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Rail Hoppers Used For Grain Storage
Two salvaged rail cars perched high atop I-beams at Tony Stonecypher's Iowa farm have gone from hauling grain over the rails to serving as stationary storage.
The cars have a combined capacity of about 3,250 bu. Incorporating the wrecked rail hoppers into the farm's handling and storage system was Stonecypher's uncle Eldon's idea. Tony's father Ray helped, too.
Eldon Stonecypher, who was killed in a car accident in 1988, got the first wrecked grain car in 1975. Only eight months old at the time, both ends of the car were smashed. He purchased the car j from a railroad, had it lifted from the wreckage site with two cranes onto a low-boy trailer and brought to the farm.
Stonecypher cut the two damaged ends off and had the center compartment, which holds about 1,000 bu., lifted onto I-beams above his batch dryer.
After. another derailment in 1980, Stonecypher bought a second car and had it hauled to the farm. Only one end of this car was wrecked, so Stonecypher had the damaged end cut off and the remaining two compartments, which hold 1,000 and 1,250 bu., respectively, hoisted onto I-beams so the car forms a T with the first.
"They only cost $400 or $500 apiece," says Ray. "But it got really expensive - I don't know just how much - to get them here and up in the air. Cost of hauling for the last one, for example, was $150/ hr."
Each section of rail car is 15 to 16 ft. long and 15 to 18 ft. tall. Both cars are mounted at least 14 ft. above the ground.
The original single compartment is used mostly for wet storage.
The second car has a cement pad on the ground and is used for loading, unloading and blending grain from the Stonecyphers' two farms.
Hydraulically operated doors on the cars are controlled by a railroad brake wheel, and semis can be loaded in a matter of minutes, Stonecypher says.
"The truckers really like them because they don't have the wait they do at other facilities," he says. "They grin from ear to ear when you load them from the hop-pers."
Stonecypher said he isn't planning to add any more rail hoppers to his system. Along with the cars' 3,250-bu. storage capacity, there are also grain bins and flat storage at the farm for total capacity of 25,000 to 28,000 bu. ~.
"I've got a lot more storage space than grain to go in it," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ray Stonecypher, 1321 March Ave., Floyd, Iowa 50435-8058 (ph 515 398-2417).

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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #6