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                                                                                                       Train of H-cars
H-cars are the 19 cubic ft.  version of rocker dump mine car, which was introduced into Bisbee sometime in the 1930’s or early 1940’s. The cars come in two basic versions welded and riveted tubs. Welded tubs were made during World War II. These cars were paid for by the federal government to aid the mining of copper for the war effort. Riveted cars had their tubs made in Bisbee mine shops with the trucks (wheel, axle and frame assembly) being purchased, this was done until the mines closed in 1975. When using H-cars it is much easier to dump them when they are heaping full. Partially full cars often take two or more persons to dump. The heap of muck will need to be centered in the car or towards the side which the car is to be dumped. If the car is heaped on the side that the operator is on, it can roll over and dump on them. To dump a car place on hand on the edge of car and other on the dump handle, raise the dump latch with your boot and push and lift at the same time. The tub will roll over and the muck will pour out from the opposite side from which you are standing. These cars are designed to dump into a pocket. Dumping on to flat ground will bury the wheels and they will need to be mucked out with a shovel.   Wet sticky muck can make it necessary to chain the car down and /or use a bump board to keep the car from turning over into the pocket. The cars need to be kept clean on the inside; this can be done by dumping the car, holding the tub down with a frasco board and beating the bottom with a double jack to free the stuck material, blowing it out with a blow pipe, or using a pick or shovel. These cars have steel reinforcement in high wear areas the two small squares on the tub are located were the tub hits the wheels when dumping. Some cars will have plates welded on the bottom for extra protection from the beatings they take from freeing sticking material with a double jack.

H-car weld and rivited versions

                            H-cars welded version (left) riveted version (right)

Connecting the cars to together is done with chains. A short chain with an eye that has a flared end, on one car is used is to slip into a tapered notch on the next car. Hooking up locomotives is done with chains (Mancha 1 ½ ton only) or with a H-car hook-up, which are modified draw bars that allow them to be attached to the frame of the car.   The H-car is a very effective design and was one of the dominant types of car used in Bisbee mines.

H-Car Specifications  
Capacity 19cubic ft
Weight empty 1250 lbs
Overall length 4’-3/8”
Inside length 3'-4"
Outside width 2'-7"
Height 4'- 1/2"
Coupler type chain
Bearing Timken






















                                         Showing trip latch between wheels





















              Dumped cars showing trip receiver and unreinforced bottom.  

                                         Shattuck mine circa late 1980’s





















              End view of dumped car:  Note  stored cars are left dumped to prevent 

                     the bottom of the tubs from rusting out  because of water pooling in them.

                                      Shattuck mine circa late 1980’s


















                        Square steel wear plates riveted on the tub where

                                the wheels hit when the car is dumped.























                       H-car with reinforced bottom and a peace symbol

                                    welded on the side for decoration



















                                                 Chain connecting cars

















      Chain with an eye with flared end                                  Tapered notch





























                                      End of car showing chain connection points



















                                                               H-Car hookup


















                                                      Hookup attached to car

























                    Mancha 1 ½ ton motor connected to a car using H-car hookup


















Mancha 1 ½ ton motor with H car and A car chains.
Note: A car chain can be used to connect to H-Car by using the narrow end of the keyhole shaped link.











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, 26, 27, 31-34
Henry Hernandez 2011, pers. comm., 2 February
 Procedure of Safe Practice for Haulage 1947, Phelps Dodge Corporation p.10-12
Richard Graeme IV 2011, pers. comm., 8 February
Richard Graeme III 2011, pers. comm., 2 February
 Pete Oller 2011, pers. comm., 8 February
 Procedure of Safe Practice for Haulage 1947, Phelps Dodge Corporation p.11






dumped H - Car
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