
themselves
the
dynamic
brakes
provide perhaps
half of
your braking
effort. To avoid excessive buff
ing
forces, SP limits the total amount of
dynamic braking
on the head end to 24 axles.
Since we count these new GE's as
eight
axles
each, because of their
high-capacity dynamic
braking,
we've isolated the
dynamics
on the
541 1.
Right
now, it's
along
for the ride."
"These new units have excellent
dynamic
brakes," adds
Jim.
"But don't let that fool
you you
can't make full use of them at this
speed
because of wheel
slip. Right
now I'm
pulling
700
amps
out of 900
possible
on the
dynamic
brakes. At 700
amps, they
hold.
They probably
won't at 900."
He increases the
dynamic braking slightly
and the units
begin
to
slip,
the ammeter
wavering wildly
as the GE's scramble for
footing.
"You see," confirms Jim,
"I tried more
and
they
started to
slip."
After about 15 seconds the units stabilize
at 800
amps
of
dynamic braking.
"An SD40,"
says
Don, "is limited to 700
amps
of
dynamics.
These units are rated at 900
amps,
and the new
A.C. units we're
getting
next
spring
will
give
wm 1200. Some
people
think that the
high-capacity dynamic
brakes on these new units will
do
anything,
but at slow
speeds
on adverse rail conditions, wheel-
slip
defeats the
high-capacity dynamics."
"Particularly
on rail
greasers,"
adds
Jim.
"The wise
thing
is to rec
ognize
that
you
cannot
rely
on
dynamics.
It
they stop working, you'd
better have
your
air under control."
What do the retainers do?
Don
flips
over a track bulletin and draws a
picture
for
you.
"The retainers hold back the air
pressure
in the brake
cylinders,
then
very slowly
release it to the
atmosphere. Right
now the brake
cylinders
have about 40 to 50
pounds
in them. When
you
have the
retainers in the
high-pressure position,
which is what we
always
use,
they
retain the last 20
pounds
of air
pressure,
so that
you always
have
some amount of train brakes
working,
no matter what."
Why
not run the taconite train in one
piece
from Pueblo to
Minturn?
Don smiles. "That was an
early proposal
for these trains, to cut in
a four-unit
swing helper
at Pueblo and run it in one
piece
all the
way
west. The
problem
is that with a
long
train,
short-cycling
will not
work. Think ofthe brake line as a
signal
line. When Jim makes a
reduction in the air, it sends a
signal
to the brake valves on
every
car
in the train to send air into the brake
cylinders, applying
the brakes.
When he releases the air, it sends another
signal
to
every
car to
release the air in the brake
cylinders
to
atmosphere,
and the loco
motive's air reservoirs and air
compressors begin recharging
the
train air line to its
original 90-pound pressure.
"But the
signal
takes some time to
propagate
to the rear end of a
105-car train. If
you're short-cycling,
the cars at the rear ot the train
are
reacting
to
your
reduction
just
about the time
you're thinking
about
making
a release. So the cars in the front ot the train do all the
work. In
addition, the
helper
locomotives don't
recharge
the brake
line. If
you
need to make another set before
your
train line has
fully
recovered to 90
pounds, you
will have less and less air to work with
each time, and
pretty
soon
you
have
nothing
left but the
emergency.
H N D . s ( I 14 1 1 O
At
Ocoya, III., amid the cornfields
along
old Route
66,
WC SD45's roll Geneva ore south on SP.
MARCH
1995
43
"We had better
opportunities
for the cars
and locomotives,"
says
one UP source. "We
could have taken the
empties
into the Pow
der River Basin for
reloading,
but it was too
complicated,
too difficult to coordinate, and
had too
many empty
miles in the circuit."
"It's the rate that did it,"
says
David Skil
lings,
editor of
Skillings' Mining
Review,
which has
reported
on iron-ore
mining
and
transportation
since 1912. "You can do
any
thing
if
you
have the rate."
"UP told us we're
taking
a
big
risk
by
going
with SP,"
says Rupp,
"but we felt the
economics made it a
very
worthwhile risk.
"Mr.
Moyers [Edward
L.
Moyers,
SP's
CEO]
became
personally
involved, and that
impressed
us, as well as his
reputation
with
the Illinois Central. He
gave
us his
personal
commitment that our iron ore would arrive
on time."
SP's service commitment included 70 lo
comotives and 14 105-car trainsets dedicated
to Geneva. In addition, SP
assigned
a full-
time coordinator to the Geneva trains,
whose
job
is to
update
Geneva
daily by phone
and
fax on the status of its
daily
ore,
triweekly
coal, and occasional unit coke trains.
"The
cooperation
has to work two
ways,
however," comments
Rupp.
"The
shipper
has to realize what the railroad can and can't
do.
By
the same token, railroads have to real
ize that
nothing
is
captive anymore."
WC and SP had won the contract. On
September
1, 1994, Geneva would
expect
SP
to
begin delivering
24 trainloads of iron ore
a month and on
specified days
between
noon and 3
p.m.
D
At
any given time,
two of Geneva's three blast furnaces
(top)
are
running,
the molten iron
pouring
into hot-metal cars for the short move to the
Q-BOP
furnace for conversion into
steel. In a coil
shipping building (above),
a crane adds the last
30,000-lb.
roll to an SP car.
And
you
don't ever want to
get
that far down in the brake
pipe,
not
on this mountain." The
runaway
on November 22, 1994
[see
"Ob
servations"]
is
ample
evidence of what can
happen.
NOTHING
IS CAPTIVE: "Yes, we were concerned," said
Ralph Rupp,
Geneva Steel's
manager
of traffic, about the
change
in carriers. "Could SP come to the
party
with the
equipment
and the service?"
Rupp
went to work for Geneva in
December 1993 after
leaving
UP, where he once was
responsible
for
metals and minerals
marketing. Ironically,
his first
job
at Geneva was
to
help
decide whether SP- WC or UP-C&NW would have ( ieneva's
3-million-ton-plus
ore business for the next five
years.
"We asked each railroad to
'give
us
your
best shot',"
says Rupp.
"SP came back with the best rate. UP
simply
couldn't match it. 'Our
costs are
higher
than SP's rate,'
they
told us. Since
they
no
longer
had a backhaul, that was true."
AY
begins;
trip ends: At
the west switch of Pando
siding
the
westward absolute
signal
shows
yel
low over
red,
showing
that
your
train is
going
in the hole for its fifth meet since Pueblo.
Here the
grade
flattens out to about 1.3
per
cent as the railroad leaves the mountainside
and crosses
Eagle
Park.
Jim
brings
his units
out ot
dynamic braking
and into
power,
dragging
the train into the
siding against
the
retainers on this
relatively
level
spot.
"These Wisconsin Central cars have
very good
brakes," he
remarks. "You could almost
bring
them down this hill with a mini
mum
set, about 8 to 10
pounds
of air."
An
RVNSQ
train
emerges
from
Eagle
River
Canyon
and
charges
past,
tour SD's on the head end and four more in its
swing helper.
As
soon as the
signals
clear, Jim releases the air and lets
your
train roll
out the west end. It is 8:30. Between Pando and Red
Cliff, the line is
both
steep
and
twisty,
with 20
sharp
curves in the four miles.
Because ol the
many flange greasers, Jim
cannot use much
dynam
ic
braking.
An hour later
your
train rolls into Minturn.
Jim pulls
the train
down to the west end of the
yard,
where Bob
gets
off and
begins
knocking
down the retainers.
Jim cleans
up
8138's cab and sets the
hand brakes on the four locomotives. Don
plugs
his
laptop
com
puter
into 8138's
computer
to download a
trip report.
Bob finishes
44
TRAINS
UTAH SUCCESS STORY
Is
it A coincidence that Wisconsin Central and Geneva Steel
are almost
exactly
the same
age?
Both
represent
success sto
ries in their
respective
industries.
After World War
II, the federal
government
had no further
need for
Geneva,
so it sold the mill to U.S.
Steel for $47.5 million on
June 19, 1946.
USS
spent
over $75 million
by
the late
1950's to convert the mill to a
peacetime
product line,
and to
expand
its
capacity.
Under U.S. Steel
ownership,
about 80
percent
of Geneva's
output, mostly
hot-
rolled
coil,
went to the
company's large
finishing
mill at
Pittsburg,
Calif.,
where it
was cold-rolled to make automobile and
appliance
steel and
tinplate.
Given U.S. Steel's
capacity
cutbacks in
the
1980's, and the severe
competitive
pressure
from
foreign
steel on the West
Coast, Geneva and
Pittsburg
had no fu
ture. U.S. Steel had not invested in the
mills since the 1950's and estimated that
Geneva alone would
require
a $1 billion
modernization
program.
In
January
1986,
USS entered into a
joint
venture with
Pohang
Iron & Steel of South
Korea,
un
der which
Pohang
would invest $300 mil
lion to modernize the
Pittsburg
mill and
supply
its hot-rolled steel needs. This
would leave Geneva without a customer.
When its
employees
went on strike that
summer,
the end seemed to be near.
Instead, two Utah
attorneys, Joseph
Cannon and Robert
Grow,
saw an
opportunity.
Geneva had been U.S. Steel's second-
most-profitable
mill and had the second-lowest
production
costs
in the entire
industry. They
also
thought
that U.S. Steel's $1 bil
lion modernization estimate was about $650 million too
high.
After a Herculean effort,
they
lined
up financing
to
purchase
Ge
neva,
doing
so on
August
31, 1987,
for $44.1 million. With an
New owners saw an
opportunity
at Geneva.
agreement
from the union to reduce
wages,
the mill
began ship
ping
steel
again
the next month. Geneva has turned a
profit every
year
since it
reopened except
1992 and 1993. Its
employees
re
ceive
profit-sharing
and
production
bonuses, which at times have
been substantial.
Since 1987 Geneva has invested,
or is
scheduled to invest, about $350 million to
modernize. Two
Q-BOP
basic
oxygen
furnaces,
purchased
at a
steep
discount
from a mill shut down
by Republic
Steel,
replaced
the 10 inefficient and
polluting
open-hearth
furnaces. A $154 million
continuous caster
replaced
inefficient in
got casting.
Extensive
pollution
controls
brought
the mill into full
compliance
with
environmental
regulations.
Today,
Geneva Steel is the
only
inte
grated
steel mill i.e.,
fully equipped
to
make finished steel from iron ore, coal,
and limestone west ofthe
Mississippi.
About 90
percent
of Geneva's
output
is
hot- rolled coil and
plate,
the rest is weld
ed seam steel
pipe.
About 58
percent
ot its
steel is sold east ofthe
Rocky
Mountains,
37
percent
in the 1 1 Western states, and 5
percent exported
to Canada and Mexico.
Geneva
expected
to
produce
almost 2
million tons of finished steel in 1994, and
more in 1995.
Interestingly,
Geneva rebid its out
bound steel business in late 1993. When
the bids were
opened,
Union Pacific won
only
those carloads
going
to the Pacific Northwest and to a few Great Plains states.
Southern Pacific won the rest, about 70
percent
of Geneva's
pro
duction. SP has also won the bid to haul unit trains of
imported
coke from
Richmond, Calif., to Geneva, and handles all Gene
va's coal needs. Geneva is now one of SP's
largest
customers, if
not the
largest.
Mark
HempJiill
with the retainers and ties down car hand brakes to hold the train
on the 1.2
percent descending grade.
A carman arrives with a van to
take
everyone
back to SP's Minturn hotel. After
washing up,
it's
breakfast time.
THE
PLAN: Since there was not sufficient time for SP to
round
up
the
required
14 trainsets, WC
agreed
to
provide
574 cars,
consisting mostly
of former Clinchfield and BN
steel
hoppers
(not
relettered
except
for WC initials) until
January
1995, when WC would need them for
resumption
of all-rail ore
moves to
Birmingham,
Ala.,
with Missabe Road and CSX. Bv that
time SP would have
enough
new aluminum cars on the
property
to
dedicate 1500 100-ton
quad
steel
hoppers
to Geneva. Built for
D&RGW, these are
rugged
Bethlehem cars, what old Rio Grande
employees
call "the Great Steel Fleet."
Aluminum
hoppers
will not be used tor taconite because the
pel
lets' abrasion and
electrolytic
reaction ofthe iron and aluminum
would
rapidly damage
the cars.
WC
provides
its share ofthe
power
with 12 SD45's
equipped
with
Q-Tron,
a
computerized wheelslip
control
system.
WC
gave
the units to SP as tree-runners. SP delivers whole trainsets, with
power,
to WC at
Clearing, drawing
on its 100 C44-9W's
plus
SD's as
needed, which
may incidentally
include the WC 45's. When SP's GE
AC44CW"s arrive in 1993,
they
are to
supersede
the Dash 9's.
In
theory,
three Dash 9's will handle each taconite train from
Pueblo to Minntac and back,
though
in the winter months WC
may
add a fourth unit or a
pusher
on loaded ore trains to overcome the
almost 1
percent ruling grades
on Hawthorne Hill out of
Superior
and
Byron
Hill out of Fond du Lac,
respectively.
An SD
accompanies
the three 8 1 00's as a fourth unit from Pueblo to Geneva and back. In
addition, the train is
split
at Pueblo,
using
four SD's on the second
section, and reunites at Minturn or Glenwood
Springs. Ideally,
these
tour SD's are one ot Minturn's
helper
sets, which
help
a coal train
east to Kobe, then run
light
to Pueblo, fuel, and return to Minturn
with the second section.
At
Helper,
Utah, a six- unit
helper
set, all SD's, cuts in ahead of
one halt ot its
tonnage rating
for the 2.4
percent ruling grade
to Sol
dier Summit. Fhis set remains cut in down the west
slope
to Castil-
la, lot extra
dynamic braking
on the
long
2
percent
descent.
The locomotives are fueled at WC's
Shops
Yard in North Fond
march
1995
45
du Lac, SP's Armourdale Yard in Kansas
City,
Kans., Pueblo, and
Provo,
and 1000-mile
inspections
are
performed
at
Shops,
Armour-
dale, and Provo. Each train is scheduled for a 14.1
-day
turnaround.
Contractors clean the
empty hoppers
at
Shops
and Provo,
using
vacuum
equipment
to remove all leftover
pellets
and coal. About 40
to 50
pounds
of
pellets
can remain in the
hoppers,
even
though they
are turned
completely upside
down at Geneva, and for obvious rea
sons
power plants
do not
appreciate
iron marbles in their boilers or
coal-handling machinery.
Furthermore, coal
remaining
in a car after
it is
dumped represents
lost
pellet capacity.
Missabe Road is a
party
to the Geneva contract, but
provides
no
locomotives or cars,
only
a crew.
( WC and Missabe have an
ongoing
motive-power exchange
related to other ore trains see
page
38.)
Missabe's 2- or
3-person
crew boards the
empty
train at Steelton and
returns the loaded train there about 101/: hours later. UP also han
dles the ore trains, on three stretches where SP runs
by trackage
rights:
St. Louis- Kansas
City (customarily
via the River Line between
lefferson
City
and K.C); K.C, Kans.
-Topeka;
and
Herington,
Kans.-
Pueblo. The latter is on a contract basis
dating
to the UP-Missouri
Pacific- Western Pacific
merger
of
1983,
when UP
gave
Rio Grande
rights
from Pueblo to Kansas
Cit}'
as a
merger
condition. The Mis
souri
leg,
also
merger-related,
is in lieu of SP
using
the old Rock
Island line across Missouri, most of which is abandoned. The K.C-
Topeka portion
is historic Rock Island
rights.
"It's a collaborative effort, but at this
end,
Minntac is the
prime
driver,"
says
Tim
Kelly,
WC's assistant
vice-president, transporta
tion. "Minntac
prefers
to load in
daylight,
but will load around the
From the head
end, Royal Gorge's suspension bridge
and D&RGW
hanging bridge.
clock. We shoot for a 60-hour turnaround
Chicago
to Minntac to
Chicago,
but that can
vary
in bad weather."
By early August
1994, UP and C&NW had fulfilled their Geneva
contract. Geneva was
increasing production
because of a
strong
economy,
and needed more
pellets.
Could WC and SP start
early?
They
could. Their first train loaded at Minntac
August
19, and
by
September
1,10
trains had loaded. The contract
initially
called for 20
trains a month (2.6
million tons
per year),
to increase to 30
(3.7
mil
lion tons)
by
1996. But demand for steel
proved
better than Geneva
had
predicted,
and in
early September
it asked SP and WC to
increase to 25 trains a month, and to 29
beginning
in November. As
a result, the
anticipated
14.1
-day
turnaround
cycle
had to be
