Saturday, June 26, 2021

Bottle/Thermos/Torpedo/Submarine/Treadwell Cars

Ingot trains were another type of "hot car" train. The invention of continuous casting has made ingots obsolete.

Bottle cars were used in integrated mills to carry the molten iron from the blast furnaces to the steel making furnaces. 

This thread has interesting info on bottle cars concerning size, insulation and rerailing.

The hot iron car on display in the  Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, AL is so old that the bottle shaped design had not yet been developed. Even then they were using three axle trucks.
20200218 1120

The transition has happened to the bottle shape, but it has "only" six axles.
Bill Parkinson posted
The last remaining Mort's Dock hot iron car sits awaiting it's fate back in the 1990's. It is now on display at the Port Kembla works visitor's centre as it is in this photo. As it is outdoors it carries a fair amount of rainwater these days.
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we had a style that used 250dc to turn them. Man i hated working on them. Wires always burned up. Cool pic
Corey Willams commented on Bill's post
Thought it looked familiar. My photo taken back in 2015, doing the works tour.

This is the post that motivated me to quit just collecting photos and to go ahead and publish. As blast furnaces grew, so did bottle cars. When I see a photo of a bottle car, I always count the number of axles. 16 axles is the largest I have seen. 350 tons was the biggest made, and they were used at Bethlehem Sparrows Point. [TrainOrders]

Rick Rowlands posted three photos with the comment: "First of the new 350 ton bottle cars coming out of the PECOR plant in New Castle.  Date unknown."
Scott Johnson: I work at the old Inland Steel and we have 4 of these ladles. Had a loaded one go on the ground pretty bad last fall. They had to call out two different crane companies (Hulcher and Crane Masters) to tag team it. Had broken rail and everything. Took them about 10 hours start to finish. Would hate to be the one paying that bill.
Donald Hall: How many of you have spent hours with an Oxygen Lance trying to burn open a bottle that had frozen over ?
Jeff Millikin: I’ve spent many shifts doing that at US Steel Granite City Illinois.
Donald Hall: Standing over it, and Eating all the damn red smoke !
Shawn Shaffer: It's is now Ben Weissman Scrap yard but the rail car sidings are still there. The building this is coming out of was where the can recycling is now. If you go in the office they a copy of the prints for the old furnace hanging on the wall. I don't think pa engineering was part of Mesta. All of Mesta works in New Castle is now owned by EGI.
Eugene Hake: Torn down about 8 years ago they put a shredded scrap yard in now I work there 17 years before they tore it down it’s was right beside EQS



Brian Cameron commented on Rick's post
This 330 T molten metal car was built by "Reichard" and located around the Chicago area mills I believe but don't hold me to that cause I'm not real sure of this photos location.
Jason Schaefer: Brian that car looks like it is sitting just outside the gate at IHE/inland. The right side of the picture I know all to well as that’s where we park our bikes when we ride

Oliver Buchmann posted
pig iron
[Germany also uses 16-axle cars.]

Aaron Metzger posted
[Some comments talk about these things exploding.]
Dan Kleinhenz: Ignorant question... Do the cars need to be preheated on days like this to prevent thermal cracking of the cars?
Michael Oswald: Dan Kleinhenz nah they have enough residual to keep em hot as long as they’re getting filled at least once every 24hrs.
Comments on Aaron's post

Bill Parkinson posted two photos with the comment: "A couple of shots of Treadwells at work. No.5 blast furnace AIS Port Kembla."


Donald Dunn shared a Mike Lindsay post
courtesy of Lynda Button, a photo her father Reg took of a brand new Treadwell Bottle Car in 1956.
[I don't know why they paint them. It soon burns off.]

