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Bottle Cars

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Bottle Cars
Posted by Sawtooth500 on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 10:29 PM

How much does a loaded bottle car weight?

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Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 10:56 PM

The above photo is a Bottle Car for Molten Metal Transport.   Some time back TRAINS

ran an article referencing a move of these cars, which is a regular move around Chicago area involving the IHB RR and NS. 

Note the 6 wheel 'Buckeye-style ' Trucks.  

This link shows a bottle car with a pair of Buckeye trucks on the outboard ends and standard freight trucks inboard.

http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2754494160087960215iHBgOb

This link to the Armco Steel Operations around Middletown,Ohio says on its[PDF] page 1 that the Bottle Cars they used in the later period of its operation were of 200 ton Capacity.

www.lanepl.org/scanned/railroads/railroads%2091-97.pdf

 I would guess that the Bottle Car with the 3+2 and 2+3 truck configuration would most likely go over two hundred tons of weight when loaded(?)

Hope this helps with your question on Bottle Cars.

 

 


 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:31 AM

The data for this photo of INLX 154 says 870,000 lbs. [435 tons]:

 http://www.railcarphotos.com/PhotoDetails.php?PhotoID=44029

But since the car appears to have only 10 axles, I'm skeptical of that figure - that would be 87K per axle, way heavier than the usual 72K to 80K max. seen on AAR general service freight cars, esp. considering the tight curves and poor condition of a lot of steel mill trackage.  Instead, I suspect the caption writer misunderstood/ mislabeled the numbers, and the Gross Weight is 520,000 lbs. [260 tons] or 52K per axle (about right in my opinion), a Light Weight of 350,000 lbs. [175 tons], for a payload of 170,000 lbs. [85 tons]. 

Data for these things is hard to come by, since it's not usually stencilled on the sides of the 'bottle' - where it could be seen easily - because the heat would burn paint off really quickly. 

See also this website from a Chinese manufacturer of them:

http://www.hpwygroup.com/Products_show.asp?id=54387&bigid=48&smid=87 

- Paul North. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by Modelcar on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:44 AM

...Question on bottle cars...Over time, does molten metal get "built up" on the inside of these carriers, and If so...how would it be possible to remove the unwanted "metal" fastened to the innards of the "bottle"....? 

Quentin

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Posted by CShaveRR on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:57 AM

I seem to recall that the Interlake Steel bottle cars (the IHB-NS move referenced by Sam) had been upgraded with 36-inch wheels and 100-ton axles.  If that's the fact, their truck configuration would allow a nominal capacity of 250 tons.  Gross rail load would be 286000 X 10/4 (axles in this car divided by axles in a normal 286K GRL car), or 715000 pounds:  about 357 tons.

If I'm mistaken, and the trucks are comprised of only "70-ton" wheelsets, there would still be a gross rail load of 550000 pounds--275 tons.

I recall watching trains at Dolton Junction one crisp January day when one of the bottle trains went by.  Plenty of steam in the air, and a noticeable warmth from the cars as they passed.

Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

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Posted by gsrrmn on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:58 AM

Yes, the metal does build up aroind  the pour spout at the top of the car.  It is remobed by pneoumtic hammers.  Some bottle cars have a capacity of 320 metric tons (704000 lbs) and ride on 18 axles, nine on each end of the car.

 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:41 AM

This 2008 "Steel Industry Forum" thread on "Bethlehem 330 T Torpedo" says that the largest in the US were Bethlehem Steel's 330-Ton capacity cars, with a photo of one with 16 axles = 4 trucks of 4 axles each:

http://todengine.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=3564282#post34418771 

This recent (2011) Yahoo! group "STEEL" thread on "Bottle cars " says that that the cars were rated by the load weight, not the gross weight, and that the largest were Bethlehem's 350-ton cars at Sparrows Point (Baltimore, MD):

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/STEEL/message/43623 

I like the first line of that post by Rick Rowlands:

"There is actually a lot of bottle car info. available to me anyways, tucked away in my office.  All that stuff is classified! J

See also his 2007 post under the "Torpedo Car Roster" thread at:

 http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/STEEL/message/17679  

So maybe 870,000 lbs. is possible, but on 16 or 18 axles, not just 10 - that would be 54.4K or 48.3K per axle, which seems OK to me. 

- Paul North. 

