Concentrate cars

Discussion in 'Freight Equipment' started by Larry F., Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    In the newest Railroad Model Craftsman there is an article on copper concentrate cars built for the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific. What is of interest is the Frisco ordered 4 modified cars (#s 63900-03) of this design in 1967 for hauling lead concentrate in the lead belt. Anyone have any more info on theses cars (i.e. why only 4 cars and how long did they last in service)? Any photos? Thanks. Larry F.
  2. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    Why only 4 cars? Because those cars were purchased to protect lead concentrate movements to the ASARCO Glover (Missouri) Smelter, and the only mine in the Viburnum Trend shipping concentrate to Glover was the Ozark Lead Company Sweetwater Mine (not Fletcher, as stated in the RMC article. Fletcher was a St. Joe Lead property.)

    Glover was built as a toll smelter, which means it solicited lead concentrate from any supplier to smelt it on a contract basis. (ASARCO did not own any lead mines in Missouri until it bought out Ozark Lead in the 1980's.) The sinter plant at Glover was designed to receive concentrate delivery via bottom dump railcars, and it had a truck-to-railcar transfer area at the southeast corner of the plant site. This is why ASARCO ordered 12 concentrate cars with no air brakes for in-plant use, as mentioned in the RMC article.

    Since the Sweetwater Mine was the southern-most mine in the Viburnum Trend, and the mine farthest from Frisco end-of-track near Buick, the truck haul from Sweetwater Mine to the Buick truck-to-rail transfer point was about 3/4 of the distance of a straight truck haul east to Glover. In my explorations of mines and mills I had never heard of Sweetwater moving any concentrate by rail. I would venture that Ozark learned pretty quickly that it could save costs by direct trucking, and the Frisco's special concentrate cars became an albatross, especially with all other shippers of concentrate in this area using gondolas.
    Karl and William Jackson like this.
  3. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    I appreciate the reply...succinct and to the point. That area has always held a fascination for me and I wish I could have seen it in it's heyday. Thank you. Larry
  4. Gale Hall

    Gale Hall Member

    In the December 2015 RMC is an interesting article on concentrate copper and lead cars. If you passed over it, you need to go back and read thru it to glean out 5 or so spots where the Frisco cars are talked about, moving lead concentrate in Iron County Missouri. There is no drawing of the Frisco cars, but the ASARCO are from the same builder and time. You could almost say there is too much information but remember the air cylinders are at both ends of the car, even the B end, with watching the section drawing, because the B end drawings omit the cylinders in the background. Also in the article is information of A&M xSP 341's in sand service, Tune Concrete in Rogers, AR used to get sand in these cars, A&M tends to group a car type to a customer.
    Have not seen this type lately so not real sure how large the former 36 car fleet is now. Gale Hall
  5. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Yes, it was a very good one to, I was looking, thanks for you input. It was great!

Share This Page