A-Car

(Mine Car)

Copper Queen A-car

An "A-Car" is one-ton end dump car used to haul broken rock and ore. In its early years, this style of car was the workhorse of the mining industry. In the beginning, individual cars were pushed by miners. This method of haulage is called hand tramming. Replacing this was animal haulage consisting of mules pulling trains made up of four to five "A-cars". Motorized haulage quickly followed mules combined with the use of skips for hoisting rock instead of cars being hoisted in a cage. This caused the "A-car" design to be slowly phased out and was replaced with the rocker dump and gable bottom cars. In Bisbee, when miners refer to a “mine car”, it is this type of car they indicate. All other cars are called by their letter designation as the, "H- car". Several versions of the end dump cars exist in Bisbee. The larger companies like the Copper Queen and Calumet & Arizona built their own mine cars. The only purchased items for the cars were the wheels, axle assembles and bearings. The Higgins Development Company used Truax brand cars and a few other types of unknown manufacturers have been found in some of the smaller mines.

A 1912 blueprint of a Calumet & Arizona mine car

Even through, it is referred to as, an end dump car it can be swiveled and dumped sideways. When dumping a car, it is best to chain the car to the track to prevent it from derailing or rolling. Bumper boards/rail can also be used to prevent this action.  In the later years of mining they were replaced by rocker dump style cars. After this, A-cars were regulated to haul wedges, sand, turned into mobile tool boxes and one was used in the nasty job of mucking out the Cole Shaft sump . Underground there was a large surplus of these cars and a natural cave in the Cole mine was gobbed with them. Also, a few stopes in the Southwest and Shattuck mines had a few cars backfilled in them, normally just one or two.  Today a bridge still exists in South Bisbee that was made from A- car tubs.
Dating the cars can be difficult.  As a general rule, the ones with chains in the corners date after 1907, when animal and motorized haulage was beginning to be used. The chain was used to connect multiple cars together by running the keyhole-shaped links through one another.  Cars without chains or other means of connecting them together, date before 1907 or were used by the smaller
companies as these were hand trammed cars. The company which used individual cars can be identified by the track gauge.  The Copper Queen used 20” gauge and Calumet & Arizona used 18”.  After a merger, the mines all went to 18” gauge.

 

 

  Copper Queen A- Car Specifications

 

 

Capacity                                  

 

 

12 cubic ft

Weight empty

820 lbs

Overall length

3’-7”

Inside length

3'-4"

Outside width

2'-3/4"

Height

3'-8 1/8"

Over hang

0' -2 3/8"

Coupler type

Chain

Oil used

Black

Bearing

Hyatt roller

  Track gauge                                20”

 

 

 

              Calumet & Arizona A-car Specifications

     
 

Type 1

Type 2

Capacity

16 cubic ft

16 cubic ft

Weight empty

1080lbs

960lbs

Overall length

3'-10"

3'-10"

Inside length

3'-6"

3'-6"

Outside width

2'-5"

2'-5"

Height

3'-7 7/8"

3'-7 7/8"

Over hang

5 1/2"

5 1/2"

Coupler type

Chain

Chain

Bearing

Hyatt roller

Brass

Track gauge                                  18”                           18”

The above method is to be used for the dumping of mine cars.  From the “Procedure for the  Safe Practice of Haulage.”, 1947 Edition.

Early version of an A car, without chains  at the bottom of the Queen incline

Truax mine car tub coated with postmining calcite inside the Higgins mine                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The side dumping of a C & A car with a piece of rail is being used as a bumper to keep the car from falling into the pocket.

Calumet & Arizona Style car used in the Mucking contest in Bisbee.  Later, the CQB lettering was added and stands for Copper Queen Branch.

Copper Queen A-car   (early version) found along the Queen Mine escapeway

Brass mine car bearings

 Hyatt roller bearing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

“Code of Safe Practice for Drift Mining 1955”, Phelps Dodge Corporation Fig 1.

“Code of Safe Practice for Haulage Underground 1958”, Phelps Dodge Corporation pp. 21, 27.

E.F.L., “Details of Standard 1 ton mine car for C & A and S & P Copper Co”.

Warren, Arizona, Jan 16, 1912 revised March 12, 1927 (blueprint).

Graeme, R.  “Bisbee, Arizona” Mineralogical Record Sept- Oct 1981 Vol. 25

No.5, p. 270.

Henry Hernandez 2010, pers. comm., 2 February.

Richard Graeme IV 2010, pers. comm., 8 February .

Richard Graeme III 2010, pers. comm., 2 February.

Pete Oiller 2010, pers. comm., 8 February.

 “Procedure of Safe Practice for Haulage 1947”, Phelps Dodge Corporation p.11.

Unknown, “Mine Car Data” Phelps Dodge Corporation, Bisbee, Arizona (blueprint).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

graemite@hotmail.com.

© 2013 by Doug Graeme