Frank de Meer posted
I’ve heard the guys at Weirton Steel call these thermos bottles?, but what is the real “technical” name ?
Treadwell ladle works for me!
Torpedo car is common.
[Weirton, WV Note that the bottle car has 16 axles. I'm trying to remember if that is the biggest I have seen.]
Rueda Screenshot
Torpedo tilt at Tabaza steelworks, Arcelor Mittal, Spain
Brandon While commented Rueda's post, cropped
I’m sitting my train while the ladles are filling right now.
[I wish I knew which blast furnace this was.]

Bill Parkinson posted
A scene in the Sydney Plant of Commonwealth Engineering where equipment for the Australian steel industry is being manufactured. Date unknown but probably in the 1970's.
[Obviously they are making torpedo cars. And it looks like some slag cars as well.]

bill Parkinson posted
A shot of a U.S. treadwell ladle. 200 Ton hot metal car. temporary air line as no brakes fitted. Cast steel spout welded to ladle. Trunnoins riveted to ladle (obsolete). date of photo unknown.

Scott Neaves posted, cropped
Cleaning the skulls out of a torpedo ladle.

Bill Parkinson posted two photos with the comment: "When loaded metal ladles derail they don't just derail, they tend to imitate gophers & dig themselves into the ground. This gives the rerailing crew a bit more stress as there is a time limit on their task due to the vehicle being full of molten iron. Here are a couple of shots of a Pollock ladle in distress. AIS works Port Kembla."
Christopher Beverly: I've seen empties bury themselves half way up the trucks before! Heavy dudes!
Kevin Hollo: I worked for hulcher out of toledo ohio for 10 year. Picked more than a few bottles up. The smaller torpedoes were not bad, but the big ones sucked! I will have to look thru my pics. Im sure I have a cpl
Bill Price: At Fairless Works, our torpedo cars had 4 trucks. If 1 was loaded and derailed, it was quite a job rerailing it. The car shop would come and use jacks to raise the trucks. Using just oak blocking was futile, it would just get crushed. The 4x4, 2x10, and wedges would get the sap squeezed out of them.
Chris Merry: If they take too long to get them back on the. Us bricklayers get more work!


Kevin Hollo posted four photos with the comment: "These are a few pics of my trainwrecking days. I think this may be Mittal Burns Harbor, maybe. But anyway the bottle had a wash out. We picked the bottle off the trucks and walked it down to two new sets. We tried to pick the set of trucks, but my 583 with extra slabs on her wanted nothing to do with it. They were in a solid block of iron!"
Kevin Hollo We had 4 part blocks, short poles and extra slabs when we had to pick them bottles. I kinda miss trainwrecking. But now I'm a sparky in a mini mill and love it. [Bottle cars are particularly heavy so they had to specially rig their sidewinders to lift them.]
Jon Ruehle What exactly IS a "washout"?
Kevin Hollo Jon Ruehle the refractory cracks or "washes out" allowing molten steel/iron to get behind it. Then melts through the shell of the vessel. In one of the pics you can see where the iron melted through.


[I presume the "black spot" above the hat in the center is the hole in the car that let the iron drain out.]


Granite City, 2001

Edward Jarolin ->
Edward's comment: "Passed by accidentally while walking along the CSX's Pittsburgh main."

Note how short the cars were before they figured out how to use more than two trucks to spread the weight on the rails.
Jason Jordon photo
Jim Johnston posted
1980 #6 STELCO LEW Liquid Iron Car ~ Cut In Two To Salvage The Iron FootballJim Johnston The iron is poured into the top of the car and has about a four hour maximum until it must be emptied. If anything happens the iron will gel and finally it will become solid. The car is purposely cut into two sections and pulled apart. The "football" of iron is removed, and broken up to be re-fired. The car is then re-welded and the interior is fully re-bricked ready to go back into service. BTW, the car weighs in at 400,000 + lbs and the liquid iron at about 400,000 + lbs. One 1,500 HP switching locomotive can easily pull 4 loaded cars.Jim Johnston There's a number of reasons for delays. Some times it could just be as simple as a scheduling snag or something major like these big heavies turning a rail on it's side. Whenever it happened, the crew was not happy with the extra work involved and the yardmaster... Well he was always pissed, anyway... LOL
John Abbott posted
duqu 2 bottle cars

