Photo by Ron Gawedzinski
On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, a joint group of 28 railfans from the St. Louis Chapter NRHS and the Gateway Division NMRA toured Amsted Rail Co. foundry.
The foundry, over a hundred years old, sits on 17 acres, with 800,000 square feet under roof. Amsted is the global leader in fully integrated freight car systems for the heavy haul rail market. It builds everything from wheels, axles and bearings to brake systems, bogies, bolsters and more.
Nine Amsted management personnel acted as tour guides and gave us an extensive tour of the foundry, providing excellent explanations of what went on at each foundry work site, from creating molds, pouring of molten steel, heavy crane movements, and using lots and lots of sand. We saw and learned a lot more details and appreciation for what special expertise it takes to fabricate the numerous parts for railroad freight cars.
We viewed and gained a better insight into the specialized, heavy-duty equipment and labor used in the production and testing of the parts, from inception to final product.
This was our group’s first tour of a site on a weekday, and under actual working conditions in the foundry. So there was plenty of “background sounds” (noise) as well as “flames, fire and heat” from the pouring of molten steel to make the tour even more interesting.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures or videos due to proprietary fabrication practices. But what we saw will remain in our memories for some time. As a couple of members said, “Wow!”
The tour was arranged by Ron Gawedzinski, Outside Activity Coordinator, Gateway Division NMRA and St. Louis Chapter NRHS.