Slag, Chatt, Ballast colors and souces

Discussion in 'Maintenance of Way' started by gjslsffan, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Thanks Sherrel
    Like Karl posted, they are different sized screens, I ended up with a set of screens and the "electric Shaker" at a auction, thing was practically new.
    Man I will tell you, that "hand" crusher will make an old man out of you in a hurry. It operates like a one sided handcar, up and down all day, just a few pebbles at a time. Started out with a 5 gallon bucket of limestone, some of the pebbles were too Red, so I was tossing the too Red ones out on the driveway, during Oxygen brakes.:D Let me tell you by the time I was getting towards the bottom of the bucket, I was seeing a little too much Red in about every rock:eek:
    Tom Holley
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  2. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ron has N, HO, and larger. If I remember correctly, if you want limestone dust, he can bag that also.

    Robert, make this thread a favorite in your browser and give it the name Real Frisco Ballast.

    OR when you need ballast, use the site's search engine and search for real frisco ballast. This thread will be at the top of the list because I put those words in this post.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2013
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  3. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    On a small shelf-sized diorama I made a few years back, I wanted a gravel road that looked more to-scale "gravelly." All I had on me at the time was HO-Scale W.S. buff ballast.

    However, we also had an old Braun coffee bean grinder that served to chop up the ballast to where it looked good enough. I was rather pleased with the results.

    One must be careful not to put their good quality coffee beans into the same grinder afterwards.

    Best Regards,
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  4. palallin

    palallin Member

    Getting ready to lay down chat :) and have a question. Hereabouts (Rolla vacinity), the ballast is currently very red with dark gray/blues and blacks, very little tan, gray, or white crushed limestone. No idea where it comes from now, but I understand from this thread that the chat :) for the Eastern division ought to be limestone for the steam era, yes? When did the materials/colors get switched?
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    SAFN SAAP Member

    Y'all make me laugh. Ballast? Ballast? We don't need no stinkin' ballast. The S.A.&A.P. used good ol' dirt to start, and then eventually used crushed sea shells for ballast. Eventually they began using granite, gypsum and when the Big Tunnel was dug by the S.A.F&N in 1913, there was so much limestone they could have given it all away! Can you imagine sea shells as ballast? I say all this to say that ballast is localized and not the same from railroad to railroad, or even division to division. It's what works where and what have you. I think that your homemade rock crusher is cool. That's the way to use the ol' noodle. Totally awesome looking. As for the concrete, where we had them on the C&O when I was a railroader, they road high in the ballast. Much higher than regular ties. I don't know why, they just did. I would suggest you find examples in your area if possible and mimic or find photos.

    Keep up the good work!

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  6. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    See post #8 in this thread and also this link.

    The Frisco had a plentiful on-line source of ballast, in the form of Chat or Chatt (technically Chert) which it got from the Tri-State District. It came from a location on the NEO called Semple or the Semple Pile. While other varieties of ballast such as limestone and cinders for example, existed in limited locations on the Frisco, these types of ballast were inferior to chat. By the early 70's the Frisco had depleted the supply of main-line quality chat, and it began developing its own quarry near Tishomingo, OK. The rock types produced from this quarry are granite and granodiorite, which are close to the colors that you describe. From the mid to late '70's the Frisco was producing its own ballast, which the BN continued to use following the merger. Frisco ballast has been used on the BN and BNSF throughout the Midwest and South.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2018
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  7. palallin

    palallin Member

    OK, that clarifies a bit, I think; thanks. So the ballast hasn't really changed since very early on. Now to find a good source of those colors!

    The Bonne Terre suggestion would *not* be very helpful: those piles were Dolomite and very tan.

    Editted to add: it was the MoPac (through the Iron Moutain through the MR&BT RR) that served Bonne Terre).
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2013
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  8. palallin

    palallin Member

    OK, hold the phone here: What was the color/were the colors 80/90 years ago? Chat/chert can come in many colors, but it isn't granite, so what we're seeing today on the line is NOT what woudl have been there all those years ago, right?

    Does anybody have any color pics old enough to show ballast color , maybe at least as far back as WWII?

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2018
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  9. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Well, I don't know about WWII, but I did work most of the Frisco, in the 70's. Some of it, most likely, did not see much work, in the rock area, for many years. The Clinton and Beaumont area's, also Ozark Branch. Most was Cinders and Dirt, with small amounts of Chat on top. Arizona Rock, makes a really good product. I used the N gage stuff. You can see it down, in my albums. If you were going to do like the 30's or so, depending on how much traffic was on the line at the time. Just Cinders and a little White, small amount of Brown and Gray. Higher traffic lines would have more rock on it.
    William Jackson
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  10. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    During 1900, the Frisco renovated the KCOS, aka the Highline. The railroad placed two crushers on the line at Holmes Park and Osceola; see the letter dated Oct 23, 1900. frisco_oct_23_1900.jpg

    An earlier letter dated Feb 14, 1900 frisco_feb_14_1900.jpg indicates that the railroad did not have enough equipment to operate more than a total of three crushers; the third being on the Texas Division. The crusher at Holmes Park was producing limestone (tan to buff) from the Kansas City Group, and the crusher at Osceola was producing limestone off (white to gray) from the Burlington-Keokuk formation.

    Based on track charts, it appears that by the late 20's early 30's the Frisco was using chat on its mainlines, and a mix chat, cinders, and gravel on its secondary lines and branches. For example the entire Aurora Branch used cinders, and the Parson Sub Coal Branch used a mix of chat and cinders.

    Attached Files:

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  11. FriscoGeorge

    FriscoGeorge Frisco Employee

    For what it's worth the ballast in Newburg during the '60's and '70's was a mix of gravel chert with pieces of pinkish red ryolite and light gray limestone.
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  12. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Supporter

    First off, this link is broken - (fixed in original post)

    Then I got into dangerous territory - I got thinking. Except for some localized quarries, most of the ones that I have been in around central Missouri, the rock has a yellow/orangish hue. Yet a lot of the chatt used for ballast, some of which came out of these sources, is gray. Then I got thinking (there I go again) that maybe it had become sun bleached or color-shifted due to dust. But then, any bridge piers would have been bleached, but they pretty much retained their original color, so that can't be it. Dust - most dirt around here is reddish brown, not gray.

    I know I am missing something with a very simple answer.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2018
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  13. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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