 

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Posted by Sawtooth500 on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 11:11 AM

Is the reason that there is usually an empty gon in between bottle cars to spread them out a bit more, so that when crossing a bridge the load on the bridge is not as great?

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Posted by gsrrmn on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 11:37 AM

Yes, thy do not want to exceed the load limit of the bridge and cause it to collapse.  By the way the build up around the top of the bottlle car is called "Skull".

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 11:46 AM

That's the most likely reason, but there are others (in no particular order): 

  • To give the trainmen a place to hang onto/ ride the cut, other than on the very hot bottle car;
  • To give them a place to make a 'cut' to uncouple them, again other than right next to the very hot bottle car (although if there's only a single gon as a spacer, then both ends of the gon would be next to one hot car or the other);
  • So that there's also an idler between the bottle car and the locomotive, for both weight-spreading and heat isolation/ insulation and hazardous-material/ situation separation purposes; and,
  • So that in the event of a derailment, there's a car other than a hot bottle car to be able to work next to or couple onto to drag it back over the rerailing frog, hump, or blocks, etc.   

The intense heat emanating from those things and similar hot ingot cars, etc., which necessitates the use of spacer cars for that purpose, has to be felt to be believed and understood - and it's a good way to demonstrate the 'wave' nature of heat, light, and other electromagnetic radiation.  I've stood a good hundred feet from an ingot car on a cold late January afternoon in about 20 deg. F and 20 MPH winds, and my face was slowly baking, while my back was pretty darn cold.  That's a very compelling way to illustrate how a lot of heat can be transferred through and across a lot of cold air, without warming that air up very much !  And when we had to do emergency trackwork in such conditions, we'd ask the steel mill to park one nearby (preferably upwind where possible), to help the laborers keep warm and also to thaw the frozen ballast and mud !   

Bottle cars are also known as ladle, torpedo, submarine, and Themos cars, among other monickers - seems to be a regional thing as to the local preference.

- Paul North.   

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 1:16 PM

Having had the opportunity to watch Erie-Lackawanna work at rerailing a derailed bottle car at the Haselton area of Youngstown, OH - I can vouch for the difficulty in coaxing the loaded bottle car back on the track - using two 200 Ton wreck cranes - not the traditional wood blocking and replacer frogs.  I can vouch for Paul North's statements about the heat emanating from the bottle car and the facts that those that had to be close to the car to perform their duties - weren't there a second longer than they had to be.

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Posted by Sawtooth500 on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 1:34 PM

I'm guessing though if a bottle car derails it's gonna be a while until it gets back on track - so in that time the steel inside of it would have cooled significantly making it a nightmare then for the steel mill, but much easier for the RR, correct?

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Posted by gsrrmn on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:12 PM

Unless a bottle car is in a steel plant the opening at the top is usually covered iwth a special reflective material that keeps the heat in.  Covered hey can stay hot up to 24 hours.  If the steel does harden they just scrp the car, because it is totally useless.

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Posted by Kootenay Central on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:49 PM
The photo of the 4-truck 16-axle car is amazing! Thank You.
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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 3:08 PM

I am not involved in the steel industry, with that being said, the bottle cars are insulated so the heat of the molten steel can stay in the molten mass.  If a $20 plastic cooler can keep ice, mostly ice for 24 hours - I am certain the insulation and car construction of the bottle cars would keep the steel pourable for a much longer period of time than 24 hours.  Most bottle runs are short distance...the one that originated at Haselton terminated in a plant at Warren, OH - about 18 miles from the point of origin.  Many of the other runs that have been mentioned were intra-plant moves within the confines of the entire steel making facility (such plants can cover several square miles). 

Railroads involved in moving bottle cars are well aware of the time sensitive nature of the lading and respond immediately when a incident occurs.  In the Haselton-Warren business, EL had wreck cranes stationed at Haselton and at Warren and could quickly get both to the scene of any incident and thus normally have one on either end of the car(s) involved.

Sawtooth500

I'm guessing though if a bottle car derails it's gonna be a while until it gets back on track - so in that time the steel inside of it would have cooled significantly making it a nightmare then for the steel mill, but much easier for the RR, correct?