trimmed for several trainsets, and a few have returned
empty
to
Minntac.
ELPING,
HELPING: At the Minturn crew office,
Bill
Morrow,
road foreman of
engines,
takes a moment to
greet you.
"We have an eastbound coal train called for 10:30 a.m." Grin
ning
because he knows that
you
have been
up
all
night,
he
asks, "Do
you
want to ride it?" A bed sounds
very
attractive
right
now. On the
other hand,
that would mean the return to Pueblo would also be at
night.
Besides, a 14,000-ton
coal train with two
helpers
is the train to
ride over Tennessee Pass, and it still leaves
you
an hour for breakfast.
You'll be there.
Morrow watches over four 4-unit
helper
sets
(mostly
Rio Grande
SD40T-2's and
SD50's),
six
helper
crews, and a small mechanical
staff. All eastbounds receive a
swing helper
for the 3
per
cent climb from Minturn.
They're
so named because
they
cut into the train ahead of one half of their
tonnage
rat
ing,
so the train
swings
on them as if
they
were a
hinge.
Because ofthe
1.38-percent ruling grade
east from
Glenwood
Springs
to
Minturn,
a
helper
must meet the
coal trains at Glenwood.
Ideally,
there will be two sections
of a taconite train
descending
Tennessee at the same time
an eastbound coal train leaves Grand
Junction.
That
way,
the tac train can be reassembled on flat track at Glenwood
instead of on the
grade
at
Minturn, and it
positions
four
SD's from the tac train's second section to become a
helper
for the coal train. But it does not
always
work out
so
neatly,
and
today
one of Bill's
precious helper
sets has
run west
light
to Glenwood. This
helper
cuts in ahead of
17 cars to become a rear
helper.
When the coal train arrives at Minturn, a second
helper,
the
swing,
cuts in behind 55 cars. Thus the rear
helper pulls
1 7 cars and
pushes
1 6, the
swing helper pulls
17 and
pushes
16, and the head end
pulls
39 cars. The rear
helper
cuts out at Tennessee Pass, and returns
light
to
Minturn, and the
swing helper
cuts out at
Kobe, and
either returns
light
to Minturn or runs
light
to Pueblo to
meet a westbound tac train.
During
winter, the
swing
helper may
continue east to Princeton or
Nathrop.
In
very
cold weather, the coal trains are
split
in two at Grand
Junction,
and recombined at Pueblo.
'
O MUCH
COAL,
SO FEW CARS: "The trick
% to
my job,"
says
Bob Perko, SP's
manager
of coal
^10 car distribution and
logistics,
"is to
always
have a
plan
. . . and be able to revise it at a moment's notice."
Perko is SP's man on the
spot.
His
job
is a balance SP's
supply
of
empty hoppers
with the
ability
ofthe mines to
load coal, with the needs of customers for
coal, and with
the
availability
of
power
and crews. This is made more
difficult because no two mines or customers are alike.
46
TRAINS
<i *$**w*^
j
w 1
1
'*
fflMllH
JARj
[QWS
U*-d
0W
-
Hfl
Tfla\j
This customer can
only accept bottom-dumps.
That mine loads
only
on
weekdays.
And so on.
Into this
tangled
fabric Bob must weave the 14 trainsets in Gene
va ore service, while
remembering
that
they
cannot wait for a mine
for too
long,
nor can
they go
too far off-circuit,
either to a mine or
to a customer. At the same time,
every
trainset that returns to Minn
tac
empty represents
a
huge
loss of revenue for SP.
"Then the
phone rings,"
he
smiles,
"and
everything changes."
"We couldn't do this,"
says
Darell Luther, SP's
managing
direc
tor of
hoppers,
"without
huge
levels of
cooperation
from
every
one mines, customers,
marketing,
and our
operating people.
Those are the
people
who make this work. We
just
coordinate
sup
ply
and demand with
equipment
movement."
"We
got
our first taste of
reloading
several
years ago,"
recalls
Perko, "when Geneva
began buying
unit trains of
coking
coal from
mines in West
Virginia
and
Pennsylvania.
We'd reload our steam
coal in these Conrail and Norfolk Southern cars and send them
back. We liked this
very
much. It also
gave
us a feel for the
problems
inherent in a reload
operation."
As of summer 1994,
SP had 4096 coal cars in its fleet,
principal
ly
3000 ofthe Rio Grande
"great
steel fleet" and three 1 1 5-car sets
of aluminum
hoppers.
Scheduled for
delivery
in late 1994 were 500 additional steel cars
and 600 new aluminums,
plus
another 920 aluminums in
early
1995
(all
rotary quads).
This will boost the coal fleet to about 3800 cars,
with some older leased steel cars returned to their lessor.
The new aluminum cars are the
icing
ofthe Geneva contract.
Recall that SP's
request
for coal bids came back with 1 5 million tons
when SP was
looking
for
only
3, and about 8 million tons were bid
at rates attractive to SP. These 1520 new cars will handle the 5 mil
lion extra tons of coal
yearly, helping
to double SP's annual coal ton
nage
from 20 million tons in 1992 to 40 million
by
1995.
Currently,
there are 15 active coal
loading points
on SP in Utah
and Colorado, some used
by
more than one mine. Those on the
Ore loads with new GE's
up
front and and a
swing helper approach
Narrows as
they
descend Soldier Summit on Utah-SP double track.
"Moffat Line," the
Craig
branch in northwestern Colorado, are not
attractive for the tac trains because
they
are too tar off-circuit. Most
of the tac trains' coal comes from loadouts on D&RGW's North
Fork branch, east of Delta, Colo, (south and east of Grand lunction),
the CV
Spur
near Price, Utah, and the Pleasant
Valley
Branch neat-
Soldier Summit, Utah.
Similarly,
not all customers are attractive for the tac trains. Ideal
ly, they
will unload coal in southeastern
Chicago,
at the Koch Car
bon (KCBX) Rail-to-Water Transfer
facility
on the Belt
Railway
of
Chicago.
Other destinations include Commonwealth Edison's Kin
caid Plant, on
Chicago
& Illinois Midland 20 miles outside
Spring
field, III.; and Northern Indiana Public Senice (NIPSCO) Schahfer
Station at Wheatfield, Ind., 60 miles southeast of
Chicago
via Con
rail. Others are not so close to SP two Tennessee
Valley Authority
plants
175 miles from St. Louis in the Paducah
(Ky.
) area via Illinois
Central, at Chiles (west on IC) and
Jessup
(east on Paducah &
Louisville).
Incidentally,
whether the train is destined for P&L or
IC,
C&IM or BRC, the SP diesels run
through.
Despite
these somewhat "off-circuit" destinations, the coal trains
must make their
cycle
time, and no matter what, Geneva's
pellets
must arrive on time.
"So tar," said Geneva's
Rupp
on
September
10, 1994, with a
very
serious
expression,
"SP has hit our 3-hour window
only
once." Then
he
grins.
"The rest ot the time
they've
been
early!"
A month later, he was still
pleased.
"It's
working
well at this
point."
1
MARK W. HEMPHILL, a Colorado native and onetime
Alaskan,
now
lives in
Champaign,
///., where he is an MD-PhD student in the Med-
ical Scholars
Program
at tlie
University of
Illinois,
researching
the his
torv
oj
railroad
surgeons
and
hospitals.
This is his sixth Trains
byline.
MARCH
1995 47
Chicago
Short Line
rolls with the
punches
and thrives
By Paui D. Schneider
Photos by the author
Perception
isn't alwavs reality. This
is
especiallv
so when it comes to the
Chicago
Short Line. The railroads
four EMD switchers are
pampered
and
pretty,
the antithesis of what
you'd
ex-
pect
from a railroad owned
by
a steel
company.
The railroads
compact
98th
Street Yard on
Chicagos
southeast side
seems
incapable
of
handling
thousands
of carloads. Even the Short Lines tuck-
pointed shop building
looks too well-
maintained to be
authentic,
resembling
a structure from a modelers lavout.
But looks are
deceiving.
Like the rail
road
itself,
Chicago
Short Lines four
locomotives work seven
days
a
week,
52
weeks a
year.
The 98th Street Yard han-
dles thousands of revenue carloads of
coil steel and
metallurgical
coke each
year.
And as for those
buildings, theyve
been a fixture since the railroad
got
its
start more than a
century ago.
A backbone of iron
Some of
Chicago
Short Lines track
age
and facilities
go
back to the
founding
of the Calumet &
Chicago
Canal & Dock
Company
(C&CC&DC)
in 1885.
Befitting
its
ungainly
name,
the
company
owned a
tract bordered
by
Lake
Michigan
on the
east,
the Calumet River on lhe north-
west,
and the main line of the Baltimore
& Ohio
(technically
the Baltimore &
Ohio
Chicago
Terminal) on the south-
west. Under its charter,
the
company
built rail facilities to serve the current
and future industries in the rea.
Incorporated
in 1900,
the
company
leased four miles of
yard
track and sid
ings
from the
adjacent Iroquois
Iron
Company. By
1919,
C&CC&DC owned
and
operated
a
whopping
7.68 miles of
track. Until 1906,
the railroad inter-
changed
traffic at connections in the
South
Chicago
District
through
track-
age-rights agreements
with the B&O.
In December
1905, C&CC&DC sold
the
Iroquois
Iron
Company
a chunk of
land for
expansion along
the lakefront.
Included was the railroad and its
right-
of-way.
There was
only
one
problem:
Ir
oquois
was a manufacturer
incorporated
under the General Laws of the State of
Illinois, which
prohibited
manufacturers
from
operating
a railroad. As a
result,
Iroquois
leased the railroad to a new
entity,
the
Chicago
Short Line. Times
changed:
between 1959 and 1962 Iro
quois
Iron successor
Youngstown
Sheet
& Tube
Company acquired
ali of CSLs
capita] stock,
returning
the road to steel-
company ownership.
A contract of sale with the Calumet,
Hammond & Southeastern Railroad al-
lowed CSL to extend into South Deer-
ing,
111. As
part
of the
deal,
CSL
picked
up rights
to a team track on the
proper-
ty
of
By-Products
Coke
Corporation,
a
predecessor
of Interlake Iron
Corpora
tion,
today part
of Acme Steel
Company.
Eventually,
this
gave
CSL the
right
to
serve the coke
plant
in South
Deering,
a
facility
still used
by
Acme Steel.
CSLs most
significant growth
carne
when
Youngstown
Sheet & Tube built
three blast fumaces at the mouth of the
Calumet River to
produce pig
iron to
supply
its steelworks at Indiana
Harbor,
near East
Chicago,
Ind. The new South
Chicago
mill
required
round-the-clock
switching by
the CSL. The
plant
sucked
in iron
ore, coal,
and
limestone,
and
expelled pig
and molten iron, ammon-
ium sulfate,
coal
chemicals,
and the
deceptively
named "coke breeze"
(fine
coke).
The CSL
interchanged
its traffic
with
neighboring Elgin,
Joliet & East-
ern, which
directly
served
Youngstowns
Indiana Harbor
plant.
One of CSLs main sources of revenue
from the South
Chicago operation
was
the
intra-plant
movement of
pig iron,
loaded
slag
ladles (to and from the cin-
der
dump),
and
empty
ladles to and
from the ladle
preparation building.
The
CSL also handled substantial
tonnages
of
slag,
used
by
some Midwestern rail
roads for track ballast.
The
operation
of
Youngstowns
South
Chicago
mill
inevitably
tied CSL to the
cyclical
economics of
steel-making.
Since the U.S. was then lhe worlds
prin
cipal producer
of steel, business condi
tions were
generally good.
But
shifting
economics in the steel
industry
were
nothing compared
to
Youngstowns
decision in the late 1960's
to end
produetion
at South
Chicago.
Ali
iron-making operations
shifted to its
Indiana Harbor
plant,
located on the
same B&OCT route that bordered CSLs
property. Steel-companv
owned or
not,
CSL,
with the
closing
of the South
Chicago plant,
faced a severe kink in its
revenue
stream,
so it exercised its
long-
standing
B&O
trackage-rights agree-
ment as a
way
to serve the Indiana Har
bor
plant.
CSLs first move there was a
mere two cars of
scrap
delivered on
July
19, 1960.
Nonetheless, that first train
established a
pattern
that
survives,
like
CSL
itself,
to this
day.
"Our main customer is LTV
Steel;
they comprise
about 95
percent
of our
business,"
says
CSL
Superintendem
Jeny Purgert.
"But were different from
the other LTV Steel
lamily
railroads in
that were outside the
plant;
we dont do
any intra-plant switching."
CSL, he
notes,
simply
connects LTV Steel and its
Class 1 carriers. "We run on the main
lines,
our crews are trained and certified
to run in those
reas,
and we also have
A CSL transfer waits at Conraifs Colehour Yard
with coiled steel bound for
Hennepin, III.,
in Jan
uary
1982. CSL uses the
yard
to
interchange
with Conrail successor Norfolk Southern.
68
March 2 00 1 Trains
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
##,28
1 T r*
ao
h \il
4ZWmi'
*
'
.-...
>
\
-
' '
:
-
yoy've got
coke
through jus
abou
everyhing."
ILLINOIS
Supervisor
of Maintenance Harold "Rosie"
Rosenquist
checks on his railroad. To switch Acme Steels
coke
plant
in South
Deering,
CSL crosses its ex-Rock Island
bridge
over the Calumet River.
our own
training
classes for the
engineer
certification rules. We have to call in for
dispatcher signals
and
clearances,
which
many intra-plant
railroads dont have to
contend with."
Not that CSL takes its
principal
cus
tomer for
granted.
"At the Indiana Har
bor Works,
we talk to LTV
yardmasters
to find out what tracks
theyd
like us to
put
the inbound coke on,"
says
train-
master Dan Real. The CSL crew asks the
LTV
yardmaster
what cars he wants
from outside the
plant, including
coke
delivered from
Indianapolis
and Pitts
burgh
in CSX's distinctive "Coke Ex
press" hopper
cars. Inbound traffic
sometimes includes
empty
coil cars
picked up
from NS. "We talk to the
yard
masters and we
give
them whatever
they
need," says
Real.
Keeping
'em
running
Between 1906 and
1930,
the Short
Line
supplemented
four 0-6-0 switchers
acquired
from the Calumet, Hammond
& Southeastern with five new 0-6-0's
from Baldwin and two 0-8-0's from Alo.
CSLs next
power
was three 1000
h.p.
Baldwin diesel switchers built in 1942.
CSL also
bought
two SWls
(one
in
1942,
the other seven
years later)
from
EMD. Seven
years
after the first diesel
arrived,
CSL retired its last two steam
engines,
0-8-0's 60 and 61.
CSL next
purchased
a
pair
of SW9's
from iron-ore carrier Duluth, Missabe &
Iron
Range,
in 1962, when the Missabe
Road was
purging
its roster of switch
ers. The
way
current
Supervisor
of
Maintenance Harold "Rosie"
Rosenquist
tells it,
CSL
kept
the Missabe units in
their
maroon-and-gold paint
because
CSL
superintendente
liked the scheme.
And sure
enough,
CSLs next locomo
tives,
two new SW9's,
were delivered in
the same
DM&IR-inspired livery.
The
new EMD's also were CSLs first units
equipped
with
multiple-unit
control,
al-
lowing
two or more switchers to be
operated together
from one cab.
M.U. control was an
option specified
on CSLs next new diesel,
an EMD
SW1500 built in 1968. With the
pur-
chase of a sister unit in 1971,
CSL sold
its Baldwins,
some of which went to
parent
YS&T
(which operated
a sizable
fleet of them at its Indiana Harbor
Works into the late
1970s).
The Short
Lines most recent new locomotives are
two SW1001 s
purchased
in 1974.
Theres a reason
why
the railroads
power
looks
pampered:
Once a
year,
usually
around Christmas,
CSL washes
and waxes ali four units. "The
original
steamers,
the railroad waxed em once a
year," Rosenquist says.
"It's
just
a tradi-
tion." No wonder the
quartet
still wears
its
original EMD-applied paint.
Mechanically, Rosenquist
has noth-
ing
but
good
to
say
about the EMD's.
"TheyVe
been
great
for
us;
I wouldn't
have
any other,"
he
says.
In 2000 the
railroad tested MK Rails
Caterpillar-
engined
MP2000D's. The Cat units
got
a
thumbs-up
from CSL, but
Rosenquist
doesn't see
parent
LTV
springing
for
new
power, particularly
in
light
of the
company
s financial woes.
In the 1960's the CSL invested in
spe-
cialized coil-steel
equipment
and
plain
gondolas
to move semi-finished steel
between Indiana Harbor and
Youngs
towns Briar Hill and
Campbell (Ohio)
facilities.
Today
CSL owns 132 100-ton
hopper cars, 50 covered coil
cars,
and
43
open-top
coil cars.
Hoppers
leased
from Helm
provide
additional
capacity
for
hauling produetion
coke. Coke
hop
per
maintenance remains a constant
battle:
"Hauling coke,
youve got
coke
acid that eats
through just
about
every-
thing," Rosenquist says.
"And the mill
damages safety appliances,
but thats
natural." With no
in-plant locomotive,
LTVs
Chicago
Coke Plant uses wheel
loaders to move coke
