Erie Lackawanna 'erielack' E-Mail List Photo Archive

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From: "Paul R DOT Tupaczewski" paultup AT comcast DOT net
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2007 11:33:26 -0400
Subject: RE: (erielack) Water bottles...
"drew.jpg" - image/jpeg, 1024x1381 (24bit)

> For the two complete Top 100 Traffic Accounts lists I have,
> Pacific Vegetable Oil is only on the 1974 list, at #99 with
> 2,126 units.

I find the 2126 number very hard to believe. That works out to ~8 tank cars
per day, odd considering two separate drills worked this plant on a daily
basis? Hmm....

Maybe I was looking at a New York Division "top 10 list?" :)

By the way, for some clarity, attached are some handy photos.

"drew.jpg" is my annotated view of an aerial of the plant from the late
1960s. I overlaid a thin blue line showing where the tracks went, as well as
labeling some of the discussed items (water bottle loading, etc.) Note
there are a LOT of truck trailers in front of the warehouse with nary a
boxcar to be found :(. If you look carefully at the upper left in front of
the production building, you can see a covered hopper amidst the line of
tank cars. Also note the EL boxcar in front of Boonton Feed at lower left.
Today Boonton Feed is a popular auction house where lots of railroadiana has
been sold over the years.

"Drew Chemical aerial view.jpg" shows a slightly lower aerial taken in the
mid-1950s by the DL&W. You'll note there are LOTS of boxcars in this view
and the property generally looks neater.

"Drew Flyer p2" is the scan of a Drew Chemical flyer in my collection that
shows yet another overhead view of the plant, slightly retouched (they added
the "sign" on the office building) Again, a lot of boxcars, and the
delineation between the oil and water bottle tracks at the lower left is
pretty obvious. Note also the list of stuff they made!

"btn-drew.jpg" is a photo of a painting in the new Drew offices in Boonton
that I shot a few years ago thanks to a lister who works in said office. :)
This is the image I remember best as a kid, that's Myrtle Avenue in the
foreground. The artist took a few liberties - he neglected to draw the DL&W
main in the foreground! The cars in the foreground are the water bottle cars
(note the odd yellow "W" on one), the background are the oil cars)

Finally, "Drew Switcher..." is a shot of Drew's own inter-plant switcher, a
Whitcomb diesel, just outside the plant gate. I assume they used this to
switch the boxcars into the warehouse. After the boxcar traffic dropped off,
they sold the unit to the Morris County Central tourist operation, and today
it's owned by the NYS&W Technical & Historical Society.

Oh, and as an interesting postscript: There's a public baseball field in a
small park called Pepe Field, and it's located on top of the hill behind the
Drew complex. About 15 years ago, they began noticing an odd,
rotten-egg-and-oil smell on hot summer days during Little League games. They
finally discovered that Drew dumped thousands of gallons of "production
by-products" into a hole on the property (which was theirs at the time),
then covered it up, and later donated it to the town for use as a park. It
became a superfund site and millions were spent to remediate this. That was
Drew's "going away" present to Boonton (though Drew built new offices for
themselves in Boonton that are still there today, albeit Drew was purchased
by Ashland Chemical a decade ago)

- Paul


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