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)

TH&B 70 ton hoppers – Part 2 How the Cars were Used

TH&B 1243 is in Kinnear Old South Yard in the early 90s. Photo by Gerry Schaefer

TH&B 1243 is in Kinnear Old South Yard in the early 90s.

In the previous post in this series, way back in September 2012, I wrote about how buying two sets of decals for TH&B 70 hoppers in HO scale by Aberdeen Car Shops brought this project from the shelf to the side-burner, so to speak.  All of my projects languished for a while, given the fact that I had started new jobs in both of my professions (I’m a busy guy), but now that things are running more smoothly on both fronts, I have a bit more time for leisure.

After finding the decal sets at the hobby shop, I unpacked two very old Stewart 70 ton 9-panel triple hopper kits that I had on hand from ages ago.  While the details on this kit are a bit crude by today’s standards, the car is generally correct for the TH&B.  As with my other projects, I undertook some research to find how the TH&B used these cars, and how to come up with a reason for having them in the fleet on the WRMRC.  Besides, I like to have some projects on the go that are relatively simple undertakings.  These serve as a nice break from the more demanding work of, say, building over a dozen ore cars in an assembly line.

In the previous post in this series, I mentioned that the decal set comes with nice background information these cars.  The fleet consisted of 50 cars that were built by National Steel Car in Hamilton, and delivered in September of 1960.  Lance Brown, the archivist for the TH&B Railway Historical Society, indicates that during the 1970s, there were a few ways that TH&B earned revenue from these cars.

Firstly, TH&B contributed 30 cars to a pool of hoppers that were in ore service between Adams Mine near Dane Ontario and Pittsburgh PA.  According to Lance’s records, the following cars were committed to that service, as of 1970:

1202     1204     1207     1208     1209     1210     1213     1214

1215     1218     1220     1221     1223     1224     1225     1226

1228     1229     1232     1235     1236     1237     1239     1240

1241     1242     1244     1245     1246     1249

That service was probably not routed over the TH&B, but their involvement in the pool likely had something to do with the New York Central’s (Penn Central at the time) part ownership of the TH&B, and the fact that the ore was at least partially routed across PC.  Perhaps the TH&B cars represent part of NYC’s contribution? Some of those cars received a white circular marking stating “RETURN TO CNR VIA BUFFALO.”  The routing to CNR in Buffalo suggests that they travelled along the Grimsby Subdivision of the CNR through Niagara, instead of across the TH&B.  Later, the routing symbol was simplified to simply a while circle below the word “Toronto.”  In the images below, two cars show the white circles.  What’s not clear to me is whether the lettering has eroded from these circles, or if they never had them.

TH&B 70 ton hopper 1221 in Aberdeen Yard.  Photo by Gerry Schaefer.

TH&B 70 ton hopper 1221 in Aberdeen Yard in the early 1990s. Photo by Gerry Schaefer.

TH&B 70 ton hopper 1231 in Kinnear Old South Yard.  Photo by Gerry Schaefer

TH&B 70 ton hopper 1237 in Kinnear Old South Yard. Photo by Gerry Schaefer

During 1970, Penn Central managed to destroy five of these cars in five separate instances. The wrecked cars were:

1207     1210     1235     1241     1245
Lance Brown reports that the twenty cars remaining from the fleet that were not in ore service were assigned to general service, which included carrying scrap tinplate on the Hamilton Belt Line, coke at Stelco, limestone at Canada Crushed Stone in Dundas, slag for National Slag, and “slime” for INCO between Port Colborne and Sudbury Ontario.
All of those services seemed self-evident except “slime” service.  After some additional research, I learned that “slime” is the accumulation of minerals other than nickel on the cathode of a nickel refiner, which is the operation that INCO had in place at Port Colborne.    Basically, the raw nickel ore has a great number of other minerals, and when it is refined into nickel, those metals accumulate on the cathode as slime, which can be collected and then further refined to separate out the precious metals.  INCO collected the slime from their refinery in Port Colborne and shipped it to Sudbury to separate out the valuable leftovers.
With evidence of these TH&B hoppers having made regular appearances in Sudbury, I was even more motivated to get to the bottom of this.  In the next post in this series, I’ll outline the research on car loading frequency in order to establish a fleet of cars for the WRMRC.

TH&B 70 Ton Hoppers: simmering on the side burner

It seems that nearly everyone in this hobby has a number of projects on the go at the same time.  Some of my friends talk about so many projects they have at different stages that it makes me wonder how they ever finish anything.   I’m just as guilty of this same habit.  If you browse through this blog, you’ll see that the project I currently have on the front-burner is the ore car assembly line.  I have about three other projects that receive my attention when I’m taking a bit of down time from the ore cars.  Some of them are nothing more than a locomotive or freight car in a box and a heavy dose of wishful thinking.

The urge to stock up on more projects is nearly overwhelming for me, to the extent that it takes a great deal of restraint to keep from buying dozens of things I’d like to get around to building some day.  However, my urge to start more projects is overpowered by my desire to keep clutter at bay.

Those projects that reside almost entirely in my imagination are occasionally fuelled by some new information or a new product that I find.  I recently stopped in at my local hobby store to browse their paints.  I was looking for something to give me a starting point for the polished steel interior of the ore cars.  On the way to the register, I spotted a set of Aberdeen Car Shops decals for a TH&B 70 ton hopper.  The decals made me think of a  pair of undecorated 70 ton hoppers living in a box, on a shelf, in my basement. The project has been on hold, awaiting a time when I could attend to replacing the cast on grabs and steps with parts that are bit less chunky.  I’d already acquired the necessary dry transfers quite some time ago, but these decals in the store were nicer by far, so they came home with me.

A had to unpack the 70 ton hoppers to bring this “wishful thinking” project up to the side-burner.  Looking over the models to plan my approach to the project, I decided I should open the decal package to have a closer look at the contents.  Aberdeen Car Shops includes a detailed information sheet explaining the years these cars were in use, and to which particular services and industries they were assigned.  This excellent information indicated that these cars were in use between Inco’s Port Colborne plant and their facility in Clarabelle (outside of Sudbury).  This information would be useful for providing car routing on the WRMRC, so I contacted the TH&B Historical Society to gather more information.  Lance Brown and Nelson Allison were immensely helpful in providing lots of background information and photos for this project, which I’ll share in an upcoming series of posts on this blog.

This project has moved from the back burner up to the side burner, vying against those ore cars for space on my workbench.

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