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Question about Gondola Load

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Question about Gondola Load
Posted by tpd0418 on Saturday, July 11, 2009 1:07 PM

Hello,

I watched a television program a couple of night ago about the New York Central. It featured video from the '40s - '60s. There were a couple of different shots of passing freight trains that had open 40' gondolas with several large cannisters inside. Does anyone know what might have been carried in these cannisters and whether or not this type of load was common outside the Northeast?

Thanks.

PD

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Posted by henry6 on Saturday, July 11, 2009 1:17 PM

Sounds like cement to me.  L&NE and DL&W had a lot of them out of the Bangor and Portland area of PA fed to the likes of NYC at Maybrook.

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, July 11, 2009 3:49 PM

Those canisters were how they shipped powdered cement in the days before covered hoppers became standard. The containers would be loaded and unloaded using compressed air and could be taken off the gondolas at a jobsite. Some railroads would cut access holes into the sides of gons used in cement service to allow the crews access to the air hoses when loading. By the mid `60s though covered hoppers were pretty much the norm and the gondolas were removed from cement service.

For the most part it was Northeastern railroads like the Lehigh Valley, New York Central,etc. that handled them but I imagine they were shipped allover the country. 

 

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Posted by tpd0418 on Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:39 AM

Very helpful. Thank you!

PD

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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, July 12, 2009 5:44 PM

Did it look like this??
 

 http://www.michaelluczak.com/oscale.html

I've seen them described as coke containers also, I believe coke is also very fine and would need to be covered in trainsit.

Apparently they were an early version of containers, Lionel did a No.1 gauge version in the 20's-30's:

 

http://www.lloydralstontoys.com/nopreview/090906photos/213.jpg

 

 

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Posted by CShaveRR on Sunday, July 12, 2009 8:37 PM
Yes, coke can be fine (and transported in covered hoppers these days), but most of the time (from the 1920s until CSX's "Coke Express" hoppers still in existence) it could be transported in open-top cars--usually with increased height, since it's much less dense than coal.

As for the photo above, the background sky must be somewhere in the Twilight Zone--particularly since we're in a time warp in which that GN box car and those containers exist at the same time!

American Flyer offered a D&H gon with five round containers in S scale (I have one).

Carl

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Posted by wanswheel on Monday, February 21, 2011 5:57 AM
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Posted by henry6 on Monday, February 21, 2011 8:13 AM

Yes, the round containers were cement as I described above and as indicated in the picture of the toy train.  The square containers shown by Wanswheel are something elses again I think...earlier than the cement bottles above.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, February 21, 2011 9:07 AM

While looking for a photo of this Bulk Transfer operation, I stumbled into this website:@:

http://members.trainweb.com/bedt/indloco/dlw25.html

"INDUSTRIAL & OFFLINE TERMINAL RAILROADS
OF BROOKLYN, QUEENS, STATEN ISLAND, BRONX & MANHATTAN":

TWENTY FIFTH STREET / SOUTH BROOKLYN TERMINAL
Sunset Park, Brooklyn"

"DELAWARE, LACKAWANNA & WESTERN RAILROAD /  
ERIE LACKAWANNA RAILROAD"

Scroll down to the section :"..Post Reconstruction - circa 1930 through circa 1964..."

then scroll down: to a picture of a pneumatic unload of the bulk cement containers in a gondola to a truck for final delivery.

This is an extremely interesting web site:a thorough discussion of the New York area, and many should enjoy surfing through it. The pictures of DL&W equipment, with employees shown is a seldom seen perspective. 

I did not mean to hi-jack a Thread, but The photo on the website of the Container to delivery truck was one I had never seen and shows and early 20th Century operation and technology.

Hope some will enjoy it.

 

 


 

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Posted by henry6 on Monday, February 21, 2011 9:22 AM

Great catch, Sam!   Pics of cement canisters are indeed round...I don't believe square would handle the pressure, so I don't know what those NYC containers were for, perhaps coke as someone indicated.   Also on this site, Sam, was a list of names, one of whom I knew years later when he moved up to Binghamton for the EL...Ted Gurka then Freight Agent at 25th St.!

