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  • Santa Fe 's Duval Unit Sulphur Train

    by Jay Miller

    Prototype photos by the author.

    The variety of the cars now operating in the unit train make it much more interesting than the units trains made up of cars of identical design. The wide variety also adds interest to the modeling projects if you're making up one of these long freight drags.
    Prototype Modeler - August 1977 - Page 34 Prototype Modeler - August 1977 - Page 35 Prototype Modeler - August 1977 - Page 36

    Several subscribers have written to Prototype Modeler with requests for in formation and/or photographs of the unit sulphur train in Texas; this article will answer those requests. (Ed)

    In November, 1969, the Duval Corporation's commercial operation opened its new $9,000,000. Galveston Sulphur Terminal. Shortly thereafter it marked, with appropriate ceremonies, the arrival of the first 66-car train of liquid sulphur from the mine at Rustler Springs, in far west Texas. The train operated, as it does today, by way of Carlsbad and Clovis, New Mexico, and then through Lubbock, Sweet water, Brownwood, Kileen, Temple, Bellville, Rosenberg, and Alvin and then into Galveston, Texas.

    There, the motive power is cut off and the whole train is interchanged with the Southern Pacific who delivers it to the Duval plant on the north side of Galveston Island. The train runs anywhere from 66 to 100 cars, takes two days to get to Galveston from Rustler Springs and there are at least three trains on the system at one time (one at the mine, one en route, and one in Galveston).

    Original motive power was a set of 900 Class SD-24's while the present motive power is quite beefy: an F-45 and two SD-45-2's on the point and two SD45's and a Locotrol B-unit cut in in the middle.

    The cars at one time were standard types and colors but now there are several types in operation (see photos).

    The liquid sulphur is maintained at 275 degrees F to facilitate loading into the cars and makes the two day trip without cooling more than 2 degrees. The cars are then connected to steam lines at the Galveston Terminal, and later unloaded into heated liquid storage tanks or bulk storage areas to await delivery to barge or ship for water delivery.

    Article Details

    • Original Author Jay Miller
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date August 1977

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