Jeff Mullier They are hot metal cars commonly used for transfering moltern iron from a blast furnace to the steel making plant. Many were build by Treadwell, photo of a preserved Australian Treadwell from BHP's Newcastle Steelworks where it was used between the blast furnaces & the BOS plant.
John Abbott posted

Rick Fleischer posted
Hot metal train at Warren, Oh. in May of 1975. Train originated at the Republic Steel's Haselton blast furnaces in Youngstown and taken to Republic's Warren mill. RKF photo.

(new window) A bottle train is at the beginning, then its just boats, trains, and bridges. This is the first bottle train I have seen that doesn't have a gondola between each bottle car. If it is staying in the mill and not going over bridges, then a spacer is not needed to spread out the weight. But I have read that the gondola cars provide the braking power for the train because the hot bottle cars would fry brake linings.

Aubrey Brooks posted
Jim Bruneau How long till that molten stuff solidifies?
Ian Worth Jim Bruneau can stay in there a few days , will be to cold to use but still liquid , after that they start developing "skulls" lump of solidified metal. Covering the hole at the top with "breeze "a sand like stuff was good to keep them hot in this situation.
Dan Olah Some bottle trains operated over common carrier tracks (EL in Youngstown, Oh). They would put spacer cars (usually empty hoppers) between the bottles as well as one behind the engine and in front of the caboose. Saw photos of a bottle car where the molten iron ate through the inside lining and exterior of the car and spilled contents on the tracks, etc. That had to be fun to clean up!
Ian Worth Worked with Treadwells for years as a hot metal shunter have been riding that platform when they have derailed due to track failure a few times . Average about 200 tons empty and average about 400 tons full . Have seen them many years ago burn holes through the side. Now they get checked with thermal imaging to see the condition of the refractory bricks inside so it shouldn't happen any more. About 30 years ago they had no air and a guard would ride the platform all the time ready to apply the handbrake if they came loose. Best part of the job was watching them get poured into a wet flat iron pit if it was scrap or the BOS furnace was down "kaboom".
Thomas K. Barber Ian Worth where did you haul those, buddy? Know quite a bit. Ours were slightly heavier,250/480.,but otherwise the same. We hauled the old ones from the mill to a Fab shop with idler cars for brakes in between. They got all retrofitted for brakes,and all new ones have brakes.
George Merriman commented on a post
Hot metal car for molten steel

Larry Grzywinski posted two photos with the comment:
Interlake/Acme Steel had 19 hot metal ladle cars; they all had a 200 ton net weight. 14 were built by Treadwell and 5 by Pollock. They were all roller bearing equipped inside journal boxes, this to protect the bearings from any molten metal splashes. When loaded to the 770,000 lb. allowable gross weight capacity they were the heaviest cars running on any main lines in the Chicago and south suburb areas.


The first two photos posted by Scott Marlow.
Nice series. That’s a small bottle car.



(new window)    Weirton WV, 1989     The bottle trains are in the background. Here is one of the viewsHere,  here and here are some slag cars in the background. After chugging up a hill, they show the slag cars being dumped.  A five bottle train  The engine is smoking almost as much as a bottle car.
Note that they do not use idler cars inside the plant.
Bubba Dubs That bottle car loco is flying!

18 photos of a derailed bottle car spilling iron on a park.

1 comment:

  1. The original Treadwell bottle cars were an improvement over the previous open top hot metal cars. The design of the 2 cars at Sloss were by Wm. B. Pollock and a way to provide an efficient closed design and get around the Treadwell patent (ca. 2016).

    The little car at Pittsburgh was used at National Tube in McKeesport. Last I heard it was supposed to be mmoved to Rankin