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Algoma Steel

by Wayne V. Brittain (1975) Former ASC railway employee 1965-91.

Algoma Steel is a fully integrated steel making facility. Its manufactures all steel products except wire, nails, nuts and bolts. Its annual steel production is 2.6 million tons increasing in 1975 to 4.1 million tons. The increase will be accomplished with the completion of No. 7 Blast Furnace and No. 2 Concast facility.

Steel making capacity is handled by 4 Blast Furnaces (One more ready for completion in April 1975) and 2 Basic Oxygen Steel Shops. It still runs one Open Hearth furnace to melt down broken moulds and other iron scrap. The other 5 Open hearth furnaces were shutdown in 1973.

Algoma rolls the widest plate in Canada at 166" and olls 90% of the railroad rails used in Canada. It recently leased the Mannesmann Tube mill for 15 years and is now operated as a subsidiary of Algoma. It also has a stampting mill to turn out various parts for the automotive industry. The pipe manufactured is primarily used for the Automotive industry. The pipe manufactured is primarily used in the oil industry and is shipped through-out the world. Various chemical by-products are recovered from the coke gases and used throughout Canada. The Company owns one Great Lakes freighter which is used to deliver steel products primarily to the Windsor-Detroit area. The Company owns its own coal mines in West Virginia to supply coking coal for the coke ovens.

The Transportation Department, which is responsible for the railroad servide inside the property consists of 22 locomotives with 90 enginemen and 116 trainmen to man the jobs. Equipment includes a snowplow, Jordan spreader, 16 150 ton iron ladles, 9 240 ton iron ladles, 47 slag cars (some of which were purchased from STELCO when they quit hauling slag by train), 350 scrap gons, 500 flat cars, 150 hopper cars. All cars were built in the company car shops except for the iron ladles and slag cars which are built to the Treadwell design and NSC for some slag cars.

The plant goes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except that operations are reduced on Dominion Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day.

Linde Air, division of Union Carbide, Domtar and Ogden Metals, have plants inside the Company property which Algoma Steel crews switch.

Algoma Steel receives from the Algoma Central about 150 cars of iorn ore, 100 empty gons, 50 empty CP hoppers and 75 miscellaneous cars every 24 hours. Loaded cars out are split between AC and CP but AC handles all interchange because it has exclusive rights into Algoma Steel property. About 15-20 loads are interchanged to Soo Line via CP every day.

Engine Assignments and Areas Switched

No. 1 Mill Job; Switch foreman, 2 switchmen, engineman. Regular locomotive is 36. Crew works even hours (12M, 8AM and 4 PM). Switches doors 16. 23, 28, 34, 36, 38 in plate mill, doors 1 and 10 New Cold Mill, plus weighs in empty cars for other mills. Doors 23 and 36 hold 25 cars each.

No.2 Mill Job; Switch foreman, 2 switchmen, engineman. Regular locomotive is 34. Crew works odd hours (11 PM, 7AM and 3 PM). Crew switches Bar & Strip, Rail Mill, 25", 45" and 46" mills.weighs in empty cars.

No. 3 Yard; Switch foreman, switchman, engineman and fireman. Regular locomotive is 50. Crew works even hours (12M, 8AM and 4PM). This is a roustabout job and usually switches scrap tracks at No. 2 Basic oxygen and Ogden Metals plus pipe from Tube Mill and helps out with the mills if needed. Diesel 50 replaces 51 on the slag run when 51 is in the shop.

No. 4 Yard; Foreman, switchman, engineman. Regular locomotive is 40. Crew works odd hours (11PM, 7AM and 3 PM). Crew switches Rail Mill, slab yard, Bar & Strip, looks after boat loading dock, helps out in the plate mill if needed.

No. 5 Yard; Foreman, switchman, engineman. Regular locomotive is 30. Crew works odd hours (11PM, 7AM and 3PM). Roustabout job, fills in where needed, switches Linde Air.

Coke job; Foreman, switchman, engineman. Regular locomotive is 32. Crew works even hours. Switches coke ovens, Domtar and some scrap work.

No.1 Iron Job; Foreman, switchman, engineman. Works even hours. Regular locomotive is 35. Switches blast furnaces, forwards iron to numbers 1 and 2 BOSP.

No. 2 Iron Job; Foreman, switchman, engineman. Works odd hours. Regular locomotive is 39. Switches same area as No. 1 Iron Job.

No. 1 Slag Job; Foreman, switchman, engineman, fireman. Works odd hours. Regular locomotive is 51. Hauls slag from Blast furnaces to slag dump. Maximum train is 15 loads. Grade on slag dump is 3% Usually makes 3 trips per shift.

No.2 Slag Job; Foreman, switchman, engineman. Works even hours. Regular locomtive is 33. Switches all blast furnaces for slag and makes up trains for No. 1 Slag Job.

Extra jobs are put on as needed on an irregular basis.

Standard gauge locomotives 3 and 4 are stationed on top of the blast furnace highline to deliver coke from a belt to various bins in the highline. One switchman handles both locomotives, that is he takes one out while the other is loading and so on. It takes about 7-8 minutes to load the car full of coke (35 tons).

Dual control equipped 31 and 42 substitute for 3 and 4 when they are in the shop.

There are 5 narrow gauge jbs. The engineman belongs to Transportation but the groundmen belong to steelmaking. 2 different unions are involved, UTU and USWA. All jobs work the odd hours. A relief crew works 11 am to 7 pm and 11 pm to 7 am without a locomotive to relieve man for coffee, lunch and take up slack at crew change time. If one narrow gauge locomotive is in the shop, then there are two relief crews and locomotives go steady. There is about 4 miles of narrow gauge track with about 200 narrow gauge cars. Ingots vary from 27" x 27" to 28" x 78", the latter weigh 23 tons each!

Locomotives 31, 37, 38, 41 and 42 are spare. Diesel 51 is shopped every Sunday for 2 shifts of maintainence. All others are shopped as scheduled or breakdown. All major work on 50 and 51 is done at the ACR as Algoma Steel doesn't have GM parts. Algoma Steel also services Abitibi Paper's 65 ton GE centre cab loco.

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