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Did railroads ever actually use ore cars for wood chips?

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Did railroads ever actually use ore cars for wood chips?
Posted by Southgate on Thursday, April 12, 2018 1:08 AM

I've seen MDC (I think) ore cars with extended height tops for wood chip use. Was this real? As chips were far lighter than any ore could be...-------

I edited this post down because I couldn't delete it. After posting, I found a thread answering my questions.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/p/199266/2211959.aspx?page=2

Perhaps a moderator could delete it. Dan.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, April 12, 2018 1:56 AM

Southgate
I've seen MDC (I think) ore cars with extended height tops for wood chip use.

Why delete what could turn into a good conversation?

Maybe instead of wood chips the ore cars could be put into coke service.

Bowser has several types of PRR hopper cars that were converted to coke service.

Usually coke was made close to the blast furnaces that used it. After so many coke retorts were shut down and mills consolidated the coke was transported greater distances.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by mlehman on Thursday, April 12, 2018 4:15 AM

Southgate
I've seen MDC (I think) ore cars with extended height tops for wood chip use. Was this real? As chips were far lighter than any ore could be.

The sideboards on ore cars were typically an upgrade done in the process of converting the Iron Range mines to roduce tacnite, rather than raw ore. Taconite is formed into pellets, but this maaakes it lighter. Hence the extensions to carry more ore that was lighter as taconite,

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, April 12, 2018 9:01 AM

Yes, the extensions were for taconite service. Taconite is a low-grade ore that has to be processed to be brought up to the % of iron ore (about 60% IIRC) needed in blast furnaces when making steel. Iron ore pellets are round, which caused two problems when using standard ore cars. First, when you stack up round things you get a lot of air in between, meaning filling a car to the top with pellets would result in a lighter load than using raw ore. Second, raw ore is wet and sticky normally, so you can load it quite a ways above the top of the car. Round pellets like marbles will just roll off if they're stacked over the top of the sides. To compensate, the extensions were added to ore cars so the cars would be able to carry the same tonnage of pellets as raw ore.

In the winter, when ore trains weren't running due to Lake Superior being frozen over, the DM&IR did sometimes use ore cars to haul coal (brought in by boat during the shipping season) to a power plant in Duluth.

Stix
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Posted by Track fiddler on Thursday, April 12, 2018 4:27 PM

Hey Stix how you doing. Still holding down the fort in Shakopee I would imagine.

I concur. Ore cars were used to haul coal during the off-season. I remember hearing about this growing up north of the Duluth area. Ore cars were used to take coal to a large coal tipple faculty in Proctor Minnesota and others in the surrounding area in the 50s. 

I also remember reading about how DMIR would lease out a large number of ore cars during the winter months to some railroad between Chicago and Michigan. I can't remember which railroad though.

Always better to utilize equipment and turn a buck then let things sit and seize up.

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Posted by NHTX on Friday, April 13, 2018 5:44 AM

   Southgate, there are two reasons that work against using ore cars to haul woodchips.  First, the cubic capacity of an ore car is extremely small.  Iron ore or, in today's world, taconite is so much more dense than even coal, hence the ore car which is maybe less than half the length of a 70 ton coal hopper.  Even the 100 ton coal cars would be inefficient in woodchip service since the car would be overly full of woodchips long before its tonnage limit was reached.  That is why most railroads that hauled a lot of woodchips employed cars up to 70 feet long, and as tall as the average boxcar.  The second point against ore jennies in woodchip service is cross-contamination.  Wet ore (mud) clinging to the inside of the car may render the load unusable.  This another reason most railroads use cars dedicated to chips only.  The Western Maryland required loaded wood chip cars be placed in the train ahead of loaded coal hoppers or any other open loads that could contaminate them through wind action.  No one can say chips NEVER moved in ore cars but, it was not the preferred method.

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, April 14, 2018 8:25 AM

Keep in mind when models of that era were designed, model railroading was probably more of a freelanced hobby.  Those cars were advertised to be suitable in both mining and logging layouts of a freelanced nature, IMO.

Today, many more modelers are picky about whether or not a model represents and actual car used in real life, as if a car designed for plausible freelancing is somehow a lower quality car.

- Douglas

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Posted by dirtyd79 on Sunday, April 15, 2018 6:44 PM

I have heard of old ore cars being used to haul sand so it wouldn't surprise me if somebody somewhere put extensions on `em and used `em to haul woodchips too.

"The problem is that there are too many stupid people in the world and no one to eat them."- Carlos Mencia
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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:59 PM

The Milwaukee Road (whose cars the MDC 'rectangular side' HO ore cars are based on) had a number of those cars lettered for subsidiary CTSE (which IIRC was Chicago, Terre Haute & SouthEastern...?). I recall someone speculating that it might be they were assigned to CTSE because they went there in the winter to be used in hauling coal to Chicago. Would kinda make sense, Great Lakes freeze over so no ore shipments, and in the steam / transition era coal was used for heating much more than today. 

p.s. Hi to you Track Fiddler, although I've never actually lived in Shakopee. I'm about 20 miles east, only a few miles from the cheesy hordes across the St.Croix river. Wink

Stix
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Posted by ckape on Monday, April 16, 2018 1:13 AM

I think even the DM&IR, who repurposed old ore jennys into sand cars, scale test cars, and ballast hoppers would consider using them to haul wood chips a bit silly.

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Posted by Southgate on Monday, April 16, 2018 1:29 AM

ckape

I think even the DM&IR, who repurposed old ore jennys into sand cars, scale test cars, and ballast hoppers would consider using them to haul wood chips a bit silly.

 

Me too. I'll use 'em for ballast hoppers and sand also. Thank you for the links, maybe I'll 'bash a scale car too! Dan

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