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Posted by NittanyLion on Monday, February 21, 2011 10:53 AM

I know there were square containers they used to transport lime in.  There's a book I have that talks extensively about a lime plant in Central PA and it specifically says that they shipped lime out in covered hoppers for large industrial clients, bagged lime in boxcars as a consumer good, and in containers in gondolas to smaller industrial customers.  There's a picture later in the book of a series of rectangular containers in an NYC gon.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Monday, February 21, 2011 11:25 AM

wanswheel

  It would be most interesting and worthwhile to know the dates of these 2 photos which show the square/ rectangular containers at a NYC yard of some kind . . .

Because what they show is the birth of the container and intermodal age !  There'd be not much point to having the 'lifting loops' on the top or runnning them to a yard with an overhead crane, if they weren't going to be lifted out of the car for some further use or service, even if just for unloading.  (The same is also true for the round cement containers that started this thread.)  I believe John Kneiling referred to these early NYC operations once or twice, and also David J. Deboer in his book Piggyback and Containers (Golden West Books, 1992). 

Thanks for finding and sharing, Mike/ wanswheel !

- Paul North. 

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, February 21, 2011 11:30 AM

A little more thrashing about revealed the following link to another Forum (ATlas);

   There are a couple of excelent photos of DL&WRR  gondolas loaded with large pressurized containers (posted by Chris333) ; scrolling down a little further there is some excelent commentary by Steve Wagner and others there referencing areas of operation and loading locations.

http://forum.atlasrr.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=55643&whichpage=2

 

 


 

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Posted by henry6 on Monday, February 21, 2011 11:57 AM

Looking at the square containers I don't believe they were pressurized like the round one's used for cement.  And even in the 1920's I believe container hauling was not new at all....it was just not for general loadings.  No, these NYC cars had a specific purpose, specific comodity...just unravel have to unravel the mystery.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, February 21, 2011 3:47 PM

Paul_D_North_Jr

 wanswheel:

http://www.canadasouthern.com/caso/images/ny-2.jpg 

  It would be most interesting and worthwhile to know the dates of these 2 photos which show the square/ rectangular containers at a NYC yard of some kind . . .

Because what they show is the birth of the container and intermodal age !  There'd be not much point to having the 'lifting loops' on the top or runnning them to a yard with an overhead crane, if they weren't going to be lifted out of the car for some further use or service, even if just for unloading.  (The same is also true for the round cement containers that started this thread.)  I believe John Kneiling referred to these early NYC operations once or twice, and also David J. Deboer in his book Piggyback and Containers (Golden West Books, 1992). 

Thanks for finding and sharing, Mike/ wanswheel !

- Paul North. 

Paul;:

A couple of things:  If you pt your cursor in the photos on the links provided by Mike/Wanswheel you can get a degree of magnification that does bring out some details in the picture. More details on the containers and if you'll notice in the photos there are a couple of 'Bilboard Reeferes: A  Swifr (Premium) Car and a BORDEN'S  Co reefer Advertises Butter and Eggs and other products as well to the left of the Borden's car is an ARMOUR Meats (Cloverbloom) car; they appear to be (a guess) probably 36' reefers which would put them some where between the 1910 to middle 1930's at the latest ( when the ICC 'outlawed' Billboard style cars in interchange service.

 

 


 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Monday, February 21, 2011 4:09 PM

samfp1943
[snip]  . . . which would put them some where between the 1910 to middle 1930's at the latest . . .

  Sam -

Thanks for the 'eagle-eye' sleuthing !  Thumbs Up  As best as I can now recall, Kneiling said the 1920's, which is right in the middle of your time estimate (above), and of course is consistent with henry6's reference to the 1920's (further above). 

I hadn't thought about these cars or containers since the last time I looked at a Lionel O Gauge trains catalog.  EDIT:  For example, see: http://www.davestrains.com/stock/6062rCans2.jpg  There's a big train show here in Allentown this coming weekend - might just go and see if I can pick up one of these for a reasonable price . . . Smile, Wink & Grin 

- Paul North. 