hoppers
around.
Bringing up
the rear of CSL trains is
one of two
cabooses, both former EJ&E
transfer hacks. For
standby service,
the
CSL
keeps
what
Rosenquist
calls an
"antique":
a
cupola-style
caboose
bought
from the Santa
Fe,
complete
with a
pot-
bellied stove. Caboose maintenance is
pretty simple, according
to
Rosenquist.
"The main
thing
with the cabooses is to
keep
fuel in
there,
so the crew can
keep
warm and cook their dinner."
70
March 2001 Trains
At LV's
sprawling
Indiana Harbor
plant,
CSL SW1500 31 and SW1001 28 use their combined 2500
horses to muscle a load of
produetion
coke from the steel
company's Chicago
Coke Plant.
What
goes around,
comes around
Rolling
stock wasn't the only
thing
changing
on the
Chicago
Short Line in
the 1960's and 70's. On
May
28, 1969,
Youngstown
Sheet & Tube
merged
with
a new
company, Lykes Youngstown
Cor
poration.
CSL became a
subsidiaiy
of
the new
firm,
but other than that,
the
merger
had little
impact
on the rail
roads
day-to-day operations.
Nineteen
years later, Jones &
Laughlin
Steel Cor
poration
and
Youngstown
Sheet & Tube
Company,
both
wholly
owned subsid-
iaries of the LTV
Corporation,
were
merged
into the new J&L
Corporation.
With the creation of the new
compa
ny,
CSL
got
thousands of additional rev
enue carloads
per year
because of a
change
in the movement of steel coils to
the J&L
facility
in
Hennepin, 111.,
west of
Streator. To reduce
transportation
costs,
the movement of
Hennepin
coils
(which
had
previously originated solely
at I&Ls
Cleveland
plant)
now could also
origi-
nate at the Indiana Harbor
plant,
a
change
that allowed CSL to
participate
in the new business.
Republic
Steel
Corporation
became
a w
liolly
owned
subsidiary
of LTV on
June 29, 1984, and five months
later,
J&L Steel
Inc.,
merged
with
Republic,
creating
the LTV
Corporation.
With the
change
in
corporate
names carne new
business for
CSL,
specifically
the move
ment of molten iron from the former
Republic
Steel mill (renamed LTVs
South
Chicago plant)
on Avenue O in
southeastern
Chicago
to the former J&L
integrated
steel
plant
at Indiana Harbor.
CSL
operated
the so-called "hot metal
trains" over
newly negotiated
Conrail
trackage rights
until LTV shut down the
South
Chicago
blast furnace in favor of
its newer basic
oxygen
furnaces at Indi
ana Harbor in
February
1986.
The
Republic-J&L merger
had anoth
er
positive
benefit: It created a new
source of blast-furnace coke in the Chi
cago
district for
consumption
at Indiana
Harbor. Before the
merger,
J&Ls
only
source of coke was
company plants
in
Pittsburgh
and
Aliquippa,
Pa. The fact
that CSL didn't
directly
serve the Chica
go
coke
plant
didnt
stop
it from
going
after the business.
Although
Conrail
served the coke
plant directly,
CSL asked
CR to broaden the
scope
of its
trackage-
rights agreement
to include movement
of coke between the two LTV facilities.
Again,
the
feisty
short line
triumphed,
and in
May
1986,
it won the
necessary
trackage rights
from Conrail. CSL uses
the so-called
"River Line" to reach the
LTV Coke Plant,
also on Avenue O.
In 1985,
li\'e
years
after the Rock
Island went out of business,
CSL
bought
approximately
five miles of ex-RI track
north of and
parallel
with East 95th
Street,
and
extending
from South Chi
cago
Avenue west
through
Pullman
lunetion to Woodlawn Avenue. The
trackage
is
part
of CSLs route to South
Deering,
the location of a coke
plant
operated by
Acme Steel.
(A
new busi
ness
gained
with the former Rock track
age
is Clear-View Plastics
Company,
maker of
among
other
things
see-
through photographic
color-slide
pages.)
CSL also uses the route for
interchange
with
Chicago
Rail
Link,
Norfolk South
ern,
and Belt
Railway
of
Chicago.
A troubled
bridge
over water
On
May
6, 1988,
a
ship
struck CSXs
bridge
across the Calumet River. Since
its start,
the former B&OCT bascule lift
TRA1NSMAG.COM
71
The 7:30 a.m.
job
backs from CSX
(B&OCT)
to a connection with LTV's Indiana Harbor Plant at Whit-
ing,
Ind. Another CSL train rumbles
past
a stone marker where B&0's
Capitol
Limited once ran.
bridge
had been criticai to CSLs
opera
tions.
Granted, CSX
predecessor
Chessie
System
had
long ago
diverted most traf
fic on the route to the former B&O
freight
line
through
Blue
Island, 111.,
but
CSL used it to reach customers and con-
nections on the west side of the river.
Eventually
the courts found CSX at
fault for
failing
to raise the
bridges
foundations and increase clearance.
Long
before that decision,
though,
CSL
gained
new
trackage rights
from Con
rail, which crossed the river on a former
Pennsylvania
Railroad
center-span
lift-
bridge just
south of the old B&O
bridge.
The Short Line
operated
over this route
until
1995,
when it built what the rail
road calls the "New Connection." This
new track ties the westbound track of
the old B&OCT main (now CSX's Lake
Subdivision) with Conrails
"Chicago
Line" main tracks at CP509, a
spot
known as River Junction on the old
Pennsy.
What started as bad news
tumed out to be
good,
inasmuch as CSL
shaved 14 miles off the
trip
to LTVs
Chicago
Coke Plant and its customers
on the west side of the river.
Today
CSL
operates
over 27 miles of
track,
but owns
only
11 miles
outright
"Presently
we move about 30,000
cars a
year,
not
including empties," says Purg-
ert. CSL in 1999 had no Federal Railroad
Administration
reportable personal
in
juries,
lost
workdays,
fatalities, or acci-
dents,
a feat noted
by
the American Short
Line and
Regional
Railroad Associations
"Jake Jacobson Award,
with Distinction."
"Thirty
thousand revenue cars thats
a lot of
freight
cars
moving
back and
forth on the rails," Purgert says.
"We
have a small workforce,
and
theyre
alert
enough
to move these cars without in
juries.
It's
important
to do it, not
only
for the
safety aspect,
but also to
keep
our
employees happy
and to be able to
go
home to their families at
night."
For some
Chicago
Short Line em
ployees, family
includes the
people they
work with. "The railroad is built in the
middle ol a suburb in the south side of
Chicago;
as a matter of
fact,
there are
residential homes
right
across the street
from our
location,"
Purgert says.
"Peo
ple
here have
grown up
in the rea. We
have a number of
employees
that have
lived across the street from the
compa
ny."
He traces this tradition to when CSL
offered
jobs
to
anyone
in the
neighbor-
hood as a
way
to
placate
homeowners
exasperated by
the smoke and cinders
from the railroads steam
engines.
Cur
rently,
the workforce is 28
employees
with an
average seniority
of more than
20
years.
"The
employees
who come here
stay
with the
railroad;
they
seem to
enjoy
it,"
says Purgert. "Being
a small railroad
we
generally
have contact with ali the
hourlv
people
on a
daily
basis. The crews
start here;
they get
their instructions
from the trainmaster
every morning.
The
aftemoon crew sees the trainmaster
before
they
take off, the maintenance
people
check in at the
shop.
It becomes
TRAINS
line
ls there
any industry
more
fascinating
than
steel, except,
of course,
railroads? This
month,
Trains Online has video
clips
of steel
making
and
steel-hauling
railroads, plus maps
and data on North America's iron ore rail
roads. For more:
www.trainsmag.com
like a
family
because these are the
peo
ple they
see
every day."
Trainmaster Dan Real
agrees
that on
the CSL,
family
counts. "We have the
best
employees;
they
might
be as
good
somewhere
else, but
nobody
is better."
As for
himself,
Real
says,
"I love
my job,
I wouldn't trade it for
anything.
I
just
think if
youre going
to work for a rail
road, this is the kind of railroad
you
want to work for. It's not too
big, you
don't have
problems
that the Class l's
have. I
mean, I
respect
what
they
do,
but
I think we do
just
as
well,
only
on a
smaller scale." I
PAUL D. SCHNE1DER
produces
Trains'
"On Location" video series. See CSL and
other railroads in his latest
produetion,
"Making
&
Moving
Sleel on the Rails."
72
M \r< ii 200 I Trains
Rails serve the blast furnaces at LTV's
Cleveland Mill in 1988. Switchers spot
the iron-ore thawing
track at
right,
and
pull
hot-metal cars at left.
B.C. Hellman
photo
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
PARTNERS NO MORE?
Have two industries ever made
sweeter music
together
than
steel-making
and
railroading?
Now it seems
they
hardly
know each other.
By Bill
Stephens
Railroads
brought everything
to Geneva Steel in 1994. Utah iron
ore,
coke from
China,
and coal from West
Virginia
await the
dumper;
coal chemicals
and hot-rolled coil marshal for
departure.
mitti
mt
'am
.
W DM
-
^
53
0*
Ever
since
they
rose to
promi
nence
together
at the dawn of
the industrial
age,
railroads
and the steel
industry
have had a
tight relationship.
You can't
get
much
closer, after
all, than steel
wheels
rolling
on steel rails.
Steelmaking
itself
plays right
to
the
strength
of the railroad: bulk
was the
towering
blast
furnace,
but
they're
disappearing:
from
nearly
300 in the U.S. and Canada
in
1950,
less than 40 melt iron ore
today.
Geneva Steel's three are
likely
done for.
1
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raw materials inbound and
large, heavy,
finished steel outbound. Railroads feed
the voracious
appetite
of
integrated
steel
mills the immense all-in-one factories
that make
pig
iron in blast furnaces from
hon ore, coke,
and limestone; convert
molten iron to steel in
basic-oxygen
fur
naces;
and form it into
shapes
as varied
as sheet steel for automobiles and rails
for railroads
in
rolling
mills.
Railroads
also feed
scrap
steel to the
electric-arc
furnaces
at minimills a
name
no
longer
accurate
as some of
these
plants
now melt, cast,
and roll more
steel than some integrated
mills. And rail
roads
are often
in the middle of steel-
making,
too, hauling
coke from coke
ovens
to blast furnaces,
slabs from
rough
ing
mills to
finishing
mills, and hot-rolled
steel coils to
cold-roll,
pickling,
and
gal
vanizing plants.
You can see this on Nor
folk Southern's
Chicago
Line in northern
Indiana,
where trains haul semi-finished
steel from
Chicago
District mills on the
shores of Lake
Michigan
to
finishing
mills in Ohio. Or in
Ontario,
where the
joint
Canadian National-Southern Ontar
io
Railway
"Stelco
Sprint
Train" links
plants just
62 miles
apart.
Yet railroads now hold
just
a
30% share of finished steel
transportation.
And while in
the
past year
or
so, improved
service
particularly
on NS
and CSX has enabled rail
roads to take back some steel
business from
trucks,
the real threat is
the decline of the
integrated
steel mill. Of
23
integrated
mills in the U.S. and Can
ada in
2000, three have ceased
operations
and the owners of five more are in bank-
ruptcy [see pages 54-55].
Two LTV mills
recently reopened
under a new
owner,
but at reduced
production
levels.
When dark times hit the steel
industry,
the shadow extends onto the tracks. Last
TRAINSMAG.COM
63
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year
steel
production dropped
12% as
U.S. mills ran at
just
77% of
capacity.
As
a result,
Class 1 railroads hauled less
steel-related business: metallic ore
ship
ments were down 24%;
and metals and
products shipments
were off 10%.
This
year,
steel mill
capacity
is run
ning
near 90%,
but that's
only
because
15% of its
capacity
shut down last
year.
The free-fall seems to have bottomed out
through
the first six months of 2002,
when U.S. railroads' loads of metals
pro
ducts were down 3.5%,
metallic ores
down 6.6%,
overall coal down 5%,
and
scrap
down 1.8%. The
exception
is coke
shipments,
which
plunged
19.6%,
a
reflection of
integrated
mills' woes.
Part of the downturn is related to the
national economic
slowdown,
and rail
roads are used to
tiding
out business
cycles.
But most is the result of funda
mental
change
in the steel
industry
that
threatens to end the
long partnership
between steel mills and railroads.
The first
change
is that steel con
sumption
has leveled off,
resulting
in a
lot of
scrap
metal
entering
the market.
That's fueled the rise of the electric-arc
furnace minimill in the last 25
years.
Minimills can
produce
steel
cheaper
than
integrated
mills as
long
as surface
quality
isn't
important,
and aren't saddled with
the
legacy
costs
notably pensions
and
environmental cleanup
of
integrated
says
the tour
guide,
pointing
to hot coils fresh from the
rolling
mills at Geneva Steel. Loaded on coil
cars,
they
will travel to factories that make farm
silos, water
tanks, and
highway guardrails.
mills.
They
now account for about half
of all U.S. steel
output.
The second
change
is
every country
in the world now
wants to make
steel, and the U.S. is the
biggest
market in the world.
Though
the
Bush Administration this
spj-ing slapped
duties of
up
to 30% on
imported steel,
that
just
stemmed the tide.
64
I TRAINS I NOVEMBER 2002
,_.
"
These
changes
are bad news for
railroads,
which
historically
counted
on four
potential
moves to and from
integrated
mills: coal or coke,
iron
ore,
and limestone in;
and finished
steel out
(coke
is coal heated in the
absence of
oxygen
to drive out volatile
gasses).
Consider the now-shuttered
Bethlehem mill in its namesake Penn
sylvania city:
when the mill was run
ning
full tilt a decade
ago,
Conrail
would
annually
deliver
2.5 to 3 million tons of
ore,
3 million tons of
coal,
and 1 million tons
of limestone. It also
hauled
away
40% of the
2 million tons of steel
produced annually.
In
other words,
for
every
ton of steel an
integrated
mill
made,
a
railroad
might
haul 4 tons of
freight.
Minimills,
in
contrast,
have
just
two
potential
moves:
scrap
in, steel
out. And
scrap
isn't a
rail-friendly
commodity.
It tends to move in
shorter hauls, making
it less
profitable
and more
susceptible
to truck
compe
tition. Minimills also serve smaller
geographic
areas than
integrated
mills
again reducing
hauls and in-
iron
pours
into a
basic-oxygen
furnace at Geneva Steel with an awful
roar,
scattering pigeons
into the rafters of this
WWII-era
building.
In a
half-hour,
new steel
will
pour
from the furnace into
ingots.
creasing
the odds a truck carries the
finished steel.
That's not the case
everywhere,
though.
CSX delivers 75% of the
scrap up
to 70
gondolas
a
day
that
Nucor (now the
largest
U.S. steel
pro
ducer)
turns into steel bars and rein
forcing products
at its
Darlington,
S.C., minimill.
Imported
steel halves the
potential
for rail
tonnage again. Imported
steel
usually
has but one move: the haul
from
port
to destination. "That can be
very
lucrative for a rail carrier," said
John
Spychalski, professor
of busi
ness
logistics
at Penn State's Smeal
College
of Business. "If
you're moving
a
shipload
of slabs from some
point
of
entry
to an inland
processing plant,
that can be
arguably
more attractive
than
moving
limestone or some other
material." NS's
import
traffic
through
Philadelphia
fits into this
category.
And NS is
important,
because
among
railroads it's the steel
titan,
serving
19
integrated
mills and a
dozen
minimills,
either
directly
or
indirectly
via the various steel switch
ing
roads. With the
industry slump
ing,
NS stands to lose the most.
"The
plight
of the domestic inte-
grated
steel market continues to af
fect our
metallurgical
coal
markets,"
NS Vice Chairman and Chief Market
ing
Officer L.I. "Ike" Prillaman told
Wall Street
analysts
in
April, noting
carloads were off 14%
early
this
year.
"Coke
battery
closures have occurred
in our service
area,
including
the
bankruptcy
of National Steel and clo
sure of New Boston
Coke, which will
impact metallurgical
coal and coke
revenues
$7
million in 2002.
However
steel
production
is
up
and we will
haul either the
imported
slabs or the
coal and coke to make the steel."
The Conrail
acquisition tripled
NS's steel
business,
and
along
with it
came
important
intermill moves that
provide
a sense of
stability
when the
steel market sinks. "The
biggest thing
for NS in metals is the
regularity
of
our intermill moves. Those are the
backbone of our steel
business,"
