TH&B 70 ton hoppers – Part 3 Sudbury Slime Service

In the previous post in this series on TH&B 70 ton hoppers, I outlined the assignment of these hoppers during the 1970s.   Because I want to include these TH&B hoppers in regular operations on the WRMRC, I was particularly interested in their deployment to  slime service for INCO in Port Colborne.

TH&B 70 ton hopper 1228 in Kinnear Old South Yard. Photo by Gerry Schaefer

TH&B 70 ton hopper 1228 in Kinnear Old South Yard. Photo by Gerry Schaefer

Lance Brown had done a great deal of research for the background information included in the Aberdeen Car Shops decal set for this car.  I approached Lance to provide me with specific information about slime service so that I could know the approximate frequency of carloads.  When I asked Lance to dig through his records he discovered that, not surprisingly, slime production rose and fell dependent upon INCO’s manfacturing, and the volume of slime load generally decreased over the years.  Lance used records for 1971 and 1979 to compile a list of slime shipments from INCO in Port Colborne.  Here are the 1971 shipments showing the date of the shipment and the car number that carried it.  Car numbers are TH&B 70 ton hoppers unless otherwise noted.

January 1971

04 – 1234
08 – 1219
12 – 1200,1211
21 – 1234

5 Slime Loads Total

February 1971

01 – 1229
05 – 1200, 1246
08 – 1219
10 – 1211
11 – 1206, 1234
17 – 1243
23 – 1246
24 – 1200
25 – 1219
26 – 1211

12 Slime Loads Total

March 1971

01 – 1206
05 – 1230, 1234
09 – 1243
16 – 1219, CP 348969 *
22 – 1211
25 – 1230
26 – 1200
31 – 1206

10 Slime Loads Total

April 1971

06 – 1247
07 – 1234, 1211, CP 348346*
12 – 1246
19 – 1206
21 – 1243
22 – 1230

8 Slime Loads Total

May 1971

06 – 1234
11 – 1211, 1246
12 – 1230, 1206
18 – 1247, CP 348316 *
26 – 1200

8 Slime Loads Total

June 1971

03 – 1219
11 – 1234
16 – 1243
17 – 1238, 1230
18 – 1200
22 – 1205
24 – 1247
29 – 1243, 1234

10 Slime Loads Total

July 1971

05 – CP 348288
06 – 1219
07 – 1230
08 – 1200
09 – 1247 – 1205
12 – CP 348235
27 – 1211
29 – 1238
31 – 1248

10 Slime Loads Total

August 1971

Data not available.

September 1971

Data not avaialble.

October 1971

01 – 1209,1247
07 – CP 357757, 364027, 359433, 357904, 357939, 364939 **
08 – 1200,1206, CP 364299, 364348, 359087, 357561, 357677 **
14 – 1234, CP 343714 ***
16 – 1219
20 – 1230, CP 348252 *
22 – 1238, 1243
26 – 1201

21 Slime Loads Total

November 1971

02 – 1211
05 – 1200
08 – 1204, 1234
10 – 1205
12 – CP 348765 *
16 – 1247
17 – 1243, CP 348101*
18 – 1238, CP 348006 *
25 – 1211
27 – 1234
30 – 1205, 1219

15 Slime Loads Total

December 1971

03 – 1243
04 – 1200, CP 348863 *
08 – 1230
09 – 1211, 1206
10 – CP 348484
14 – 1219
21 – 1234, 1238
23 – 1243

11 Slime Loads Total

Summary

87 Shipments in 1200’s
23 Shipments in CP Equipment

Total Number of Slime Loads Handled (10 Months) 110 Cars
Monthly Average 11 Slime Loads (10 Months)
Weekly Average 03 Slime Loads (10 Months)

* High Side Drop Bottom Gondolas (Otis Design)
** 70-Ton Triple Hoppers (Similar to 1200’s)
*** High Side Woodchip Gondola

With an average of about 3 car loads per week in 1971, we would need a small pool of TH&B 70 ton hoppers on the WRMRC.  But one interesting revelation was the fact that there were CP cars assigned to this service as needed.  Laverne Tritton, former Freight Agent for TH&B at Welland confirms that the majority of slime shipments went in TH&B 70 ton hoppers, but CP drop bottom ore cars sometimes showed up at Welland to be loaded with slime at Port Colborne.  And if there is any doubt about Lance’s primary source documents and Laverne Tritton’s memory, here is a photograph of a drop bottom ore car in Aberdeen yard, just to the right of and behind TH&B 58.

TH&B 58

CP’s 70 ton hoppers and older woodchip cars were also assigned to slime service as needed, but I like the fact that the drop bottom ore cars I’m building found a way into this series on the TH&B hoppers.  According to Lance’s records, INCO received a variety of inbound raw materials by rail including nickel matte, soda ash, borax, pellets, firebrick, chlorine and charcoal. Outbound shipments consisted primarily of slimes and finished nickel in TH&B and CP boxcars.

For comparison to the 1971 data, Lance Brown provided me with the same data from 1979.  As before, the data shows the date and car number(s) assigned.  All car numbers are TH&B unless noted.

January 1979

Data not available.

February 1979

Data not available.

March 1979

Data not available.

April 1979

No Slime Shipments From INCO.

May 1979

No Slime Shipments From INCO.

June 1979

26 – 1226, 1205, 1223, 3662, 3628
29 – CP 357780, 357453, 57133 **

8 Slime Loads Total

July 1979

No Slime Shipments From INCO.

