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Re: [CBQ] [PassengerCarList] Budd car corrosion

To: CBQ@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [CBQ] [PassengerCarList] Budd car corrosion
From: "Leo Phillipp via" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 21:08:45 -0600

Based on many years experience in tank cars this may not have been “rust” per se. There can be chemical reaction between different types of metals when attached to each other. It is called galvanic corrosion. I have experience with this reaction between ordinary carbon steel and stainless steel.

As further general info. Corten steel was made by U.S. Steel. It has/had a relatively high copper content which today makes it unacceptable for inbound  steel mill scrap as it makes the new steel “too soft”. Corten steel was used widely on exterior application where its use was expected to reduce repainting costs.

One last FYI, Corten steel was narrowly used in certain eastern coal car fleets side, end and slope sheets as it was expected the higher copper levels would reduce corrosion from the high sulfur coal loads.

Leo Phillipp

On Nov 19, 2020, at 11:52 AM, Charlie Vlk <cvlk@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:


Regarding the topic of the corrosion of Budd “smoothside” cars with Cor-Ten steel rusting, AFAIK the Budd slab or panel side cars on the NP and GN were painted stainless steel and they performed as well as any of the conventionally fluted cars in the Burlington fleet.  As a side note….Cor-Ten is supposed to rust…that is the main point of using it…the rust provides a protection barrier for anything made of it.  I don’t know if it and stainless reacts the same as the steels used in PS and ACF cars.

As a  sidebar to this thread…

I’ve seen comments here previously relating to Budd roofs leaking and being painted with sealant.

I’ve never seen a Burlington car of any vintage so treated and wondered why the Q didn’t have the problems with leaking roofs or did they deal with it in a different manner?  (This doesn’t count the WWII painting of (some??) roofs (likely those in Exposition Flyer service that would make it to the West Coast) to make them less conspicuous to enemy aircraft).

They had a number of the different types of Budd carbody construction (not all, but most of the “Phases”) and the only press they ever got was when the DZ were completely refurbished down to the frames was the remarkable pristine condition of the structure. 

I do recall seeing some silver color caulking on roofs of ex-Q dome cars but that was on cars in excursion service well after AMTRAK.

Anybody have any other input on the experience of water intrusion on Budd cars which would be the source of all evils under discussion?

Charlie Vlk



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