P.S. - From a review of a book - The Lehigh Valley Railroad across New Jersey (Images of Rail) - at: http://www.amazon.com/Lehigh-Valley-Railroad-across-Jersey/dp/0738565768 

"I learn something new in every Images of Rails book. My "pleasant discovery" in The Lehigh Valley Railroad Across New Jersey is found on the page 28-29 spread, which shows an A-B-B lashup of F units hauling several of the Lehigh Valley's 95 unique gondolas which were equipped with pressurized air containers for moving dry bulk cement from eastern Pennsylvania to the New York Harbor.

The containers would be lifted by cranes and placed on barges, which brought them to construction sites in and around New York Harbor.

These gondolas and their pressurized air containers would make an excellent modeling project for the enterprising O-scale modeler--who could probably count on selling excess inventory to other modelers intrigued by the car's shape and distinctive outline.
"  - PDN. 

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Posted by wanswheel on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 11:44 AM

Paul_D_North_Jr

 wanswheel:

http://www.canadasouthern.com/caso/images/ny-2.jpg 

  It would be most interesting and worthwhile to know the dates of these 2 photos which show the square/ rectangular containers at a NYC yard of some kind . . .

Paul, it has to be 1930s because the High Line is up around the 30th St. Yard.   In case you haven't seen it lately....

http://railyardsblog.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/historic-image-large.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3414/3250575471_3cfd1b0f9c_b.jpg?rand=169772561

Looking east from 11th Ave.  The brakeman is not on the container car, he's on a boxcar on the next track. In the distance, exactly beyond where the brakeman is standing, I can see the Hotel Pennsylvania above the top of Penn Station above the top of New York Post Office.  PRR had tunneled directly under this New York Central & Hudson River yard.

 

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Posted by henry6 on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 11:49 AM

Great pics!!!!

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 11:51 AM

Did PRR have similar devices/service?  There a few containers that look like the ones pictured above with PRR markings that are being used for sheds in some of our local yards.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:15 PM

[Mike/ wanswheel -  Thanks so much for digging out and posting those photos and that article !  Bow  I owe you one for this (again ?).  I've never seen them or a reference to them before, so this has to be one of the best abnd earliest documentatins of railroad containers.  Just read through that article - it could have been written in the 1950's about TOFC, and in the 1980's about COFC . . .  For anyone interested in the history of containerization, these are the equivalent of the "Dead Sea scrolls" !  

I'll concede the 1930's date for the photos, based on your dating them from the presence of the High Line (what a great structure and project !) - I'm not familiar enough with it to know any different (nor would i want to),  I'm more than content enough with the January 1921 dates in the "Shipper & Carrier" magazine article from its March 1921 issue to establish that as the likely dates of commencement of container service, as I stated above.

Likewise, I have to defer to your identification of those landmark buildings in that one photo - I can barely pick them out of the haze.  But no one has remarked on the early diesel (?) loco in this photo - which one do you think it is ?

wanswheel

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e390/MikeMacDonald/11th33rd.jpg

 

It's ironic that the interloper PRR tunnelled under the NYC's yard . . .  

And yes, zugmann, the PRR did have similar containers !  From some very quick and limited research, here are a couple links to more information from a model manufacturer's website, including a reference to a 1985 PRR T&HS publication on the containers:

http://www.kohs.com/PRR%20G22b%20Pages/Container%20Prod%20Sample%20Photos/Container%20Prod%20Sample%20Photos.html

 http://www.kohs.com/PRR%20G22b%20Pages/G22b%20Reference.html 

If there's any of them left - and/ or the NYC's, too for that matter - they ought to be in a museum (if they aren't already, though I doubt that).  They represent important milestones in the development of containerization, and the PRR's role in that..  I don't know if there's a museum to containers yet, but if so that's where they belong.  If not, then there's a certain state-affiiated RR museum (as well as a notable short-line RR) not far from you that ought to be quite glad to get one or two of them.  i wonder if they even know they're still extant . . . Whistling 

Thanks again to both of you. 

- Paul North.

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:18 PM

I have to get photos of them. I keep meaning to, but I don't think I ever did.  There were slightly less box-like with ribbed sides. I guess the RR was using them for storage... whether they still are or not. 

