Re: Cotton belt open hoppers

Gerald Hook

Ron, et al


World War 1 started in Europe on June 28, 1914 and we entered the conflict on April 6, 1917.  The 1917-18 winter came early and was colder than normal in the Northeast and New England.  Tremendous volumes of war material piled up along the east coast awaiting transport to the conflict.  Loaded Coal hoppers were backed up to Pittsburgh and other points hundreds of miles from the coast, resulting in shortages of empty cars at the mines.  Hence, President Wilson’s edict on December 28, 1917 to nationalize the railroads. 


More freight cars were needed, and in order to conserve steel for the war effort, wood & steel composite freight cars to USRA designs.  Many of these cars were still in service on December 7, 1941 when, once again, we faced a shortage of freight equipment.  Again, composite cars, larger and with more capacity than those 20 years earlier, were built. (Train Shed Cyclopedia #70 has specs on AAR Emergency Design Open Hoppers and Gondolas)


Following VE and VJ days, the oldest composite cars were retired and newer composite cars were replaced by still larger and greater capacity steel cars in the 1950s and 60s.  I recall seeing a few of those old timers in the early 60s, but just like the ubiquitous 40 foot XMs, everything was replaced by more modern cars until today, none of those relics remain outside of museums.


I grew up in DFW where wood coal hoppers were practically nil. 


Gerald Hook – Russellville, AR


From: Ron Roman [mailto:ronaf5as@...]
Sent: Monday, August 3, 2020 1:14 PM
To: Tom Roise <tomroise@...>; Edwin Cooper via <edwin_c_cooper@...>
Cc: Steve Goen <texaszephyr@...>; Railspot Forum <RailSpot@...>; Gerald Hook <gah333br@...>; panhandlerails@...; Dennis Hogan <denmeg_hogan@...>; Texoma Railfans List <texomarailfans@...>;; Everett Lueck <elueck@...>
Subject: Re: [Railspot] Cotton belt open hoppers


When did the RR’s get rid of the Wooden Coal Cars and favor the Steel ones…
I’m trying to remember that, I want to say in the 50’s for the majority.

I know back east from a talk at a railroad club meeting (went as a guest wit a friend who was a member), they had a speaker and he was saying in the late 40’s to early 50’s was the change overs, it was due to end of WWII, they wanted more Cap and Wght per car, they were even getting longer too (And we know how that is now!).

Back east they was still getting coal loads of several cars to Coal and Oil Fuel place near me.
Even some businesses still used coal for power/heat at the plants… till the late 70’s early 80’s when Nat’l Gas was piped in, or, even Comm’l Power was strung up into them.
Old Plants did things till it was easier and cheaper most likely to do so.

Cool little thread here.

Altus, OK


Sent from Windows Mail


From: Tom Roise
Sent: ‎Monday‎, ‎August‎ ‎3‎, ‎2020 ‎11‎:‎35‎ ‎AM
To: Edwin Cooper via
Cc: Steve Goen, Railspot Forum, Gerald Hook, panhandlerails@..., Dennis Hogan, Ron Roman, Texoma Railfans List,, Everett Lueck


One thing you forgot Ed, there were many industries on line that used coal. And the cotton belt did and still does have a large gas manufacturer in Tyler that produced many cars of coke for shipping out to northern facilities.

Tom Roise

> On Aug 3, 2020, at 4:37 AM, Edwin Cooper via <edwin_c_cooper@...> wrote:

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