BAUXITE IN BADIN, NC


I just got back from an unexpected family bereavement trip to N.C. and am
now catching up on over two weeks of e-mail, including SMRF.

I too am interested in bauxite shipments used for aluminum manufacture. I am certainly not an expert, but did grow up in Albemarle, N.C., a few miles from Badin (Bay' dn), where Alcoa had the world's largest aluminum plant during WWII. The plant is still very much in business, and in 1997, I wrote them for information about how they used the railroads back in the 1950's.

Gary Wagoner of their traffic department replied thusly: "Alcoa Badin Works today is switched by Norfolk Southern RR. (Although the WSS still drops cars off at Whitney Junction, where lines of the two roads cross.) In the 1950's, 1960's, switching was done by 2 railroads, the Southern and the Winston-Salem Southbound, on an alternating basis three months at a time. Inbound raw materials were shipped in covered hopper cars. Most of the outbound loads of ingots were shipped by standard 50' boxcars. Today,outbound ingots have shifted significantly to truck." The Badin plant gets much of its energy needs from two hydro dams on the Yadkin River nearby.

Several different entrepreneurs and corporations tried to develop this venture starting about the turn of the last century. Aluminum Company of America bought the land and facilities in 1915 and began producing aluminum in 1916. It was developed as a company town, with the firm building and originally owning all workers' houses. Because the initial venture was undertaken by a French company that began doing the building, the homes are somewhat different than those in the typical Southern mill town. In addition to the company offices, I have obtained information from the Stanly County Public Library, Main Street, Albemarle, N.C., 28001, and from the paperback book on the Winston-Salem Southbound Railway by Jeff Miller and Jim Vaughn, that I believe is still available from the gift shop at N.C. Transportation Museum, Spencer, N.C. ope this helps, and I would like to hear more about your planned layout, as well as what you have found out about bauxite shipments.

Neville Patterson in Augusta, Me.

S.A. McCall