 

Of course the one yard that has 2 of these (I think it's 2) containers also has a PRR combine and 2 PRR boxes. Those are museum pieces as well.  The other yard just has a truck-less baggage and old reefer.

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Posted by wanswheel on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:47 PM

Paul, that's a Tri-power loco, which could run on battery, pantograph or third rail. 

Excerpt from Saving the Railroad Industry to Death: The Interstate Commerce Commission, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Unfulfilled Promise of Rail-Truck Cooperation by Albert Churella

http://www.h-net.org/~business/bhcweb/publications/BEHonline/2006/churella.pdf

After the NYC extended its container operations to New England in 1927, the PRR responded by lodging complaints with the ICC and establishing its own container subsidiary, the Keystone Container Car Company. Organized in October 1928, with an initial complement of 500 containers and 75 specially equipped container cars, the PRR initiated service points at New York, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo, followed by Philadelphia and South Kearney, New Jersey.

The success of containerization matched that of store-door service. In 1929, the railroad concluded that a unit of containerized freight generated only about half the revenue of an equivalent boxcar LCL movement, but cut expenses by nearly 85 percent. Containers also spent more time generating revenue, often averaging more than 80 miles per day, quadruple the rate of boxcars. By the end of 1930, more than a thousand containers graced PRR rails and the highways of the Northeast, and by 1939, the railroad transported nearly 160,000 container loads each year.

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Monday, July 12, 2021 3:40 PM

NittanyLion
  There's a book I have that talks extensively about a lime plant in Central PA

Probably National Gypsum on the Bellefonte Central

Class of 74, what about you?

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Posted by Gramp on Monday, July 12, 2021 9:13 PM

How different the freight transport world would be today if container innovation had been allowed to develop circa 1930. 

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Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:29 AM

BEAUSABRE

 

 
NittanyLion
  There's a book I have that talks extensively about a lime plant in Central PA

 

Probably National Gypsum on the Bellefonte Central

Class of 74, what about you?

 

Yeah, the photo is in Rails to Penn State

Class of 2007

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Posted by cv_acr on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 12:04 PM

wjstix
I've seen them described as coke containers also, I believe coke is also very fine and would need to be covered in trainsit.

Raw coke (produced from coal) can actually be quite coarse, and I believe the square open-top containers shown at bottom right here were indeed often used for shipping low-volume quantities of coke and/or other bulk commodities:

http://www.canadasouthern.com/caso/images/ny-2.jpg

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 6:59 PM

cv_acr
Raw coke (produced from coal) can actually be quite coarse, and I believe the square open-top containers shown at bottom right here were indeed often used for shipping low-volume quantities of coke and/or other bulk commodities:

A regular train through Deshler is the "Coke Express" - so marked on the sides of the extended hoppers.  

With the view from the camera, one can't tell the coal from the coke.

Coke is lighter that coal.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:31 PM

tree68
 
cv_acr
Raw coke (produced from coal) can actually be quite coarse, and I believe the square open-top containers shown at bottom right here were indeed often used for shipping low-volume quantities of coke and/or other bulk commodities: 

A regular train through Deshler is the "Coke Express" - so marked on the sides of the extended hoppers.  

With the view from the camera, one can't tell the coal from the coke.

Coke is lighter that coal.

I seem to recall CSX shipping 'Petroleum Coke' that was very fine - almost powder like.  I would be shipped in covered hoppers.

Coke that is made from coal has had all the volatile fractions 'baked off' leaving something that is mostly pure carbon.

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 10:09 PM

BaltACD
I seem to recall CSX shipping 'Petroleum Coke' that was very fine - almost powder like.  I would be shipped in covered hoppers. Coke that is made from coal has had all the volatile fractions 'baked off' leaving something that is mostly pure carbon.

A co-gen here used to burn coal, and, I heard, "pet coke," or petroleum coke.  It came in open hoppers and AFAIK would be piled outside just like coal. 

The plant now burns "biomass" (wood chips) that comes in by truck.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 7:43 PM

Pet coke has increased as a result of oil sand/bitumen refining.  Quite a pile built up at the Detroit refinery.  It was blowing around the neighborhood and into the Detroit river.  It's a health hazard, and the DEQ finally ordered it removed.

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