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Thread: The Semple Pile

  1. #1

    Default The Semple Pile

    With regard to Bob’s recent query about Afton Sub operations, it might add interest to the operation by adding chat trains from the Semple Pile.
    The Tri-State area of Missouri, Kansas, And Oklahoma produced lead and zinc for nearly 100 years. Although mining began in Missouri during the 1850’s, primary production occurred between 1870 and 1970. Peak production occurred in the Tri-State Region during 1926.

    The Warsaw Formation, the Keokuk Formation, and the Fern Glen Formation, Mississippian-aged, cherty, crinoidal, and oolitic limestones contained the sphalerite and galena, which are ores of zinc and lead. The waste product of the mining operations were dumped into large tailings piles. Locally this material was called chat. The major constituent of chat is chert, i.e., cryptocrystalline quartz. Chert is hard and breaks into angular grains which are two desirable properties for ballast to have. While there are other rock types that make for better railroad ballast, chert or chat provided the Frisco with a large quantity of on-line material.

    The coarse-grained material 1-˝” - 2” material was used on the mainlines, and the fine material was used on the branch lines, back tracks and yards. By the 70’s, the coarse material had been depleted, and the Frisco began a search for other suitable rock. It built a quarry near Mill Creek, OK. This quarry still produces granite and granodiorite, which can be found on the BNSF throughout the Midwest.

    Much of the chat came from what I always heard referred to as the Semple Pile. Semple was located on the NEO in Oklahoma, between Baxter Springs and Hockerville. The Frisco had 3 classes of cars that were dedicated to hauling company chat. The first class, 96000-96099,

    carried 55 tons, and were built during 1946 at Yale Yard. The second class, 96100-96299, carried 77 tons, and were built during 1946 by ACF. The last class, 97000-97039, carried 86 tons, and were built during 1970 by Thrall. The legions of 55 ton - 70 ton twin bay hoppers also carried company ballast.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails semple_chat.jpg  
    Last edited by Karl; 03-15-2010 at 04:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    St Louis (Saint Ann)
    Posts
    351

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    Thanks Karl,

    I love this kind of information...

    Craig
    Craig Fletcher


  3. #3

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    I came across this picture at the recent book & paper show in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It's labelled "Chat Bonne Terre Mo.". I don't think the Frisco served Bonne Terre (???), but it gives an idea what such a chatpile might have looked like. Judging from the C&EI gondola in the foreground, I guess the date to be sometime around 1900-1920.

    Bradley A. Scott
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bonne Terre chatpile with C&EI gondola.jpg  

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Kirkwood, MO
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    USGS has just announced publication of USGS Scientific Investigations Report: 2013-5011 "Estimation of volume and mass and of changes in volume and mass of selected chat piles in the Picher mining district, Ottawa County, Oklahoma, 2005-10" 2013, by Smith, S. Jerrod. It is available by download from USGS in pdf format from: http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20135011.

    It is intended to aid management of the removal of the material for other use.

    George Nelson

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    I found this nice compliment to Karl's Semple Pile summation. This is an 6 panel advertising pamphlet for the "The Baxter Chat Company". I would guess the date to be about 1940. The first page has a nice shot of 117 at I belive the East National Avenue crossing south of Fort Scott. Jeff
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Jeff scan 1.jpg   Jeff scan 2.jpg   Jeff scan 4.jpg   Jeff scan 5.jpg   Jeff scan 3.jpg  

    Jeff scan 6.jpg  

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    Quote Originally Posted by frisco4301 View Post
    I found this nice compliment to Karl's Semple Pile summation. This is an 6 panel advertising pamphlet for the "The Baxter Chat Company". I would guess the date to be about 1940. The first page has a nice shot of 117 at I belive the East National Avenue crossing south of Fort Scott. Jeff

    Jeff, can you read the milepost number in the 117 picture? Love the MP shot near Knob Noster..the spousal unit hales from there.


    lauditor temporis acti

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    It appears to be to be 101.25?? I put a glass on it last night which really did more injustice than help. I found this along with a number of other interesting tid bits at a sale in Ardmore yesterday.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    Jeff, if your scanner has a "descreen" setting on it, it will scan printed photos better. I try to scan stuff like this descreened and at the highest resolution it will let me. Usually it's not that high. Wish I had the hard photo for the Firefly shot.
    Don Wirth
    Steam crazed since 1940.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado USA
    Posts
    1,255

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    Cool
    Now I know a lot more about where the word Chat comes from. Interesting that the carrier chose the grading that they did and not the more coarse material.
    Interesting info, thanks for posting.
    Thank You,
    Tom Holley

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Semple Pile

    Don, no such function on this scanner. I will see what I can do in the office next week.

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