said
Gary
Wendorf, NS
group
vice
presi
dent of metals and construction. "We
run dailv trains seven
days
a week in
these intermill lanes for our various
steel customers."
Train 61
A,
for
example,
hauls coils
from AK Steel in
Middletown, Ohio,
to its
cold-rolling, galvanizing,
and
annealing
mill in
Rockport,
Ind.
Peek
ing
from its hole in a
Wheeling-Pittsburgh
Steel
blast
furnace,
a switcher waits to move a hot-
metal car to the basic
oxygen
furnace in 1988.
Another
daily
move,
local B09,
links
Ispat-Inland
Steel in Indiana Harbor,
Ind.,
with its
finishing plant just
50
miles
away
in New Carlisle,
Ind.
CSX also uses unit trains to slash
transit time. A
daily
dedicated slab
train,
the
K-586/587,
links AK Steel's
mills in Ashland,
Ky,
and Middletown
in 14 hours down from three
days
in
regular
batch train service.
This
type
of service is as
integral
to the
steelmaking process
as the blast
furnace itself. Yet rail
roads ai"e
intently
watch
ing developments
in the
integrated
mills, fearing
more are in
danger
of
collapse.
"We
really
don't
know what the
integra
ted mills are
going
to
look like in the
future,"
Wendorf said.
But NS
regained
a sense of
opti
mism about steel in late
spring,
as
business
began picking up.
Wendorf
cited several reasons:
import
tariffs
created a
price
floor. International
Steel
Group,
which
purchased
NS-
served ex-LTV mills and
plans
to
pur
chase Acme Steel in
Riverdale, 111.,
now
says
its
production
will match
LTV's. Thei'e's
expected
to be more im
port
slab business
despite
the taiiffs.
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Plus,
Wendorf notes,
Steel
Dynamics
is
opening
a new minimill at Columbia
City,
Ind.,
and Nucor has
purchased
Trico Steel
in Decatur, Ala.,
and should
begin ship
ping
coils
by year's
end. Two new min
imills on NS,
at
Petersburg,
Va.,
and Lam-
oyne,
Ala.,
should be at full
capacity by
December.
in 1982 ruined
Ohio's Mahoning Valley
mills such as
Youngstown
Sheet & Tube. Costs were too
high:
raw materials
all arrived by rail,
not
water like the lakefront
mills that survived.
But the
growth
of minimills is slow
ing. "Any
further
growth
in minimills
would be the result of further reduction in
integrated production,"
Wendorf said.
The shutdown of steel
companies
LTV
and Geneva last
year put
a dent in rail
roads' traffic. The blow was softened
somewhat
by
LTV's
dependence
on
trucks. "LTV was a
company
that
pro
bably
used less rail
transportation
than
any
other steel
company
in the
country,"
said Darrell
Stanyard,
CSX's
director,
development
metals. CSX served LTV
mills in Cleveland and East
Chicago,
as
well as warehouses in
Toledo, Ohio, and
Gary,
Ind.
In
Utah, Geneva Steel's shutdown
dealt a
big
blow to Union Pacific's steel
poilfolio.
It was UP's
biggest
steel
ship
per,
and the
primary
reason its ore
ship
ments
plunged by
a third last
year.
"Basi
cally,
Geneva was it for us" in terms of
ore, said Brian
Maher, UP's senior busi
ness
director, ferrous metals. Geneva
hopes
to restart with an electric-arc fur
nace,
but its blast furnaces and coke
ovens and inbound raw materials
by
rail are
probably
done for.
BNSF, which serves 1 8
minimills,
says
the steel
picture
isn't all bleak. "The
good
news with a lot of the steel
companies
is
they
like rail and
they
want to use
rail,"
says Barry Russell,
general director of
industrial
products
marketing.
TRAINSMAG.COM I
67
SBk
^mm>^r
But with the
economy
down, many
steel receivers don't want to
keep
much
inventory
on hand and thus don't nec
essarily
want a railcar-size
shipment,
Russell said. That further
squeezes
the
railroads,
and turns the four truckloads
equals
one railcar load
equation
from an
asset into a
liability.
Most of the time, though,
rail's ca
pacity
remains its
strength.
"The No. 1
advantage
is we can move a
larger quan
tity
of our
product
than with a truck,"
said Mike Zaia,
who heads Bethlehem
Steel's subsidiary
railroads
and trans
portation
network.
"There are, however,
some issues with
respect
to rail."
Chief among
them,
he said,
is that
railroads are slow, both in terms of tran
sit times and
responding
to steelmakers'
needs.
Equipment supply
is a
pi-oblem,
particularly
when steel forecasts
change
overnight.
That means some loads wind
up
on the road. But Zaia said if business
continues to
pick up,
Bethlehem wants
to use more rail. The railroads' will have
to be "more
aggressive
than
they
are" to
get
Bethlehem's,
and other steelmakers'
business, though.
Still,
the steel
industry
trend toward
warehousing
and
away
from
just-in-
time
shipping
favors railroads, CSX's
Stanyard says.
And railroaders do
point
to steel success stories,
some of which
were built on
improvements
in coil-car
boils from an electric-arc
furnace
speared
with an
oxygen
lance in
a
Chicago
minimill in 1996. Efficient and
aggressive, they
now account for half of
U.S.
production
and most of the
profits.
technology
over the
past
decade.
BNSF's Russell noted that in
April
the
railroad
began
a
guaranteed car-supply
program
for steel
shippers involving gon
dolas and flat cars. CSX said it has moved
aggressively
to
compete
with trucks.
Still,
its metals
carloadings dropped
7% last
year.
"That number would have been
68
TRAINS I NOVEMBER
2002
three or four times what
it was if we hadn't been
so successful with modal
conversions,"
Stanyard
said.
"Tfruck diversions had
a
great impact
on us as
well,"
NS's Wendorf said.
"We did a
great
deal of diversion back
to
rail,
particularly
with the
integrated
mills.
Probably
the
biggest thing
we
converted was coil steel." Its
import
slab traffic
through Philadelphia
was
a
bright spot
last
year,
too,
he said.
The railroads
say
these wins
give
them reason to be
optimistic.
But
even
though they
are
hauling
a
bigger
slice of steel
output,
it's cut from a
smaller
pie.
What can railroads do?
"We're all in
agreement
that the
rails still have to do more with service
quality
in order to better
position
themselves in relation to truck,"
Spy-
chalski said. With the
exception
of
automotive-related steel
products
like
coils, trucks have
steadily
eroded rail
roads' market share. To
regain it,
rail
roads must slash transit times with
out
sacrificing consistency,
he
says,
and services need to be tailored to
individual
shippers.
But railroads'
blast furnaces are
at U.S. Steel's
Edgar
Thomson Works
upriver
from
Pittsburgh.
Its
rolling
mills
abandoned,
rails in its
yards rusting,
its continuous caster
produces
raw slabs for the
nearby
Irvin Plant.
cost-reduction drives have cut
beyond
fat
right
into
marketing
muscle, Spy-
chalski contends.
"They
don't have
enough people
to
develop
business. A
lot of these creative
things
that can be
done aren't done because there aren't
enough people
around."
And there are some obstacles rail
roads can't overcome
by
themselves,
like the
configuration
of some steel-
receiving plants.
"More and more
these
unloading
sites,
and even load
ing
sites,
are not
equipped
for rail
delivery
and
shipment," Spychalski
said. He adds that some
plants
have
sidings
that aren't located well in rela
tion to where the mateiials are nee
ded. So no matter what
magic
the
railroad
performs
with a 500-mile
haul,
it can be the last 500 feet of the
trip
that kills the deal.
The
partnership
between steel and
railroads isn't
likely
to rust
away any
time soon. But it is
evolving
and
could
change dramatically
if the
integrated
mills can't turn
things
around. There's little railroads can do
about that but watch
helplessly.
How
railroads weather the
changes may
largely depend
on how well
they
can
provide
the service
necessary
to hold
the line
against trucks. i
STEEL
MILLS OF THE U.S. AND
CANADA
Vancouver
Seattle
Edmonton
Q
Pellet, Direct-Reduced Iron, or Coke Plant
O Integrated
Steel Mill
. Electric-Arc Furnace Mill
(mini-mill)
Notes on data sources:
Information is for 2001-2002. Sources include individual
company
annual
reports,
American Institute of Iron and Steel
Engineers,
United Steel Workers of America,
U.S.
Department
of Commerce, and others.
Equipment
and
tonnage figures subject
to
change:
locations are
approximate
due to limitations of the
map's
size.
ini-mills
provide
half of U.S. and
.Canadian steel-making capacity.
Their decentralized
geographic
distri
bution mirrors U.S.
population density
(with
the notable
exception
of Califor
nia),
and does not work to the benefit
of railroads. The
remaining integrated
mills
primarily
sell
high-quality
sheet
steel to auto and
appliance
factories. I
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
0 F T H E
^mmmm
Main Lines
i.t.1 pi1 n~T^vm
BNSF
CN
CP
CSX
FEC
KCS
MRL
NS
UP
U.S. and Canadian Taconite
Pellet,
Direct-Reduced
Iron,
and Coke Plants
Name Location Annual
Capacity
million
tons)
1. Iron Ore Co. of Canada tabrador
City,
Nfld. 15.0 -,
2. Wabush Mines Pointe-Noire, Que.
6.0
3.
Quebec
Cartier
Mining
Co. Port Carrier, Que.
8.2
4.
Empire
Iron
Mining Partnership Palmer,
Mich. 8.0
5. Tilden
Mining
Co. LC
Ishpeming.
Mich. 7.8
6. Northshore
Mining
Co. Silver
Bay,
Minn. 4.7
\
pellets
7.
Ispat
Inland
Mining
Co.
Virginia,
Minn. 2.8
8. U.S. Steel Minntac Mountain Iron, Mich 16.2
9. EVTAC
Mining Forbes,
Minn. 5.4
10.
Hibbing
Taconite Co. Hibbing,
Minn. 8.3
11. National Steel Pellet Co. Keewatin, Minn. 5.3 J
12. American Iron Reduction Convent,
La. 1.5
(closed 10/01)
-DRI
13. Tonawanda Coke
Corp. Tonawanda, N.Y. 0.23
1
0.20 14. Erie Coke
Corp.
Erie, Pa.
15. ISG,
Warren Coke Plant Warren, Ohio 0.50
(formerly LTV)
16.
Shenango,
Inc. Pittsburgh,
Pa. 0.35
17. U.S. Steel
Corp.,
Clairton Works Clairton, Pa, 4.70
18.
Koppers Industries,
Inc. Monessen, Pa. 0.94
19. Citizens Gas & Coal
Utility Indianapolis,
Ind. 0.60
20. New Boston Coke
Corp.
Portsmouth, Ohio 0.35
21. Jewell Coal & Coke Co. Vansant, Va. 0.75
22. ABC Coke Tarrant
City,
Ala. 0.60
23. Sloss Industries
Corp. Birmingham,
Ala. 0.37
24.
Empire
Coke Holt, Ala. 0.13
J
0
Mobile
2002, kalmbach Publishing
Co.. TRAINS; Robert Wegner
U.S. and Canadian
Integrated
Steel Mills
Name Location Annual
Capacity (million tons), Equipment,
Notes
1. Bethlehem Steel
Corp., Sparrows
Point Div.
Sparrows Point, Md. 3.7 1 blast furnace,
2 BOFs
(filed bankruptcy 10/15/01)
2. Dofasco, Inc., Hamilton
Operation Hamilton, Ont. 4.0 3 blast furnaces, 1 BOF, 1 EAF,
246 coke ovens
3. Stelco Inc., Hilton Works
Hamilton,
Ont. 3.0 2 blast furnaces,
3 BOFs, 83 coke ovens
4. Lake Erie Steel Co., division of Stelco, Inc.
Nanticoke,
Ont. 2.3 1 blast furnace,
2
BOFs, 45 coke ovens
5. U.S. Steel
Corp., Edgar
Thomson Plant
Braddock, Pa. 2.8 2 blast furnaces, 2 BOFs
6. Weirton Steel
Corp.,
Weirton Plant
Weirton,
W. Va. 3.0 2 blast furnaces, 2 BOFs
7.
Wheeling-Pittsburgh
Steel
Corp.,
Steubenville Plant
Steubenville, Ohio 2.4 2 blast furnaces, 2 BOFs, 224 coke ovens
(filed bankruptcy 11/16/00)
8. WCI Steel, Inc. Warren Plant
Warren,
Ohio 1.5 1 blast furnace, 2 BOFs
9. International Steel
Group,
Cleveland Works
Cleveland, Ohio 3.0 2 blast furnaces, 4 BOFs
(formerly
LTV
Steel)
10. AK Steel
Corp..
Ashland Works
Ashland, Ky.
2.1 1 blastfurnace,
2BOFs
,
146 coke ovens
11. AK Steel
Corp.,
Middletown Works
Middletown, Ohio 2.3 1 blast furnace, 2 BOFs,
76 coke ovens
12. National Steel
Corp.,
Great Lakes
Operations Ecorse, Mich. 3.5 3 blast furnaces, 2 BOFs, 85 coke ovens
(filed bankruptcy 03/06/02)
13.
Rouge
Steel Co., Rouge
Plant
Dearborn, Mich. 3.3 2 blast furnaces, 2 BOFs
14.
Algoma
Steel
Inc., Steelworks Division Sault Ste. Marie,
Ont. 2.5 1 blast furnace, 2 BOFs, 177 coke ovens
15. Bethlehem Steel
Corp.,
Burns Harbor Div. Burns Harbor, Ind. 5.0 2 blast furnaces, 3
BOFs,
164 coke ovens
16. U.S. Steel
Corp., Gary
Works
Gary,
Ind. 7.7 4 blast
furnaces, 6 BOFs, 268 coke ovens
1/.
Ispat Inland, Inc., Indiana Harbor Works East
Chicago,
Ind. 5.8 3
blastfurnaces, 4 BOFs
18. International Steel
Group,
Indiana Harbor Works East
Chicago,
Ind. 3.7 2 blast furnaces, 2 BOFs, 60 coke ovens
(formerly
LTV
Steel)
19. Acme Steel Co., Chicago
and Riverdale Plants
Riverdale, III. 1.2 2 blast furnaces, 2 BOFs, 100 coke ovens
(ceased operations 10/25/01)
20. National Steel
Corp.,
Granite
City
Division Granite
City,
III. 2.5 2 blast
furnaces, 2
BOFs, 90 coke ovens
21. Gulf States
Steel, Gadsden Plant
Gadsden, Ala. 1.1 1 blast
furnace, 2
BOFs, 130 coke ovens
(ceased operations 08/21/00)
22. U.S. Steel
Corp.,
Fairfield Works
Fairfield, Ala. 2.3 1 blast
furnace,
3 BOFs
23. Geneva
Steel, Geneva Works
Vineyard,
Utah 2.5 3 blast furnaces. 2
BOFs, 197 coke ovens
(ceased operations 11/14/01)
Note: BOF
=
Basic
Oxygen Furnace, EAF
=
Electric Arc Furnace, DRI
=
Direct-Reduced Iron
A RAILROADis of no value with-
out traffic, and the traffic of U.S. railroads
is dominated by commodities, account-
ing for four-fifths of their tonnage in
2003. A commodity is a substance of
essentially identical properties regardless
of its producer or place of origin, sold by
the pound, gallon, or cubic foot, such as
gasoline, coal or sugar. Most are differen-
tiated into quality grades regular gas,
low-sulfur coal, white sugar but within
a grade, differences are trivial, enabling
purchasers to freely substitute one seller
for another solely on the basis of deliv-
ered price. Sellers often tack on extrane-
ous services (flower beds at a gas station)
and create brand auras (put a tiger in
your tank) in the hope that you will
embrace their higher profit margin.
Commodities are cheap, compared to
manufactured goods, because nature has
already done most of the work. Human
inputs are expensive: The automobile I
drive cost $8,000 per ton, the steel it con-
tains cost $450 per ton, and the iron ore
that made the steel cost $25 per ton. A
commoditys price reflects its difficulty of
extraction and purification, royalties to
the land owner, and distance from mar-
ket. These are interlocked: as one cost
goes up, the others must go down, if the
commodity is to compete. The profit
margin is established by the hungriest
producer, which is why producers often
seek to raise the profit margin by estab-
lishing cartels or monopolies (legal, if
possible), or subsidies and tariffs that dis-
criminate against lower-cost competitors.
No commodity commands a premium
price for its properties in the long term,
because commodities are not end prod-
ucts but ingredients in end products.
Consumers rarely care what was used to
make their bread, car, or house so long as
it tastes good, runs reliably, and shelters
comfortably. This enables manufacturers
to substitute one commodity for another,
and the real science in manufacturing is
knowing how to do this. A smelter in Ari-
zona whose copper winds up in a water
pipe in a house in Vermont has won
against every other copper smelter in the
world, and every galvanized-steel and
plastic pipe maker in the world, too.
Commodities ship more by railways
and waterways than by highways because
theyre price sensitive instead of service
sensitive. Nature is fickle about where it
provides commodities, and railroads are-
nt a pervasive open-access transportation
system like a highway, which leaves a sin-
gle-source producer deeply beholden to
the railroad on which its located. While
its true a railroad isnt going to price so
highly it puts all of its producers out of
business, it should price high enough to
put some of its producers out of business.
Producers have learned to merge to gain
many locations on every railroad, and
shift production among locations to
make each railroad march to their tune.
Small railroads and producers rarely
make it in the commodity game.
T RAI NS MAG. COM
27
by Mark W. Hemphill
COMMODI TY SAMPLES FROM THE COLLECTI ON OF MEL PATRI CK
RIO GRANDE
COMMODITIES
What is inside those cars, anyway? Products of the Earth
hauled by lines of the Rio Grande: Where it comes from,
where it goes, what its used for, and why it matters.
Train 733-116 loads coking coal for U.S.
Steels Geneva Works at the same companys
Sunnyside Mine, on September 16, 1985. M
a
r
k

