Author Topic: Carbon Black Hoppers  (Read 5858 times)

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Denver Road Doug

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Carbon Black Hoppers
« on: March 21, 2007, 01:32:00 PM »
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I decided to start a new topic on this since I was hijacking the other thread "Favorite Freight Car".

I alluded to a trip I took to the "Carbon Black Capital of the World".  To get there, you go twenty miles past the middle of nowhere and take a right.  Seriously, the town is Borger, TX located about an hour northeast of Amarillo.  I was up there last year and took around 500 photos of carbon black cars.  I was fortunate that the yardmaster of the Panhandle Northern allowed me to "roam" a little bit as long as I minded my P's & Q's.



This one is not from Borger, but rather Fort Worth, TX.  I'm curious where these cars go, so if you see them in your locale I'd be interested in hearing about them, what plants they service, etc.  I know locally they go to tire plants, and carbon black is used in tons of different things like ink, plastics, etc.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 04:08:07 PM by Denver Road Doug »
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lock4244

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2007, 01:50:39 PM »
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Here's a few I see often round Toronto (none of these are my pic's BTW, all from http://freight.railfan.ca/).





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3rdrail

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 02:42:08 PM »
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I called on the carbon black plants in the "Cajun Country" of Louisiana for about a year almost exactly forty years ago (Cabot Carbon and United Carbon) for the PRR and by far the majority of the carbon black went to tire plants. I believe there was one ink plant near Detroit, though, that got an occasional car. The most interesting car that was used though was a round ended gondola that held six huge rubber "bags" of carbon black. Never thought to bring my camera with me. Boy, if you think things get dirty around coal handling facilities, you've never been to a carbon black plant. There's an oily black film on everything. Don't wear a light colored suit!  8)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 02:56:53 PM by 3rdrail »

tom mann

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 02:45:07 PM »
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So why all the different hopper types?  Is the only criteria matte black paint?

3rdrail

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 03:02:37 PM »
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So why all the different hopper types?  Is the only criteria matte black paint?
They paint 'em that color because they're going to end up that color anyhow. Sort of like steam locomotives. The material is an extremely fine oily powder.

Agatheron

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2007, 04:00:05 PM »
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I've been looking at ways to model/represent Carbon Black hoppers, since I'm planning on building a tire factory on my layout. The shots of the hoppers from around Toronto often find their way out to the Michelin Tire Plant near New Glasgow, Nova Scotia (my prototype). I remember taking a picture of one train which had three different types of hoppers side-by-side... yet all Carbon Black.

So far as I'm aware, nobody makes the boxcar looking hopper as of yet, but the other types are easily duplicated by taking an existing hopper and painting them matte black. I've hardly seen a speck of rust on the cars that I've seen, but they're never shiny to be sure...

Denver Road Doug

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2007, 04:26:59 PM »
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The only semi-modern carbon black cars I know of in n-scale are:
-Micro-Trains Can-Carb ACF Hopper.  There are hoppers of the ACF design used for carbon black service, and this one certainly captures that look.  Needs to have the side spigots applied and probably a few other details, but overall probably the best option.
-Minitrix Cylindrical Hopper- available on eBay with a United Carbon Company scheme or something similar.  It's black, and it has carbon plastered on it, but I don't think they ever used cylindrical hoppers for carbon service...but I could be wrong.
-Atlas advertises their 2-bay Covered Hoppers as used in carbon black service as well, which is probably accurate at some level.
-I think Intermountain may have a carbon black scheme or two on its ACF's as well but I cannot recall for sure.

The most common semi-modern (not built after 1990) carbon black cars are the 4727/5750cf cars (e.g. the SidRich car) which are similar externally and were owned by just about any company with carbon in their name somewhere. (I'm pulling the cf's from memory, I'll confirm when I get home)  They were built starting in the mid-60's and are still around en force today.  So they will probably be the broadest appeal if a model gets done.
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 04:29:11 PM »
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So why all the different hopper types?  Is the only criteria matte black paint?

Yes, like the Fort Model T, you can get carbon black hoppers in any color you want as long as it's black!
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sirenwerks

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 04:42:26 PM »
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What seems to set these cars apart from other covered hoppers though is the  bay outlets. They all seem to be conical in shape, whether round or flat-sided. I think even the ACF-looking cars have that sort of chute on them.
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

Agatheron

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 04:46:33 PM »
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Right now Athearn makes a PS2 2893 Covered hopper that is very similar to some of the Carbon Black hoppers I've seen feeding the Michelin Plant. Here's a link to the undecorated version of the model:

http://www.athearn.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=ATH11350

Flat black with appropriate decals and I think my tire factory will be in business...

