Friday, November 28, 2014

Covered Hopper Cargo

The number of bays under a covered hopper indicate the type of cargo it is carrying.

5-bays: flour.

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4-bays: plastic pellets. The bays have a connection for a hose for pneumatic unloading.

Plastic pellets going to a dairy to make milk cartons

 3-bays: grain. A couple of the cars being loaded at the CGB grain elevator in Olney, IL. (Update: also potash and urea.)    Number of bushels a 3-bay hopper can hold

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2-bays: sand. And the cars are shorter. They are also used for other high density cargo such as frac sand, cement, roofing granules, alumina and aggregates. But different cargo types may require different liners.


A 2-bay hopper carrying feed. The resolution was good enough that you can see it was built in 1951. Were 3-bay grain hoppers developed after 1951 is the density of feed (ground grain) enough higher that only 2 bays are needed. The CSX reporting mark indicates Central Transportation Company. As I have mentioned before, my Dad worked for Central Soya. The founder was Dale W. McMillen Sr. I had always heard of Master Mix as their feed division. This posting is the first time I have seen McMillen Feeds. I found a history of Central Soya, but it is more info than I have time to read now. Now that I think about this car some more, 1951 is an early date for any type of covered hopper.

Stan Sienicki posted
Trackside Treasure doesn't take pictures of just the locomotives so I was able to learn that a 2-bay car may also be carrying salt and that sodium chlorate uses pneumatic unloading. And I include a standard 3-bay hopper because BN green is indeed getting rare.

Trackside Treasure
AXLX 20072 salt cars - your choice graffiti or rust!

Trackside Treasure
UNPX120701 sodium chlorate service cylindrical

Trackside Treasure
BN 461908 rare to see a large "BN" logo!

One of two photos posted by Brett Stevens
Can anyone tell me what exactly this type of 5 bay hopper is and what are the commodities it hauls..I been trying to find these in HO scale.
Noe Gutierrez I believe that's referred to as a pressure differential covered hopper. They're used for transporting fine dry bulk commodities and use pressurized air to unload the product .....
Dave Burman BLMA and Atlas make them(Trinity 5660 cu ft. -an earlier car from Walthers was similar (A North American car) but hasn't been released in a while-I see them at shows often however.
Rhett Coates These usually carry baking flour for any type of food product manufacturer which uses a lot of that ingredient, such as a Nabisco cracker factory.

2020: covered hoppers are now up to four bays for grain and Dry Distillers Grain.
Danny Welch posted five photos with the question:
I see strings of these covered hoppers leaving homewood illinois southbound on the canadian national frequently.
A. What are their contents?
B. Where are they headed?
C. What is their starting point?
Eric Rissman Trinity 6351 grain hopper. Built for the ethanol boom on getting product to the plants.
Daniel Larabee Usually hold Dry Distillers Grain. The after product of making ethanol. Used for cattle feed in foreign countries.
Ken Schmidt DDGs is fed to many animals (different animals take different rations of it) in the U.S. It is as others said, the byproduct of making ethanol at a dry mill plant.
A good quantity goes to Mexico, but feed lots in the U.S. also get their share.
DDGs is not actually 100% dry, so it can bridge in the car while unloading. Most destinations use vibrators to get it out, however in Mexico, they use what ever mean to brake up the bridge. Including in one place, a pole on a rope banging on the side of the cars.
At first in 2001, they were using any 6000 cuft cars they could. But soon, a majority of the fleet became TILX cars. The first of the TILX cars started at 634000. Last I looked, they were up to 650000. Many since that early time were leased to others with reporting marks such as SOXX. As well, cars from Gunderson joined the fleets.
DDGs moves in both units and single cars. With 40 plants in Iowa, you could not help seeing them on all the carriers in the state.




Ken Schmidt commented on Danny's post
This is how they looked new in 2004.

I learned that 3-bay cars can carry fertilizer as urea as well as potash from this post.
Screenshot via a David Jordan post
BNSF Railway unit fertilizer train, G-PEIOAN (Grain, Peoria IL to Oakes, MN) slows on the Peoria Subdivision as it nears the Quincy Main early afternoon Saturday, May 1, 2021. BNSF 5420-5121-6503 have 65 cars of urea loaded by TP&W-served Growmark at Mapleton. Later, the same train, BNSF 5420 setout and the other two units "turned," rolls up the Barstow Subdivision at Bouhan.
Dennis DeBruler: So 3-bay hopper trains may be hauling fertilizer instead of grain. Judging by the number of green BN hoppers in the train, it appears BNSF tries to use their older hoppers for fertilizer.
David Jordan: Dennis DeBruler Older cars are commonly used for dry fertilizer service. I've seen that for potash as well.

Update: The above was a railfan perspective. I recently looked at some hoppers in satellite images. Flour cars have seven covers.

41°55'16.7"N 87°44'29.4"W

For Pepperidge Farm in Downers Grove, IL, I had to switch to Google Earth because it appears that bakery is now closed.
Google Earth with timeline set to 10/2019

Cement cars have three covers. 

It appears the cement plant in Oglesly, IL, is no longer distributing cement. I had to go back to 2013 to find a cut of cement cars.
Google Earth with timeline set to 5/2013

At least the plant in Limedale, IN, is still operational.

And sand cars have three covers.

At least some plastic hoppers use 10 covers.



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