W
.

H
e
m
p
h
i
l
l
2011 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.TrainsMag.com
The commodities selected for this arti-
cle are products of mines and smelters
that ship on the Rio Grande, which con-
solidated with Southern Pacific in 1988,
and with Union Pacific in 1996. While
the former Rio Grande also originates
products of forests and fields, minerals
are its lifeblood, for it traverses a region
of mountain and desert too high and too
dry for lush forests and widespread culti-
vation. Were there no mines, there would
be no Rio Grande, for its too tortuous to
adequately compete for time-sensitive
transcontinental merchandise traffic. To
know these commodities is to know the
Rio Grandes purpose.
COAL You would hardly know the Rio
Grande even hauled coal from the litera-
ture, where its either virile narrow-gauge
delivering whiskey and whores to gold-
mining camps, or scrappy transcontinen-
tal humiliating its stodgy competitors
with short, fast, frequent freights. Fortu-
nately the Rio Grande never had to live
up to either myth, or it would have gone
broke and been abandoned long ago. It
was and is a coal road, as prosaic and
profitable as a Norfolk & Western.
Coal is a combustible organic mineral
that occurs in defined layers spanning
vast horizontal distances in thickness
from a fraction of an inch to dozens of
feet. Unless disturbed by geologic activity,
coal seams are flat and uniform. Much
of the U.S. is underlain with coal 65%
of Illinois but most of it is too deep,
too low in heating value, or too far from
a market to have any present value.
Coal varies widely in its chemical
composition and combustion properties
from field to field, and even from mine to
mine. In general, the older it is and the
deeper it has been in geologic time, the
greater its quality. Coals critical values
are heat content in BTUs per pound (one
BTU will raise the temperature of one
pound of water one degree Fahrenheit);
fixed carbon and volatile content; mois-
ture, ash, and sulfur content; and ash
fusion (melting) temperature. To achieve
high efficiency, power-plant boilers are
designed for a narrow coal specification,
and coal thats out of specification can
slag or foul its tubes, burn out super-
heater headers, ruin its pollution-control
equipment, exceed emissions regula-
tions, or just make it run very ineffi-
ciently. Mel Patrick recalls an instance
when he worked at Rio Grandes coal
desk of an Illinois plant phoning him to
report their unit train kept arriving with
an extra carload of mystery coal, and
would the railroad please stop
delivering it to them! Clearly the
coal had come from a mine in
Colorado or Utah, but the trace
went to a dead end. Without a
known origin, no power plant
would take the coal. It appeared headed
for a landfill until Geneva Steel agreed to
take it off the railroads hands.
Rio Grande lines originate some of
the better coal mined in the U.S., a high-
heat, low-sulfur bituminous averaging
12,000 BTU and 0.6% sulfur per pound at
a mine price of $18 per ton. Colorado
ranked 8th among coal-producing states
in 2002 with 35 million tons; Utah 13th at
25 million tons (the U.S. mined 1.07 bil-
lion tons of coal in 2003 at an average
mine price of $27 per ton). The market is
steam coal for power plants, and ce-
ment plants. The principal competition
is coal mined in the Powder River Basin
of Wyoming and Montana, a low-heat,
low-sulfur sub-bituminous of 9,000 BTU
and 0.35% sulfur per pound, with an
average mine price of $9.50 per ton.
Wyoming was No. 1 in 2002 with 373
million tons. Colorado and Utah con-
sumed 24 million tons of their 60 million
tons; 12 million tons went west, mostly to
Nevada and California; and 21 million
tons went east and south, mostly to Illi-
nois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee,
and Texas. The rest went to export.
When deciding what coal to purchase,
a power plant compares the delivered
price in cents per million BTUs, the sul-
fur content to see if the plant will meet
air pollution (acid rain) regulations, and
the combustion characteristics
to see if it can be tolerated in its
boilers. Since UP and BNSF cur-
rently charge about 1.40 cents per
ton-mile to move PRB coal, and about
2.08 cents per ton mile for Rocky Moun-
tain coal, PRB coal is less expensive up to
about 1,500 miles of rail haul. Rio
Grande coal would be squeezed
out of the Midwest and South
except for a number of older power
plants designed for Illinois Basin coal,
similar to Rio Grande coal except it aver-
ages 2.9% sulfur and wont meet emis-
sions regulations. Rather than pay for
scrubbers, some plants blend just enough
Rio Grande coal with Illinois Basin coal
to sit right at the edge of the law.
Most coal mined today is crushed at
the mine to 2x0: anything (including
dust) that will fit through a screen with
2-inch openings. Its batch or flood-loaded
to each cars exact weight capacity, nomi-
28
T RAI NS AUGUS T 2004
Kennecott
Smelter
U. S. Steel
Geneva Works
Great
Salt
Lake
Roper Yard
(flat-switched)
U
P
U
P
U
P
To Pocatello, Idaho
To Oakland, Calif.
To Oakland, Calif.
SP
W
P
U
P
U
P
U
P
U
P
Sufco #1
1
2
6
7 Intermountain
Intermountain
Gadsby
Keigley Quarry
Burgin (Lead-Zinc)
Bingham Canyon
(Copper)
Abd.1983
To Las Vegas,
Nevada
G
illu
ly
C
o
l
t
o
n
S
o
l
d
i
e
r

