The M&StL had two groups of sand cars; 70003 to 70017 and 70019 to 70021, odd numbers only.
The first sand car came about when management determined that sand drying facilities could be retired and dried sand shipped to various terminals more economically. Sand cars 70003 through 70017 were built from second-hand "rock cars" originally owned by the Mineral Range Railroad in Michigan. ("Rock car" was the Mineral Range term for ore cars used in copper mining.) The cars were bought from second-hand freight car dealer Hyman-Michaels and had been originally built in May and June 1916 at the ACF plant in Detroit, Michigan.
M&StL COVERED HOPPERS by Gene Green in the May 1993 issue of MAINLINE MODELER states incorrectly that the cars were rebuilt by the M&StL. Sand cars 70003 through 70017 were rebuilt for the M&StL by General American Transportation. After 70003 was completed it was observed that additional capacity was both possible and desirable so cars 70005 through 70017 had roofs installed an additional 12 inches higher.
The MAINLINE MODELER article includes a picture of 70003. The date of rebuilding or conversion of 70003 is unknown but a July 17, 1939 letter refers to tests of the completed car and states an additional eight cars are expected within six weeks. Another letter of the same date to Hyman-Michaels specifies the change to add 12 inches height to the remaining cars so they were completed after July of 1939. Reweigh dates may provide an accurate clue to the time of rebuilding; 70003 bears EC 5-39 and 70013 MN 9-39. 70003, 70005 and 70013 rode on Andrews trucks.
The cars started out on the M&StL with K brakes but 70005 and 70013 eventually were fitted with AB brakes.
While the correspondence found gives no indication as to traffic patterns, it does specify the retirement of sand drying facilities and specifically mentions the retirement of the facilities at Cedar Lake, Albert Lea and Marshalltown. New facilities to use the new sand cars were to be established at Cedar Lake, Albert Lea or Marshalltown so we know the dried sand did not come from there. Those three points received shipments of dried sand. Because the cars were lettered and equpped for interchange service and listed in the OFFICIAL RAILWAY EQUIPMENT REGISTER could the dried sand have come from off line?
NO....BUILT..RETIRED.SOLD TO....DISMANTLE AT
70003..6-16.....5-65.............Cedar Lake 12-66
70009..6-16.....5-65.............Cedar Lake 4-66
70013..6-16....12-64.............Cedar Lake 12-66
70015..6-16.....2-61.Am Iron&Sup.Dismantled 7-61
70019..1934.....4-78.............Itasca, Wis 2-80
70021..1934.....7-65 Luria Bros
70023..1934.....6-65 Luria Bros
An article on 70003 to 70017 with photos and drawings is being prepared. The file relating to the conversion of 70019 to 70023 to sand cars, which the M&StL bought from Hyman-Michaels, states "There is not much information on these cars. The original owner, builder, or date built, are not known." Elsewhere in the file a pencil note gives the date built as 1934.
What about number 70001? In November 1936 the M&StL leased a tank car fitted with hopper bottoms for handling bulk cement from General American. The lease called for two cars but a pencil note states "1-only placed in service." It is unknown when this lease ended. 70001 was originally GATX 34000, a 10,000 (actually 10,140) gallon tank car built in Warren, Pennsylvania by GATC in February 1917. This car was 36 feet long over strikers and the tank was 87 inches in diameter.
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