SAH

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 06:40:08 PM »
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Here's some info I've had around for a few years.  Came from one of the freight car forums.  A former CNW sales guy who had a tire plant in Des Moines as part of his territory provided this on Carbon Black:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carbon Black -- It's made in many grades and is used as a reinforcing
and pigmenting agent for the tires. There were many origins for
this: Deguassa had plants in Belpre, OH & New Iberia, LA; Sid
Richardson had plants in Borger, TX, Addis, LA & Big Spring, TX;
Columbian had a plant in El Dorado, AR (?), Cabot in Tate Cove, LA
and Aransas Pass, TX. For a current list of carbon black plants, try
www.chemexpo.com/news/PROFILE000529.cfm. There were other minor
suppliers to the Des Moines plants but the ones I listed were the
ones who were the major players. Each plant would always order
product from several suppliers. In nearly all cases, the cars were
relatively small, specialty covered hoppers owned or leased by the
shipper. They were always black covered hoppers but came in a wide
variety of sizes. For example, I see in the listing that Sid
Richardson's were marked SRCX and came in 50, 55, 70, 77, 79.5 and
80.5 ton capacities. The fun part was that you had to come up with
individual rates to charge for each size car, but that's a discussion
for another time. One of the big problems that the shippers had was
controlling their private car fleets. The tire plants just love
to hang on to the shipper's cars for weeks on end, at no charge. The
reason is that the carbon black comes in many grades and the plant
will choose to unload only part of one car, then part of another car,
etc, as they mix and match the various "black" grades for the type of
tire compound that they happen to be producing. The plants didn't
normally store much of the carbon black in their own storage
facilities but used the RR cars since it was easier (an cheaper) to
use the cars for storage. So, if modeling, you need storage tracks
in and around tire plants to use as "parking" for the carbon black
cars that always sit around. You'll also need to be spotting and
pulling cars to and from the unloading area per the plant's specific
requests each day. For example, you may have 10 cars on hand, and
they'll ask for SRCX 1350 to be spotted from storage to "spot 1" and
CCX 602 to "spot 2" for unloading and pull SRCX 1207 and hold it
(partially unloaded) and pull SRCX 1357 empty, return route to
Borger, TX. So, the instructions could be much more complex than
just "spot in the loaded car / pull out the empty" each day. In
terms of volume, there wasn't quite as much carbon black moving to
the plants vs. rubber (in terms of cars/year) but it always seemed
like there was more carbon black since there were always cars sitting
around. Also, unlike carbon black plants where all of the cars would
tend to be marked the same (SRCX, etc), tire plants would typically
have a variety of cars of different types from several (usually 3-4)
different suppliers.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Modern CB cars also have relatively small hatches on top, and lots of them.  The cars are also pretty tall - comparable to hi-cube clearances.  I'd like to see an N scale version of the recent HO scale Rail Shops CB hopper too.  Eventually my layout will model it's way to Akron, OH so CB hoppers are a must have for me.

I understand Eric Neubauer did a book covering Carbon Black Cars - Freight Cars Journal Monograph #15.  Has anyone seen a copy?  Also MM and RMC have had articles covering the older cars.  I have the issue Mo/Yr in case anyone is interested.

Steve

SAH

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2007, 06:54:58 PM »
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A goggle search of Eric Neubauer led me to this site and the CB book.

http://www.enter.net/%7Eeaneubauer/catalog.pdf

Steve

Denver Road Doug

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2007, 08:32:17 PM »
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I have Mr. Neubauer's "Carbon Black Cars" book and it definitely has just about everything you want to know about Carbon Black cars through 1990.  I bought mine about a year ago and he still had some left then.

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lock4244

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2007, 08:47:48 PM »
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Columbian Chemicals has a plant in Hamilton, Ontario. Cabot has a plant in Sarnia, Ontario. Their cars are the most common in southern Ontario, though we do see a good number of the Sid Richardson cars, too.
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: Carbon Black Hoppers
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2007, 02:04:17 PM »
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Guys,  if any of you are interested in seeing one of these cars in n-scale (or ho-scale) please e-mail me off the board.  Probably talking about the 4727/5750cf car (e.g. the SidRich car) since it wins the "most unique vs. most ubiquitous" sweepstakes, but it's not set in stone.

Mods: I don't currently have a financial interest in this, just trying to facilitate information and research to interested parties.  If you feel this oversteps the bounds of market research on the forum, please remove.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 03:36:56 PM by Denver Road Doug »
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