S
u
m
m
i
t
C
l
e
a
r

C
r
e
e
k
Ephraim
Moroni
Marysvale
Salina
Midvale
Roper
Geneva
Springville
C
a
s
t
illa
PROVO
Burgin
Lynndyl
T
h
is
t
le
L
e
a
d

M
i
n
e

L
a
r
k

Garfield
SALT LAKE CITY
OGDEN
Promontory
0 20 10 40 30 60 50 70 miles
Mine (coal unless noted)
Coal-burning power plant
Continental Divide
Crew change, major terminal HELPER
COAL: TRUE
TRAFFIC OF THE
RIO GRANDE
RIO GRANDE
nally either 263,000 lbs. (100-tons net) or
286,000 lbs. (110-tons net). The customer
specifies the equipment, either a blank-
bottom, high-side coal gondola or a coal
hopper. Most steam coal moves in unit
trains of 84117 cars; cement plants and
small steam plants receive blocks of coal
that move in regular freights.
This coal sample came from the
Co-op Mine near Huntington, Utah,
which trucks to the CV Spur just east
of Price, and was en route to the
Tennessee Valley Authoritys 1750-
megawatt Shawnee Fossil Plant at
Grahamville, Ky., one of TVAs oldest
(built 195356), and a major sulfur
dioxide emitter.
FLY ASH Coals carbon and hydro-
gen content combine with oxygen to
form carbon dioxide and water vapor,
and go up the stack. The sulfur and nitro-
gen also go up the stack. Most of the
remaining mineral constituents form a
finely-divided powder called fly ash,
which is 95% clay, pyrite, and calcite.
(Some power plants have wet fireboxes
and remove the ash as molten slag.)
The only major use for fly ash is as an
admixture to concrete, where it reduces
the heat of hydration the heat of the
chemical reaction of cement and water.
This is helpful in monumental pours
such as dams, where the heat can boil
free water to steam and crack the con-
crete. Western power plants generate
about 8.8 million tons of fly ash per year.
About 44% is added to concrete and road
base, and the rest goes to landfills.
Fly ash is shipped in 100-ton covered
hoppers, which must have tight doors lest
the powder sift out. This sample came
from the Craig Station of Public Service of
Colorado (now Xcel Energy), and was en
route to a concrete batch plant in Denver.
T RAI NS MAG. COM
29
R
i
o

G
r
a
n
d
e
C
&
S
Cheyenne
Tennessee Pass, 10,221'
East Yard (hump yard)

Perlite plants
C
&
T
S
Royal Gorge
CF&I Steel
Sold 1981 to Durango & Silverton
Narrow Gauge Railroad
Axial Spur, completed 1979
Dotsero Cutoff, opened 1934
North Yard
(flat-switched)
Moffat Tunnel, 6.2 miles long
CV Spur
1. Valcam
2. Skyline
3. Castle Gate
4. Beaver Creek
AT&
S
F
A
T
&
S
F
C&W
ROYAL GORGE ROUTE
MOFFAT TUNNEL ROUTE
U


T


A


H
C


O


L


O


R



A


D


O
C O L O R A D O
C O L O R A D O
U T A H
W Y O M I N G
W Y O M I N G
N E W M E X I C O
C&S
C
&
S
MP
R
I

C
&
S
C
&
S
UP
UP
To Ogden, Utah
To Cheyenne,
Wyo.
To Omaha, Nebr.
Both to
Kansas
City
To Kansas City
To Kansas City
To Lincoln, Nebr.
Various perlite mines
To Albuquerque, N. Mex.
U
P
B
N
U
P
-R
I
AT&SF
Martin Drake
Ray Nixon
Arapahoe
Cherokee
Valmont
Comanche
C
C
Hayden
Grassy Creek
Hayden Gulch
Cameo
C
a
rb
o
n

Huntington
3
5
4
Hunter
Craig
Allen
CF&I Limestone
Quarry
Climax (Molybdenum)
Black Cloud (Lead-Zinc)
Cooper Basin (Iron)
Eagle
(Zinc-Lead)
Edna
Colowyo
Empire
Dutch Creek
Idarado (Lead-Zinc)
Commodore (Lead-Zinc)
Sunnyside
(Lead-Zinc)
American Soda
(Soda ash)
Thompson
Creek
Eagle Gypsum
U.S. Gypsum
M
t. G
u
n
n
ison
#
1
B
ea
r
S
om
erset
H
aw
ks N
est
O
rchard Valley
B
lue R
ibbon
Roadside
Texas Gulf (Potash)
Horse Canyon
S
u
n
n
y
s
id
e
S
o
ld
ie
r

C
r
e
e
k
T
o
w
e
r

R
e
s
o
u
r
c
e
s
Henderson
(Molybdenum)
Energy
Maxwell
U
R
Y
S A N
L U I S
V A L L E Y
5. Plateau
6. Hiawatha
7. Co-Op
Abd.1983
R
ed C
anon
D&RGW-AT&SF Joint Line,
South Denver to Bragdon
(C&S trackage rights)
To Fort
Worth,
Texas
Castle Gate
Area Mines
H
E
L
P
E
R
P
r
ic
e
W
a
s
h
Evanston
G
r
e
e
n

R
i
v
e
r
B
r
e
n
d
e
l D
e
s
e
r
t
Potash
Thompson
Utaline
Fruita
Cisco
Walsenburg
Trinidad
Raton
Jansen
La Veta
Ft. Garland
ALAMOSA
Antonito
Cumbres Pass
Monte Vista
Del Norte
SLC
Creede
Silverton
Ridgway
Chama
Durango
Farmington
Castle Rock
Colorado Springs
PUEBLO NA Jct.
Palmer Lake
Husted
Crews
Bragdon
Adobe
Sunnyside
Mounds
W
o
o
d
s
id
e

Montrose
Delta
Hotchkiss
Oliver
GRAND
JUNCTION
Cameo
De Beque
Grand Valley
Glenwood
Springs
Rifle
Newcastle
Dotsero
Toponas
PHIPPSBURG
Adams
Craig
Axial
Energy
Steamboat Springs
Gypsum
Granby
Utah
Jct.
East
Portal
DENVER
Greeley
Tabernash
Winter
Park
Climax
Orestod
BOND
Wolcott
Kremmling
MINTURN
Belden
Malta
Woody Creek
Carbondale
Leadville
Kobe
Princeton
Buena Vista
Salida
Texas Creek
Pleasanton
Canon City
Monarch
Center

2004, Kalmbach Publishing Co., TRAINS; Robert Wegner & Jay Smith
D&RGW single-track
D&RGW double-track
Other railroads
Trackage rights
Abandoned
MP Missouri Pacific
SLC San Luis Central
SP Southern Pacific
UP Union Pacific
URY Utah Railway
WP Western Pacific
Guide to railroads
AT&SF Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
BN Burlington Northern
C&S Colorado & Southern (BN)
C&W Colorado & Wyoming
CC Carbon County
C&TS Cumbres & Toltec Scenic
Mines correct to 1980, with subsequent additions
G
r
e
e
n

R
i
v
e
r
Yampa River
C
o
l
o
r
a
d
o

G
u
n
n
i
s
o
n
COMMODITIES
Steel, the essential ingredient of mod-
ern life, is extremely expensive to make
cheaply. An integrated mill, which turns
iron ore, coal, and limestone into pig
iron, and pig iron into steel shapes, would
probably cost $2 billion to build in the
U.S. today. The last was Bethlehem Steels
Burns Harbor, Indiana, mill, 40 years ago.
Whats built now is a mini-mill a mis-
leading termwhich melts scrap steel.
Even that costs $350$600 million.
The crucial decision facing a steel
maker is location. Steel cant be made
cheaply unless made in immense quanti-
ties, so a mill requires a lot of factories to
consume its production. Moreover, a mill
commits molten steel into one of three
paths sheet, structural shapes, or bar
and wire and if it wants to enter a sec-
ond path, it will need to double its size.
Thus a mill not only needs a huge local
market for steel, it needs a huge local
market for its kind of steel.
One sees where this leads: the West is
unattractive for steel making. It has nei-
ther the population nor the factories of
the East, and whats there is mostly on
the Pacific Coast in reach of every tide-
water steel mill in the world. In spite of
these obstacles, three integrated mills
were built in the West, and in obedience
to these obstacles, all eventually failed.
First built, in 1881, was CF&I Steel
(Colorado Fuel & Iron) at
Pueblo, which succee-
ded for a century by
making local prod-
ucts the West had
to have: rail,
barbed wire, drill stem, and nails. The
lower-cost mills of the Chicago District
couldnt overcome the rail rates to invade
CF&Is territory.
Second was Columbia Steel, absorbed
by U.S. Steel, which in 1924 started a
blast furnace at Ironton, Utah, just south
of Provo, to supply its small Pacific Coast
steel furnaces. During World War II, the
U.S. Government and U.S. Steel built the
nations 11th largest integrated mill at
Geneva, a few miles to the north. This
location 800 miles from market proved a
terrible mistake after Japanese mills
emerged from the rubble.
Third was Kaiser Steel, east of Los
Angeles, also built during WWII. Most of
its coal came from Sunnyside, Utah.
Foreign competition and the require-
ment to stop polluting strangled all three
mills in the early 1980s. CF&I de-inte-
grated to a mini-mill making rail and
pipe called Rocky Mountain Steel Mills.
Kaisers rolling mills lasted until 1994,
using Brazilian slab steel. Geneva (Iron-
ton closed in 1962) was run by local
investors until 2001, when bad location
and ancient machinery finally
did it in.
COKE This brittle, rock-like
substance is one of the three essen-
tials of iron-making in a blast furnace,
along with iron ore and limestone. Its
made by heating coal in the absence of
oxygen for 1824 hours to drive off the
volatile components. What remains is
nearly pure carbon. (Coal cant be
dumped into the top of a blast furnace
because it packs down and chokes off the
blast.) Coke-making is expensive because
its a pollution-control nightmare, and
U.S. steel makers are reducing its use.
They consumed 19.4 million tons of coke
in 2003, paying up to $120 per ton.
Coke is typically made in brick-lined
chambers called byproduct ovens, each
about 40' long, 12' high, and 20" in
width. The ovens are ganged by the
dozens into batteries. Crushed
coal is charged into the top of
each chamber. After conver-
sion, its ejected and crushed.
The dust and small pieces,
called coke breeze, are
screened out and used as boiler
fuel. Coke is brittle and crumbles
when shipped, so its preferable to
locate the ovens at the steel mill. Geneva
Steel used a lot of Chinese coke towards
the end, and a lot of it crumbled to breeze
en route.
Coal volatiles collected from the ovens
are separated into gas, which fuels steel
mill processes, and liquids, which are
sold. A ton of coal typically produces
1300 lbs. of blast-furnace coke, 150 lbs. of
coke breeze, 10,000 cu. ft. of gas, 10 gal.
of tar, 24 lbs. of ammonium sulfate, 25
gal. of ammonia liquor, and 3 gal. of light
oils. These make things such as creosote,
explosives, plastics, dyes, and roof tar.
Few coals are suitable for coking, and
on the Rio Grande only the Coal Basin
mines above Carbondale produced a true
coking coal. The average U.S. price of $47
per ton for coking coal in 2003 illustrates
its scarcity. The Somerset, Sunnyside,
Geneva, and the Colorado & Wyoming
mines produced a passable coking coal.
In the 1980s, Geneva began buying most
of its coking coal from West Virginia and
Pennsylvania. These long rail hauls were
deadly to Genevas costs.
TACONITE PELLETS Iron ore
until the 1960s was natural ore dumped
directly into blast furnaces. It was mostly
used up by the 1960s, and steel makers
switched to taconite, an iron-poor ore that
must be improved to approximately 65%
iron content before use. Its crushed to the
consistency of flour and the iron-bearing
content separated magnetically. Ben-
tonite, a clay binder, and powdered lime-
stone are added, and the wetted mixture
is rolled into pellets and baked to make
them tough enough to withstand ship-
ping. Limestone is a flux: it scavenges the
silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, and other
impurities in the iron ore and separates
them from the molten iron as slag.
Pellet plants supplying U.S. mills are
located on Michigans Upper Peninsula,
on Minnesotas Mesabi Range, and in
Quebec and Labrador. These pellets for
Geneva Steel originated at U.S. Steels
Minntac plant in Minnesota. The U.S.
consumed 61 million tons of pellets in
2003, at an average price of $25 per ton.
Minntac pellets shipped to Geneva in
Rio Grandes 2,795 100-ton hoppers in
RAW MATERIALS
OF STEEL: COKE,
TACONITE, AND
PIG IRON
30
T RAI NS AUGUS T 2004
M
a
r
k

W
.

