E - Car

E-car  located inside the Queen mine tour

E-cars are the best designed car used in the Bisbee mines. They were first built by the El Paso foundry and machine company and introduced at the Holbrook mine in 1910. The car was continually used in production haulage until the underground mines in Bisbee closed.  E- cars were originally  used by Copper Queen Consolidated, it appears that when they took over the C&A they switched those mines to E-cars.  The car was a replacement for the gable bottom Koppel car which could not handle the sticky muck.  This rocker dump design handled the sticky material well. Switching car designs came at a great expense. The drifts had to be widen to fit the larger cars.   Dumping is similar to H-cars, lift trip with boot and push over tub.  E – cars are easy to dump if filled, heaping full.  When the trains are running over rough rail, the cars often trip themselves and will dump their load alongside the track as the train is moving. Like all other rocker dump cars, for safety the heap of muck in the car will need to be placed on the side, which the car is to dump. If not when the car is tripped, it will try and dump on top of the operator. It will be very difficult to stop the car from doing this because of the sheer weight of the muck.   Another hazard is when material is stuck in the car. After it is dumped the stuck material in the bottom of the car will cause the car to forcibly roll back towards the operator. Frasco boards made of 4”X6” timber or 2” pipe were placed at the top of the pockets to prevent these hazards. These boards were set vertically with one end hinged against the back ( ceiling), the other  end would hang down to a point where it could be wedged against the side of the car tub. This held it down in the dump position for cleaning.

Holding down E - car with Frasco board

  Cleaning inside the tub would be done with a blowpipe or beating the bottom of the tub with a doublejack to free the stuck material.  When dumping sticky muck it is necessary to chain the car to the ground or use a bump board to keep the car from falling into the pocket. E-cars are one of the few types that could be fitted with automatic couplers. To attach cars with automatic couplers open one or both coupler knuckles, line up the drawbar so the knuckles will hit each other, move into the clear and signal motorman to bump the cars together.  E-cars also can be outfitted with the link connection, where a steel ring is connected by a pin in each car. In the early years an important disadvantage of the car is that the height made it difficult to hand muck into them. This complaint later become obsolete with the introduction of mucking machines.(Though the Findlay model 12’s had to be modified to load the car.) The car was also too heavy for general tramming by hand or with mules.

Illustration of E-car showing the spring draft rigging.

Dumping trip

Miner unsafely hooking up E-cars with automatic couplers

Drawing showing the use of a chain to hold down  car and keep it from falling into the pocket when dumping

End of car showing where the draw head fits

Diagram showing axles and bearings


Bisbee Daily Review March 13 1910, no. 266 vol. XII p.1

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.20, 21, 26, 27

Code of Safe Practice for Haulage 1967, Phelps Dodge Corporation pp.21,26,27

Henry Hernandez 2010, pers. comm., 2 November

Pete Oller 2010, pers. comm., 8 November

 Procedure of Safe Practice for Haulage 1947, Phelps Dodge Corporation pp.9-11

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

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

Transactions of American Institute of Mining Engineers 1916 Vol. LII pp. 467,468,471

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


© 2013 by Doug Graeme