August 1979

01 – 1205
02 – 1202
10 – 1223
17 – 1205
20 – CP 348631 ***
21 – 1218, 1238
22 – CP 357649 *
23 – CP 358327 *
24 – 1220, CP 357837 *
31 – CP 358594

12 Slime Loads Total

September 1979

05 – CP 358827 *
07 – CP 358527 – 365807 *
13 – 1238
17 – 348359 ***
20 – 348172 ***
24 – 1201, 1226
27 – 1218

9 Slime Loads Total

October 1979

02 – 1234
04 – 1214
12 – CP 348029 ***
15 – CP 348573 ***
16 – CP 348088 ***
17 – CP 348179, 348294 ***
18 – CP 54143 **
19 – CP 365821 * , 348354 ***
23 – 348637 ***
29 – 1214, 1220

13 Slime Loads Total

November 1979

05 – 1218, 1200, 1231
06 – 1234, 1249
09 – 1211
16 – CP 348088 ***
19 – CP 348294 ***
21 – 1202
26 – 1225
30 – CP 348637 ***

11 Slime Loads Total

December 1979

04 – CP 348809 ***
07 – CP 348573 ***
12 – CP 348294 ***
28 – CP 348088 – CP 348637 ***

5 Slime Loads Total

Summary

26 Shipments in 1200’s
02 Shipments in 3600’s
29 Shipments in CP Equipment

Total Number of Slime Loads Handled (9 Months) 57 Cars
Monthly Average 6 Slime Loads (9 Months)
Weekly Average 1.5 Slime Loads (9 Months)

* 70-Ton Triple Hoppers (Similar to 1200’s)
** 40′ Boxcar
*** High Side Drop Bottom Gondolas (Otis Design)

11 thoughts on “TH&B 70 ton hoppers – Part 3 Sudbury Slime Service

    • It’s good to see a prototypical use for TH&B boxcars at the club. In many ways, the “other” equipment used in this service is just as, if not more interesting than the TH&B hoppers. Wood chip gons, Sudbury ore cars, 40 foot coal gons–these are all remarkable to see involved in this traffic. I know Chirs is working on a wood chip gon, so it can be used here, and ore cars we have. We need to get those coal gons built though; they were so common and used in all sorts of ways around Sudbury.

      Jurgen

      • So many interesting things come cascading out of primary historical data like this. Not sure how they would have moved the slime loads in boxcars. Do any of the other numbers indicate boxcars? Is it possible these boxcar loads were precious metals labeled as slime loads? It’s also possible there’s an inconsistency in the primary data.

      • Everything else seems to be properly called out in the footnotes. The main car types seen are the CP and THB 70-ton hoppers, and CP GS gondolas (note that the CP drop-bottom gons appearing in the listings are all 40′ “coal” gondolas, and no numbers from ore cars appear in the mix). Secondary car types include 40′ boxcars (CP and THB) and at least one 52′ rebuilt CP woodchip gondola.

        It wasn’t that uncommon still for bulk materials to be shipped loose in boxcars during the 1970s. These just wouldn’t likely be “clean lading” cars anymore used in this service.

  1. TH&B’s remaining boxcars were in terrible shape by the late 70s, and would only be suitable for loads that were impossible to contaminate. A load of minerals would certainly classify. Since the stuff is pretty heavy, I would imagine they just shoveled the stuff in two big piles at each end of the car and then shut the door; that would probably be near the load limit for the car. The anode loads CP shipped south would also be nasty loads, and CP kept ancient or really crappy boxcars around for that service in Sudbury. Likely, if a TH&B box arrived carrying slime, they would just reload it with anodes for the trip back; it wouldn’t be suitable for anything else.

    • I was trying to remember another load I heard tell about using TH&B boxcars towards the end of their use, and I think I remember now. They were used to ship hay out west during a drought. You wouldn’t think hay was a big deal, but apparently hay contaminates a car such that it can’t be used for any foodstuffs anymore unless it were internally rebuilt, I suppose.

      What usually happened was a car would start out for class one lading (newsprint, food, lcl and express, etc.) and would be inspected from time to time. As it became defective or contaminated, its rating would be adjusted, and would be reassessed when it went in for major repairs. Most of the time cars only went downhill, and the worst were class 5, I think. CP had a special number series for those boxcars, the 20XXX series in the 70s. We have one on the layout, and it’s assigned (you guessed it) to anode service.

      Perhaps we can start to reassign the TH&B boxcars to more specific services, to reflect their deteriorating condition. We don’t really need them for pool service anymore since we have a lot of CP boxcars now. Having one TH&B car go into Inco now and then would be neat to see. That might explain the presence of TH&B boxcars in the odd Sudbury photo, too, now that I think of it.

      Jurgen

      • By the 80s, many of the TH&B boxcars had been contaminated by beetles, which I believe occurred while they were used for flour. Many of those cars were taken out of revenue service by the 80s and stored all over the property, including the siding at Stoney Creek, Welland Yard, Kinnear Yard, and in Brantford. But during the 70s, TH&B boxcars were commonly routed to western Canada. It was encouraged to have the cars intercepted on their way east to carry loads in both directions. I’m told that it was common for TH&B cars to be in trains on the Cartier sub. Lance Brown has a ton of data on this, so I’ll mine that source when researching the background on the boxcar’s I’ll build up a few months from now.

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