H
e
m
p
h
i
l
l
the 12000, 16000, and 19000 series: tough
Bethlehem-built cars (at Johnstown, Pa.)
built for coal, and nicknamed the The
Great Steel Fleet, a slogan apparently
first used by New York Central for its pre-
war streamliners. As Geneva kept having
to reach farther afield for iron ore and
coking coal, Rio Grande (SP) acquired
several thousand surplus steel coal hop-
pers from BN, Clinchfield, Upper Marion
& Plymouth, and others aluminum
cars cant take the abuse of this traffic.
After being made empty at Geneva,
the cars were vacuumed of stray pellets at
Provo and reloaded with coal in Utah or
on the North Fork Branch for St. Louis or
Chicago. The hoppers were vacuumed of
fugitive coal at Wisconsin Central at
Stevens Point, Wis., before traveling the
final miles to Minntac.
PIG IRONMolten iron was
named pig iron because when
it flows into sand molds on a
furnace-house floor, it resem-
bles piglets suckling at a sow.
Most pig iron goes directly into
a steel-making basic oxygen fur-
nace as molten metal. Some is shipped
to foundries, today in these two-pound
chunks that resemble something cooked
too long in a waffle iron. The U.S. pro-
duced 43 million tons of pig iron in 2003
(just 6.2% of world production!). Pig
prices fluctuate with scrap steel and raw
steel, from $120320 per ton of late.
This particular pig arrived at the rail-
roads offices in a package mailed from
Korea. Heres what probably happened.
Some Rio Grande hoppers arriving at
Stevens Point were diverted to a pellet
move from Minntac to U.S. Steels Fair-
field Works at Birmingham, Ala. At Birm-
ingham, U.S. Steel grabbed one of the
cars to reload with pig iron for a foundry
somewhere in the Midwest. The car deliv-
ered its load, returned empty to home
rails, reloaded with export coal, and trav-
eled to the Port of Long Beach. There the
car was rotary dumped. The lost pig
went with the coal into the
hold of a ship, and was next
seen by human eyes after it
was plucked off a conveyor
belt by a magnetic separator
at a power plant in Korea
these are not called tramp
iron separators for nothing.
The note from the customer
was polite but insistent: this was
not to ever happen again.
T RAI NS MAG. COM
31
Geneva Steels yard shows the commodities of
steel on September 30, 1994. Left to right:
outbound coal chemicals in private-owner
tankcars; inbound West Virginia coking coal in
100-ton Norfolk Southern system hoppers;
inbound Chinese coke in 100-ton Rio Grande
hoppers; outbound hot-rolled coil steel in
Southern Pacific coil cars; and inbound natu-
ral iron ore from southern Utah in 100-ton
Union Pacific system ore jennies. The inbound
cars will dump at rotary dumpers, one car at
a time. Missing is limestone, which Geneva
obtained from Keigley, Utah, and taconite.
Complex
machines like
automobiles con-
tain many of the
metals found in nature.
Steel predominates because
its strong, easy to fabri-
cate, and as cheap as 15
cents per pound. Alumi-
num, copper, lead, and
zinc run $0.40-$1.25 per pound,
inexpensive enough for large parts:
Zamac, or pot metal, a zinc alloy, is
die-cast into automobile door handles
(and toy-train locomotives). More
expensive metals are used sparingly. A
car might contain a pound or two of $24
per pound molybdenum (moll-LIB-den-
um), which adds strength, toughness,
and corrosion resistance to steel.
The cost of a metal reflects its scarcity.
The more scarce it is, the more likely it is
to occur in disseminated deposits or thin
veins, which implies a high expense of
extraction and purification. Steel is cheap
because iron comprises 5% of the earths
crust, occurs in immensely rich deposits,
and is easy to smelt. Copper comprises a
mere 0.01% of the crust, and molybde-
num an almost infinitesimal 0.0001%.
Most metals occur in nature in chem-
ical combinations with sulfur, oxygen, or
carbon. These minerals are further inter-
mingled with worthless country rock.
Usually two purification processes occur:
concentration of an ore to separate the
desired mineral from the country rock,
followed by smelting or electrolysis to
separate the metal from the other con-
stituents of the mineral. The concentra-
tion is almost always done at the mine.
Sulfide ores, a common ore of metals,
are concentrated with flotation, a process
perfected in Australia in the early 1900s.
The ore is crushed to flour and fed into
an aerated, water-filled tank with
reagents that form bubbles. Metallic min-
erals adhere to the bubbles and rise to
the surface, while non-metallic minerals
sink to the bottom. The froth is collected,
dewatered, and shipped to a smelter.
LEAD CONCENTRATE Corro-
sion-resistant, and easy to smelt and
shape, lead was in use by 1200 BC for
coins and waterworks. Its Latin name,
plumbum, gives lead the chemical sym-
bol Pb, and English the word plumb-
ing. Lead makes an excellent paint pig-
ment, and red lead, white lead, and
bright-yellow lead chromate lent distinc-
tive colors to the steam age. However,
lead is a cumulative toxin when ingested,
and many uses have been outlawed.
Automotive batteries accounted for 87%
of the 1.6 million tons of lead consumed
in the U.S. last year, at an average price of
44 cents per pound.
Lead usually occurs in nature as lead
sulfide (PbS), or galena, in horizontal
bodies and disseminations in limestone.
Galena, Ill., a picturesque town served by
Burlington Route, Chicago & North
Western, and Illinois Central, was named
for its lead mines.
In the 1970s, Rio Grande originated
lead concentrate, which contains about
50% lead, at Leadville, Belden, Wasson,
and Montrose, Colo., and Lark and Bur-
gin, Utah. The discovery of Leadvilles
fabulous silver lodes in 1877 did more to
shape the Rio Grandes history than any
other event. (Mine owner David Moffat
used his fortune to build the railroad that
became todays UP route west from Den-
ver.) By the 1930s, Leadville appeared
mined-out, but diligent geologic study
found an overlooked ore body in Iowa
Gulch, developed in 1969 by Asarco (for-
merly American Smelting and Refining
Co.) and Newmont Mining as the Black
Cloud Minethe source of this sample.
At depth, the ore contained 3.4% lead
and 8.4% zinc, each ton sweetened by 1.9
oz. of silver and 0.06 oz. of gold.
Black Cloud trucked its concentrate
six miles to Malta, tipping it into 100-ton
Rio Grande system gondolas also used
for loading scrap steel, so often they
came with holes in the floor and splits in
the side sheets. Asarco would do its best
to plug them with sticks and rags. Objec-
tions to lead leaking into the environ-
ment led to new gons without holes. The
concentrate went to Asarcos smelter at
East Helena, Mont. Black Cloud pro-
duced 26,000 tons of zinc concentrate
and 11,000 tons of lead concentrate in
1996, only 7.1 100-ton loads a week, but
each worth about $43,000. UP served
Black Cloud until the mine ran out of ore
and closed in January 1999.
ZINC CONCENTRATE Zinc
was rare in antiquity because its difficult
to smelt. Miners showed their hatred for
its mineral zinc sulfide (ZnS), because its
usually found with, and closely resem-
bles galena, by naming it sphalerite,
Greek for treacherous rock, or blende,
German for blind or deceiving.
Zincs only market was alloyed with
copper to make brass knick-knacks until
the invention of the brass rifle cartridge
in Paris circa 1850. That enabled the
invention of automatic weapons, which
enabled the invention of mass warfare.
Better smelting techniques were
developed, and new uses appeared. Zinc
oxide replaced lead as the primary pig-
ment in paint. The invention of the con-
tinuous hot-strip rolling mill in Middle-
town, Ohio, in 1918, enabled cheap
corrugated-steel roofing, coated with zinc
to prevent it from rusting. Galvanized
steel became the sine qua non of share-
croppers roofs in the 1920s, and ironi-
cally now is fashionable on expensive
homes in New Mexico. Galvanizing
accounted for 52% of the 1.5 million tons
of zinc consumed in the U.S. in 2003, at
an average price of 39 cents per pound.
Of the rest, 17% was used in die castings,
14% went into brass; and the rest was
mostly zinc oxide, used in paint, tires,
and cosmetics.
Zinc concentrates originated at the
same points as lead concentrates on the
Rio Grande. The best was New Jersey
Zincs Eagle Mine at Belden, Colo., which
32
T RAI NS AUGUS T 2004
METALS FOR
MACHINES:
LEAD, ZINC, AND
MOLYBDENUM
operated from 1905 to 1977. As of 1970,
it had produced 858,000 tons of zinc,
148,000 tons of lead, 2,750 tons of silver,
and 16.38 tons of gold. This sample,
which contains about 53% zinc, origi-
nated at the Black Cloud Mine, and was
shipped to Zinc Corporation of Americas
smelter at Bartlesville, Okla.
MOLY CONCENTRATEA soft,
heavy metal nicknamed moly, molyb-
denums economic mineral is molybde-
num disulfide (MoS
2
), or molybdenite, a
gray, greasy substance that feels and
looks like pencil lead, and makes an
excellent dry lubricant. Molybdenum had
no value until the late 1800s, when
French metallurgists discovered it tough-
ened steel without increasing brittle-
ness perfect for battleship armor.
Moly occurs in disseminated primary
deposits and as a trace metal in many
copper mines. A tremendous tonnage of
rock has to be mined and milled to get at
it, which is why its expensive. One-fourth
of the worlds entire supply is in Col-
orado, at the Climax Mine 13 miles
northeast of Leadville, and the Hender-
son Mine (source of this sample) 50 miles
west of Denver. Moly also originates on
the Rio Grande as a byproduct at Ken-
necotts Bingham Canyon copper mine
west of Salt Lake City, the biggest man-
made hole in the world.
The Climax ore body was discovered
in 1879 atop 11,318-foot high Fremont
Pass, but mining really didnt take off
until the 1930s. By the 1960s, Climax was
the largest underground mine in the U.S.,
using block caving to collapse its entire
mountain into haulage tunnels beneath
it. This pass once had two narrow-gauge
railroads across it, a Rio Grande branch
from Leadville to Dillon abandoned in
1923, just a little too early, and Colorado
& Southerns Denver to Leadville main
line. C&S kept the 15 miles from Climax
to Leadville when it abandoned the
main line in 1937, despite its isolation,
because the originating carrier
receives a disproportionate share of
the rate. Standard-gauged in 1943,
this was the last regular Class I, rev-
enue-freight, steam operation in the
U.S. when dieselized in September 1962.
Maturity made Climax a high-cost
producer, and after many shutdowns it
was mothballed in 1992. C&S successor
Burlington Northern sold the Climax
Branch to tourist carrier Leadville, Col-
orado & Southern in 1988, for $10.00.
The Henderson ore body lies 5,000
feet below ground and cost $500 million
to open in 1976. It accounts for 40% of
U.S. moly production, about 37,000 tons
in 2003. Henderson trucks its concen-
trate to a loadout at Kremmling. It ships
in assigned 100-ton covered hoppers to
the Climax Molybdenum refinery at Fort
Madison, Iowa, where its roasted to drive
off the sulfur and produce molybdic
oxide, the form alloyed with steel (its
added into the electric-arc furnace). Hen-
dersons concentrate amounts to about
six carloads a week.
Steel, iron, and nickel alloys used
75% of the 15,300 tons of moly con-
sumed in the U.S. in 2003, at an average
price of $6.30/pound. The rest was used
for chemical catalysts and compounds,
and lubricant. Huge demand for steel in
China has driven the price to $24/pound
this year. That makes each carload at
Kremmling worth about $2.4 million.
.
SMELTER SLAGRailroads origi-
nally ballasted track with whatever dirt
it happened to lay on, and dumped cin-
ders in soft spots. This sufficed when a
sectionman would tamp track for $2 a
day. World War I changed that, and to
save labor, railroads converted to rock
ballasts which would hold alignment
without constant attention. One of the
best ballasts is the iron-rich slag of a lead-
silver smelter. Rio Grande drew for many
years upon slag piles at Eilers, Colo., and
Midvale, Utah.
The slag piles are now exhausted
the smelters closed in 1961 and 1958,
respectively. UP now uses crushed granite
on its former Rio Grande lines.
M
a
r
k

W
.

