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Paper Mill Flatcar Table .

Paper Mill Flatcar Table

Whiting, Wisconsin.

The Whiting Division of New Page / Corenso / Consolidated Papers closed in February.

Now that the pulp piles and railroad cars are gone, it is easier to see this unusual use for a flatcar.
At first I thought it might a scale platform,
but looking closer, I suspect this is something to help unload wood chips from trucks.

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I think there is just a one-lane ramp from the right, and it has highway-type galvanized quard rails.
The yellow handrails on the left are part of some table that is raised vertically by an overhead electric hoist that is on top of the A frame attached to the flatcar.
That end table might be hinged on the left end of the flat car.
I suspect the table is actually an open grid of steel, like a screen.
When it is lowered down as flat as the flatcar,
maybe it keeps frozen clumps of wood chips from going with the good chips.
Somewhere below ground level, there might be a pipe or conveyor to collect the chips and send them to the concrete block building behind all of this.
From there, the chips were blown up into a big pile in a concrete bunker. See the pipe to the upper left in the air.
This bunker has just two sides, on the west and south.
I don't know how the wood chips were moved from that pile to the digester building nearby.

The air blower on this side of the flatcar maybe moved chips away from the wood chip hopper track and the flat car area.
It's air inlet is high in the air, and the discharge pipe goes into the ground.

I would guess semi-trucks would back up onto the flatcar.
If they were conveyor bottom or live-bottom trailer trucks, they could push their loads out their rear ends.
And onto the screen table.

So why would this be done over a flatcar? Some concrete blocks and gravel would elevate a truck for unloading.

The wheels sets are turned 90 degrees from normal for a railroad car.
The flatcar looks like a transfer table, but since the right end is aligned with a ramp, it probably wouldn't be a parallel transfer?
Maybe it would pivot on the right end, and swing on the left? Moved by electric motor, or a bump from a wheel loader?
I don't know if there are rails or concrete under the wheels.
Might the flatcar actually be rolled on the left end to position the rear of the semi-truck for something?
Maybe so a load could be dumped fast into several smaller piles on the ground so the truck could leave faster?
Has anyone worked there and know how this was operated? Maybe that would help someone model it.
It's a good place for a derelict flat car that is over the 50-year time limit for over-the-line cars.

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The big green ex-Algoma Central chip gons appear to have been unloaded in this same area, on a track alongside of this flatcar.
I don't know what machinery was used to unload those open-top high-side cars.
I've seen cars with little side doors, but was that just for clean out? Cars weren't rotary dumped here.
And some chip hoppers don't have the little side doors. Did they have any bottom doors?

Maybe some unloading device is related to the winch on the beam of the tower by the air blower.
Was some power sweeper lowered into each car?
Some machine that a man could operate to help move chips to the car's outlet hole?

Below is a view from 2 years ago when wood chip cars were still unloaded here.
The unusal flat car is hidden by trees, and is just right of the snow-covered chip hopper with the yellow end.

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I have some pictures of the big green cars of wood chips,
in not as brilliant a paint as when they were new in the 1970's.

I took these pictures of one in 2004.

There are spreader bars welded across the top.
There is still space between the bars for a clam shell bucket to unload them,
but I would guess they would have been hit and bent after all these years if they were unloaded a lot from the top.
. . . . . . Hooks on the side can hold the 'bird netting' that can be pulled over the top of a load so the wind doesn't blow away the chips.
. . . . . . . . . . It looks like the load sprang back up and is 'cut' by the bars.
. . . . . . . . . Do wood chips 'fluff up' with the vibration of the long trips?

One end has a box to hold the 'bird netting'.

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This car had a build date of 1987?
I've seen a lot of Algoma Central cars,
but rarely photographed them.

They were loaded about 200 miles north of Sault St. Marie.

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There's an unloading hole near each end,
and on each side,
making a total of 4.

The hand grab is broke loose on this door.
The J-hook could hold it open.

But some cars arriving in this plant didn't have these little side doors.

I don't know if cars also had bottom doors.

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(current as of June 2010)
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( the index page is now on the TrainWeb site, as of January 2011. And I will have to also keep the Next Generation index up-to-date also )

This page was wrote in 2011