Corn Syrup Traffic

Discussion in 'Freight Operations' started by meteor910, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Just back from a week in Olathe getting another granddaughter "fix"! ;) Saw a neat BNSF train in Olathe Tuesday night composed of a solid block of about 40-50 corn syrup tank cars. Reminded me of the WW-2 oil trains, except that it had these two big-ass GE's on the point!

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  2. Steve40cal

    Steve40cal Member

    The Cherokee Sub dispatcher refers to the corn syrup train as the Coca-Cola train. If it is the same one that comes down the Cherokee sub to Tulsa, then south on the Creek sub. Not sure of the frequency of this train but surely that many cars of corn syrup would last a while. Steve BNSF Signal Dept. |-|
     
  3. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Frisco.org Supporter

    The "Coca Cola" train has no regular schedule. It used to come through on Sunday night, but that hasn't been the case for some time now. It goes to Irving, Texas to a Coca Cola plant I assume. It originates in Iowa I think or possibly Nebraska and comes through KC down the Ft. Scott sub. I will try to find out more particulars and post them. Terry
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  4. bob_wintle

    bob_wintle Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I am wondering if that is the tank train that came through Parsons on the old Katy Cherokee sub yesterday afternoon about 2:00 pm or so. We see one of these once in a great while. I remember seeing one that was anentire train of Minnesota Corn Proccessors last fall. It is nice to see something different like that from time to time.
    Bob Wintle
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  5. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    We saw it Tuesday night at about 6:30pm heading west at the BNSF Santa Fe street crossing in Olathe. Kurt and I were out to pick up some pizza's for dinner and the corn syrup train caught us at the crossing. I forget who the corn syrup supplier was, but most all the cars were identical, and all were very clean looking.

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  6. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Currently, nearly every merchandiser on the Cuba sub has loaded or empty corn syrup cars in its consist. Some are lettered for ADM in Decatur, IL ("ADM Corn Sweeteners"). Other owners are represented, too. A conservative estimate would be ten to fifteen cars per train along with the coil steel, grain and chemical traffic. Some trains have more than one block of these stubby, black tank cars.


    Commercial production of high fructose corn syrup sweetener began in the mid-1970's so this traffic could have been in place during Frisco operation. In addition, high DE (dextrose equivalent or glucose) corn syrups were in production prior to that for all kinds of industrial and food industry uses, so it is reasonable to expect lots of it went by rail from points beyond St. Louis on the Frisco through Springfield to points beyond.

    I do not know if starch would have traveled in bulk in a covered hopper; it certainly would have been in sacks or barrels in box cars.

    Does anyone remember consists with corn syrup cars or starch cars from before 1979?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  7. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Tate & Lyle was the supplier/shipper of the corn syrup in the BNSF train Kurt and I saw in Olathe Tuesday evening. Each of the tank cars had Tate & Lyle's name on it. There were no other cars in the train.

    Corn syrup must have a high specific gravity, hence the relatively small tank. As WindsorSpring noted, the t/c's are short and stubby, but big diameter. Kind of a neat looking t/c.

    Plus, they were all clean as can be. No matter who the customer is - Pepsi, Coke, Dr Pepper, R-C, etc, they insist on this. They will not accept a grungy tank car. I know, I used to sell them phosphoric acid. We almost had to Simonize our cars (which were painted white)!

    Ken
     
  8. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Tate & Lyle bought A. E. Staley in 1988 taking over corn-processing plants in Lafayette, IN and Decatur, IL among other places. Wikipedia mentions a Fort Dodge plant under construction. Sighting of the train might indicate completion and on-stream.

    In the old days, Staley product of Decatur origin and possibly also Lafayette could have passed through St. Louis to the southwest.
     
  9. bob_wintle

    bob_wintle Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Corn syrup must have a high specific gravity, hence the relatively small tank. As WindsorSpring noted, the t/c's are short and stubby, but big diameter. Kind of a neat looking t/c.

    Whew, I am sure glad you made it clear you were talking Corn Syrup! For a minute there I thought you were describing me. Seriously this is great information and I appreciate it. There may well be a new industry on my layout due in thanks to information I got from this subject. thanks again.
    High Specific Gravity Boy
    Bob Wintle
     
  10. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Corn syrup will have a higher specific gravity than water due to the solid (fructose) being in solution.

    Corn syrups are described by their Brix degree number. Brix degree by definition is the percentage dissolved sugar by mass to the total mass of solution. Example: a 75 Brix degree solution in water is 75% sugar by mass to 25% water by mass in the solution.

    Most corn syrups moving about (for economic reasons) have Brix numbers from 78.4 to 86.4 degrees. The corresponding specific gravities for these Brix values is 1.405 and 1.459. This means that the corn syrup weighs 1.405 to 1.459 times the same volume of water. Water weighs 8.34 lbs per gallon. If those tank cars had corn syrup with a Brix of 86.4, then a 30,000 gallon tank full of it would weigh 30,000gal x 8.34lb/gal x 1.459 = 365,041.8 lbs! not counting tare weight.

    It looks like most syrup cars are designed to carry around a max of 201,000 lbs of syrup - about 17,000 gals of the high 86.4 Brix solution.

    Thanks to my sweet tooth and the History Channels Modern Marvels "Snack Food Tech" this subject is near and dear to my heart!
     
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  11. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Keith - No way those little short stubby corn syrup tank cars we saw in Olathe could be 30,000 gallons capacity. I didn't note any of the data on the cars (should have - we were close enough), but I'll wager they are sized volume-wise for 100-105 tons max on the trucks. The trucks were all r/b with what looked to be 36" wheels.

    Do any of the model makers offer anything like a corn syrup t/c?

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  12. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    You mistook my statement; since I had not seen the cars, I implied if the tank car was 30,000 gals then they would be about 400,000 gross weight.

    My next statement alluded to the fact that most syrup cars are only about 17,000 gallons - about 40 feet long.

    Atlas has some of the contemporary design: http://www.atlasrr.com/HOFreight/hotrinity4.htm

    Apparently Walthers will too: http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/932-7223

    Athearn has some contemporary 30' 8,000 gal versions:
    http://www.athearn.com/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=NACC+Tank+RTR&CatID=THRF

    Athearn has the older version Chemical tank cars that served duty as well: http://www.athearn.com/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=Chemical+Tank+RTR&CatID=THRF&Page=3
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2010
  13. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Keith -

    Thanks. The Atlas & Walthers cars are the closest looking to the Tate & Lyle cars we saw in Olathe last Tuesday night.

    Ken
     

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