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 4:54 PM

Links to still photos and a 2 min. 56 sec. video (neither are mine) from 1992 of filling and switching a bottle car at the Bethlehem Plant of Bethlehem Steel Co.: 

 http://home.comcast.net/~steelmanjules/fillhotmetal_page.html

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN-vBlGoHBk 

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Posted by gsrrmn on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 5:18 PM

I have a lot of pictures of all sizes of hot metal cars.  The original paint burns off of them VERY quickly and mny look rested after only a month.

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Posted by Sawtooth500 on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 5:24 PM

Why bother even painting them in the first place? It would make more sense to engrave car numbers and other information on them. 

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Posted by rrnut282 on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 5:44 PM

While engraving would work, many melt a welding rod on the sides, moving it like a pencil to "write" the car number in steel.

Mike (2-8-2)
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Posted by gsrrmn on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 7:11 PM

They are pinted at the factory. Why I do not know because its gone very quickly

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 8:37 PM

Some numbers appear to be large and thick in 'relief' that are either cast with the shell or welded on later.   

- Paul North.

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Posted by mhurley87f on Friday, November 18, 2011 7:38 AM

Many people jump to the conclusion that the product being conveyed in your Bottle Cars (aka Torpedo Cars here in South Wales) is Steel.

It's not, it's actually Liquid Iron, as tapped from a Blast Furnace, and which has a much lower Melting / Solidifying temperature than Steel, allowing a good few hours for movements from a Blast Furnace to a Convertor Plant.

My experience of work at a Steel Works was over 40 years as a Sandwich Year Student (and very much still wet behind the ears!) and I found the time spent at Port Talbot very very interestng, not least for the chance to see close up their internal rail transport arrangements.

Not only had the erstwhile Steel Company of Wales acquired ALCO locos, but it seems their Rail Engineer spent his time wisely before the diesel change-over by visiting the US to study how your maintenance facilities were laid out, and British Railways followed suit a few years later with tri-level workshops etc.

In latter years, remote control technology has been adopted for most internal rail operations, and I was able to see this at first hand when my Stepson, my Grandson, and I, were invited one day to take a cab ride of 500 yards or so, when we were the only occupants of the cab as the loco was being "driven" by the driver walking away from the loco in advance of the shunt to optimise his view of what was happening.

The driver, however, did go on to clarify that the one "job" within the complex that would never be taken over by remote control technology was the movement of Torpedo cars. He explained that should anything go wrong when a Blast Furnace was being tapped, and the Torpedo Cars needed to be moved away from their normal parking spot under the Furnace Cast House, they'd have to be rushed away at a faster speed than remote control operations allowed.

Also, from memory, the rail used on the route taken by the Torpedo cars, and also the Ingot trains from the Convertor plant to the then Stripper Bay was significantly heavier than that used elsewhere with in the works, and which was in the main heavier than that then used on BR's mainlines.

Hwyl,

Martin  

 

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Posted by Rikers Yard on Friday, November 18, 2011 3:03 PM

        U. S. called them hot metal cars. They are lined with refactory [ fire ] bricks, or as we called them "poverty rocks".  I once saw photos of a car that had broken open on an inner plant move.  After the metal had cooled they hooked several Cat 988 loaders to the whole thing, dragged it aside, replaced the track and cut the car and load up for scrap.

                                                                                               Tim

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, November 25, 2011 10:41 AM

Most of my experience comes from observing the Interlake Steel bottle train over more years than I would be willing to admit.  The only painted numbers that I've ever seen on the cars could be found on the tilting mechanism, away from the worst heat.  Reporting marks (ISCX) and numbers on the bottle would be in the form of a large casting, no paint.

In the mid to late 1960's, smaller bottle cars were used that rode on two 6-wheel Buckeye trucks, no span bolsters needed.  The larger cars with two trucks on each end came a bit later.  The earlier trains (around 1967) ran with two spacer cars between each loaded bottle and two spacer cars between the bottle and the locomotive or caboose.  Trains often returned empty to the blast furnace plant with the bottles coupled directly to each other with most spacers between the locomotive and the first bottle and two spacers between the last bottle and the caboose.

Interlake's Chicago plant had a most interesting arrangement.  The coke ovens were located along Torrence Avenue between 112th Street and 116th Street.  The coke was transported by conveyor over the Calumet River to the blast furnace at 108th and Burley.  The steelmaking furnaces and finishing mills were located in Riverdale, with the bottle train delivering the molten iron from the blast furnace to the Riverdale facility.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul

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