H
e
m
p
h
i
l
l
The Black Cloud Mine, source of the lead and
zinc concentrate shown here, shows the clas-
sic lines of an underground mine, its steel
headframe standing over a 2,000-foot shaft.
POTASHFactory agriculture, the
production of enormous quantities of
identical crops sold for cash from the
same soil year after year, eventually
must rely upon the constant renewal of
the three essential plant nutrients, sol-
uble potassium, fixed nitrogen, and sol-
uble phosphorus. Together they can be
considered to be artificial manure.
Nitrogen is provided either by nitro-
gen-fixing plants such as soybeans,
alfalfa, peas, and clover, or by fertilizers
such as anhydrous ammonia. Phospho-
rus mostly is obtained from phosphate
rock fertilizers, produced in the U.S. in
Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, and
Wyoming. Soluble potassium is obtain-
ed from potash, a generic term for var-
ious potassium minerals. Grains and
potatoes both contain about 12 pounds
of potash per ton of fresh weight.
In antiquity, potash was made from
hardwood ashes and lime in iron pots,
thus the name, pot ash. This was a
caustic lye primarily used to make
soap. About 1950, potash came to
mean the mineral potassium chloride,
or sylvite (KCl). Its chemically similar
to salt, and the two are often found
together as the mineral sylvinite. The
potash thats typically sold to farmers
is granular muriate of phosphate,
which is 95% or better potassium chlo-
ride, and the rest salt and nontoxic
trace minerals. Its spread onto fields
where it soon dissolves.
Potash is sold as potassium oxide
(K
2
0) equivalent. The U.S. consumed
5.8 million tons of K
2
O equivalent in
2003, 5.0 million tons of it imported,
93% from Canada Saskatchewan
has over half the worlds reserves. Fer-
tilizer accounts for 85% of U.S. con-
sumption; the rest is used in oil well
drilling mud, electroplating, steel heat
treating, and chemicals.
The U.S. imported practically all of
its potash from Germany until Britain
blockaded German shipping in World
War I, which sparked a frantic effort to
develop U.S. sources. U.S. production
now comes from underground mines
near Carlsbad, N.Mex., a solution mine
at Hersey, Mich, and in Utah from the
brines of the Great Salt Lake, the Sal-
duro Salt Marsh near Wendover, and
the Cane Creek Mine near Moab, the
source of this sample.
The Cane Creek Mine, now oper-
ated by Moab Salt LLC, lies at
the end of the spectacularly sce-
nic Cane Creek Branch.
The Rio Grande opened
the branch in 1964 to
serve the new mine,
which used conventional
room-and-pillar mining
to extract sylvinite ore
from 2,800 feet below the
surface. In 1970, after many
roof failures and plastic
flows of the salt, the company
converted to solution mining. In this
technique, freshwater is pumped at a
high pressure down an injection wall
to the ore body, where it fractures and
dissolves the salt. The brine is extracted
either through an annular tube within
the same well, or a separate well. The
disadvantage to solution mining is a
much lower recovery rate of the min-
eral 30% vs. 45%, typically
but its less expensive and no
one has to work under-
ground. A gas explosion at
the Cane Creek Mine in
1963 killed 18. Moab Salt
uses solar evaporation
in shallow ponds to
recover the ore, then
flotation to separate
the potash from the
salt. It ships in bulk in
both covered hoppers
and boxcars (dumped
onto plastic liners), or
bagged in boxcars.
SALT The utterly common sub-
stance sodium chloride (NaCl) needs
no explanation except to describe its
importance, source, and value. The
U.S. consumed 55.2 million tons of salt
worth about $1 billion in 2003, pro-
duced at 69 plants in 15 states, and
including 13.2 million tons imported
from Canada, Chile, Mexico, and the
Bahamas. The chemical industry con-
sumed 45% of it (mostly as brine); road
deicing took 31%, other uses 20%, and
food a mere 4%.
U.S. salt comes from underground
room-and-pillar mines, solution mines,
brine wells, the ocean, and the Great Salt
Lake. Brine is converted to rock salt
either by solar evaporation or vacuum
(mechanical pan) evaporation. Utah pro-
duced 2.8 million tons in 2003, most of it
from the Great Salt Lake.
34
T RAI NS AUGUS T 2004
COMMON
MINERALS OF
INDUSTRY:
POTASH, SALT,
AND SULFUR
M
e
l

P
a
t
r
i
c
k
Rock salt sold in the U.S. for an aver-
age price of $20 per ton in 2003. This
sample came from Moab Salt. Most of its
salt production goes to the West Coast on
a backhaul rate in lumber boxcars that
traveled east carrying 2x4 studs or ply-
wood. The salt wont move on a headhaul
rate, but the alternative is to move the
boxcar west at no rate at all.
SULFURIts said that a nations con-
sumption of sulfur is a measure of its
industrial progress, and the U.S. has
been the largest consumer for more than
60 years. Sulfurs major derivative, sul-
furic acid (one ton of sulfur makes three
tons of 100% acid) is the most widely
used industrial chemical in the world.
In 2003, the U.S. consumed 13.1 mil-
lion tons of sulfur, either as the solid
element shown here, picked up off the
ground in North Yard, Denver, or as
sulfuric acid, at an average price of
$27.50 per ton.
Ironically for something so useful,
sulfur is significantly harmful to the nat-
ural and man-made environment in high
concentrations. Coal, natural gas, and
petroleum all contain sulfur; released
to the atmosphere after combustion it
becomes sulfuric acid. Sour gas and oil
rapidly corrode ordinary steel pipes and
tanks. Natural gas wells almost always
contain hydrogen sulfide gas, which is
deadly in extremely small concentrations.
Thus, most of the sulfur in gas and oil
has to be removed: this accounted for
67% of the sulfur consumed in the U.S.
in 2002. However, sulfuric acid is very
useful in refining oil, so U.S. refineries
use 20% of total U.S sulfur. The excess is
converted to elemental sulfur; if its to be
shipped to North American users, its
usually melted and pumped into insu-
lated tankcars. Overseas exports gener-
ally move as a solid.
Sulfide ores of copper and other met-
als are the other major domestic source
of U.S. sulfur, 8% in 2002. Roughly one-
half of the weight of these ores is sulfur;
all of this went up the stack as sulfur
dioxide and annihilated the local envi-
ronment until laws were passed restrict-
ing emissions. One of the first successful
air pollution lawsuits in the U.S. was
filed by Utah farmers against copper,
lead, and silver smelters in the Salt Lake
Valley in 1903.
Smelter sulfur is recovered as sulfu-
ric acid. The Kennecott Copper smelter
at Magna, Utah, one of the largest Rio
Grande customers for about a century
now, is the largest source of byproduct
sulfuric acid in the U.S. (1.4 million
tons in 2003); it ships in white
tankcars with KCCX reporting
marks. Mines and smelters consume
some of their own sulfuric acid to
leach the metal from oxide ores, and
for electrolytic refining.
The remaining 25% of U.S. con-
sumption is imported elemental sulfur
and sulfuric acid, mostly from Canada
and Mexico. Fertilizer makers consume
70% of U.S. sulfur; petroleum refiners
20%, and metal refiners 5%. The rest
goes to users such as steel mills, pulp
mills, and chemical producers. Prices
vary wildly depending upon location:
Florida needs so much more sulfur than
it makes that it has to pay more than $60
per ton to get it. The West Coast makes so
much more than it needs that it pays $0
per ton, although its actually less than
zero, because producers have to pay to
ship it elsewhere.
Under rainy skies, the Potash Turn exits
Bootlegger Canyon and coasts down the Cane
Creek Branch alongside the Colorado River
toward Potash, Utah, in March 1982. System
hopper cars will load with potash for export at
the Port of Los Angeles.
T RAI NS MAG. COM
35
The mineral commodities shown here
are all creations of modern life. Without
industrialization, they would have little
or no value. Without railroads, they
would probably still have no value, for
they occur in commercial quantities only
in a few locations worldwide, and as
chance would have it, most of these loca-
tions are in the middle of nowhere.
GILSONITEAs you read this, you
might be touching gilsonite: its a com-
mon ingredient in printing ink. A solid
bitumen that resembles asphalt, it
occurs in commercial deposits one place
in the world, in the vicinity of Bonanza,
Utah, on the border with Colorado north
of the Book Cliffs. It occurs as a nearly
pure solid in vertical fissures open to the
sky that vary in width from an inch to
22, in depth from a few feet to 1,500,
and run for as much as 30 miles across
canyon, cliff, and desert floor.
Gilsonite is named for the first white
American to pay any attention to it, Salt
Lake City entrepreneur Sam Gilson, a
former Pony Express rider, U.S. Deputy
Marshal, Indian interpreter, and specta-
tor to the driving of the golden spike
upon completion of the first transconti-
nental railroad at Promontory, Utah.
Gilson noticed the mineral in 1884, and
by 1903 it had found favor as a compo-
nent in black varnishes and paints,
because it gives them a hard, lustrous fin-
ish perfect for Fords Model T, which
came only in black.
Transportation by wagon to the Rio
Grande at Price, Utah, cost $1012 ton,
so the Gilson Asphaltum Co., which con-
trolled most of the veins, built the 63-
mile long, 3-foot gauge Uintah (you-IN-
ta) Railway from the Rio Grande at
Mack, Colo., just east of the Utah state
line, to the mines. Opened in 1904, it
used a 7.5% ruling grade and curvature
as tight as 66 degrees thats a radius of
87 feet to ascend the Book Cliffs.
The railway operated until 1939, when
it was scrapped in favor of a truck haul to
Craig, Colo. In 1957, a 6" diameter slurry
pipeline was built to carry 400,000 tons
of gilsonite per year to a new refinery just
east of Mack. Most was melted and
refined into gasoline, fuel oil, and petro-
leum coke. The gasoline, sold under the
brand name Gilcogas, had a distinctive
odor. The refinery had a terrible odor.
Gilsonite is still used to make hard
black paint, especially for radiators and
automobile chassis, as well as an addi-
tive in drilling mud and road asphalt.
The pipeline and refinery both closed a
number of years ago, and current pro-
duction, about 57,000 tons in 2003,
is trucked to Craig for rail shipment.
PERLITE Look up at the sus-
pended acoustic ceiling in an office
building, and youre looking at perlite. Its
a filler in acoustic ceiling tile, giving it
bulk while also being chemically inert,
nontoxic, nonflammable, and white.
Perlite is a volcanic glass containing
25% chemically combined water. When
heated to its softening temperature,
1,6002,000F, it pops to 420 times its
original volume: the water content turns
to steam and blows glass bubbles. Raw
perlite (the gray mound) weighs 90 lbs.
per cubic foot, and expanded perlite (the
white mound) weighs 315 lbs. cubic
foot. If you blow on a pile of expanded
perlite, it floats away in the air.
Perlite was a geologic curiosity until
the 1940s, when the construction indus-
try began adding it to gypsum plaster in
lieu of sand. At the time, gypsum plaster
was used to fireproof the steel framework
in skyscrapers, and perlite enabled archi-
tects to cut the weight of fireproofing by
up to 80%. Building products now ac-
count for 64% of U.S. consumption; 13%
is used as a horticultural aggregate, and
the rest in miscellaneous uses. The U.S.
consumed 783,000 tons of expanded per-
lite in 2003, at an average price of $41
per ton for raw perlite.
Perlite is mined in most western
states, as well as Greece, China, and
Japan, but the worlds largest deposit is
thought to be No Agua Peaks, 25 miles
south of Antonito, Colo. Open-pit mines
there account for one-fourth of U.S. pro-
duction. Trucks deliver the raw perlite to
Antonio for reloading into 100-ton cov-
ered hoppers. About 7%of the No Agua
perlite is expanded at Antonito. The traf-
fic amounted to about 70 cars per week
in 2003. Rail rates are too high to put
New Mexico perlite onto the East Coast,
where Greek imports dominate.
SODA ASH If youve poured dry
soap into a washing machine or dish-
washer, youve handled soda ash, an
alkali chemical also used to make glass,
and bleach pulp. Soda ash is an old term
for sodium carbonate (Na
2
CO
3
), and
refers to its original manufacture from
wood ash burned in metal pots. It was
probably the first chemical ever manu-
factured in the U.S.: the settlers at
Jamestown, Va., included several barrels
of soap-ashes in their first cargo
shipped to mother England, in 1608.
Burning wood to make soda ash
quickly used up forests. The Solvay pro-
cess, invented in Belgium in 1861, makes
it from salt, limestone, and ammonia. It
was licensed to a U.S. company which
began making soda ash at Syracuse, N.Y.,
in 1884. The industry centered in Ohio,
Michigan, and New York, which had the
SOME USEFUL
MINERALS YOU
PROBABLY NEVER
HEARD OF:
GILSONITE,
PERLITE, AND
SODA ASH
36
T RAI NS AUGUS T 2004
necessary raw materials in abundance
and a large glass manufacturing base to
consume the output. The Solvay Process
Co. also built byproduct coke ovens, to
supply its own ammonia.
In the late 1800s, salt brines beneath
Owens and Searles dry lakes in eastern
California were found to contain dissolv-
ed sodium carbonate. They were quickly
exploited, but were too far from eastern
markets to harm the Solvay plants. In
1938, however, wildcat drilling for oil
west of Green River, Wyo., penetrated
thick beds of the mineral trona, or natu-
ral soda ash the crystalline form
shown here. It turned out there were 125
billion tons of trona in Wyoming, in 40
individual beds 420' thick across 1,300
square miles, 90% of the worlds supply.
Mining began in 1948, and Green Riv-
er trona gradually drove Solvay process
plants in the U.S. out of business the
last to close was the original plant in
Syracuse, in 1986. U.S. soda ash isnt
cheap enough to displace synthetic soda
ash worldwide China, Russia, India,
and Western Europe are big producers
but its cheap enough to dominate the
Western hemisphere. The U.S. produced
11.7 million tons of refined soda ash in
2003 at an average mine price of $76 per
ton, exporting 4.8 million tons, primarily
to Mexico, Canada, Japan, China, and
South America. Its uses were glass, 49%;
chemicals, 26%, soap and detergents,
11%, and other uses, 14%.
Soda ash is mined using room-and-
pillar methods. The trona is dissolved in
hot liquid soda ash and water, purified
and crystallized, then shipped in 100-ton
or 110-ton covered hoppers, both rail-
road and shipper supplied. If you see a
gray covered hopper with FMCX, GCTX,
GRPX, TGSX, or SWYX reporting marks
running east from Wyoming, and the
truck springs are compressed, its proba-
bly laden with soda ash.
Green River, Wyo., is on the UP sys-
temso how would this commodity get
to the Rio Grande? Via a transload. To
put downward pressure on UPs rates
after deregulation in 1980, Green River
soda ash producers began trucking some
of their commodity to the Rio Grande at
Ogden, Utah, as well as to BN at Bon-
neville, Wyo. Rio Grande originated only
68 cars a day, a fraction of UPs 300-plus
carloads a day, but apparently this was
sufficient to make a statement.
In late 2000, a third natural source of
soda ash in the U.S. came on line, Amer-
ican Soda at Parachute, Colo., on a short
spur built off the Rio Grande main line
just west of Rifle. This mine converts
nahcolite, a natural source
of sodium bicarbonate,
into soda ash. The plant
has a capacity of 1 mil-
lion tons a year, and
brought total U.S. produc-
tion capacity to 14.5 million
tons a year which is sig-
nificantly more than the U.S.
is currently selling, at least at
the price producers want to
charge. In September 2003,
American Sodas owners sold their new
plant to Solvay S.A. of Belgium, the
worlds largest producer and a major
player in Green River trona. Solvay
promptly closed the Parachute plant
except for its sodium bicarbonate pro-
duction. BNSF was getting most of this
traffic via its trackage rights on UP.
There are many other commodities
moving on the former Rio Grande: barley
for beer, hard red winter wheat for bread,
and oriented strand board, gypsum wall-
board, and brick for building construc-
tion. Their story is interesting, too. 2
Rio Grandes Antonito Turn trades empties
for loads at one of two perlite processing
plants in Antonito in April 1985. The view
looks south into New Mexico along the former
narrow-gauge line to Santa Fe: the perlite
mines lay 10 miles beyond Pinebetoso Peak,
the round mountain on the horizon.
M
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T RAI NS MAG. COM
37
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