Re: I don't really think of the B&A as serving areas rich in mineral resources

Mark Hemphill

I found a better map of the market areas.  The one I had last night was a really poor xerox.

Market Area 1 included Maine, the eastern 1/3 of New Hampshire, the eastern 1/2 of Massachusetts, all of Rhode Island, and the eastern half of Connecticut.  

Market Area 2 included the remaining portions of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, all of Vermont, New York state east of Rochester, all of New Jersey, all of Delaware, the eastern 2/3s of Pennsylvania, and the eastern 3/4 of Maryland east of approximately Cumberland. It also included all of Canada (!) east of roughly Kingston, Ontario.

With that better information in hand, and just looking at the tonnages, the question remains how much coal showed up on the New England seaboard in a coastwise barge or schooner, and was reloaded into a hopper or gon for inland movement.  From my experience with rail pricing and marketing of coal, and considering how rates worked in the regulated area, and from my experience with car supply and how railroads think about that, in Market Area 1, within 50 miles of the seaboard, my though is that there was virtually no coal arriving all-rail, and that the market was almost exclusively supplied by tidewater coal originating on C&O, N&W, and VGN mines and some anthracite also moving rail-water, that was either consumed right at dockside, loaded into trucks or wagons for local delivery, and trucks for up to about a 50-mile range.  Beyond 150 miles, from the seaboard, I would expect that the market was almost exclusively supplied by all-rail coal, much of it originating at NYC-served mines.  (I can't imagine that the Pocahontas roads would ever encourage all-rail moves to Market Area 1; they'd lose the hopper for months at a time when they could instead cycle it multiple times to Hampton Roads.)  In between, my thought is that the coal supply tended to be all-rail coal in the summer months when there was ample car supply, and tidewater coal delivered by either truck or rail in the winter months. That is, in the summer, when NYC had surplus cars, they would fulfill orders for coal moving to New England, and in the winter, when there was high demand on their own lines, they would only fulfill car orders for coal moving captive to their own lines.

I would be surprised if a New England road had purchased coal equipment to cycle to a mine on someone else's road -- at least, they probably wouldn't have made that mistake twice, because the cars would have been sent out to empty on their maiden trip and probably never would have been seen again.  Despite what is often said about per diem incentiving railroads to return foreign cars promptly, railroads frequently stole other railroad's cars and never gave them back, particularly if they had a car shortage for their own customers. The per diem cost was small compared to the forgone revenue of not moving a load.  (The eastern railroads in the 1950-1980 time frame were particularly fond of never returning western road boxcars that arrived with lumber loads; they were car-poor because much of their equipment was by the 1950s junk that the customer would never accept. The ICC Finance Reports have a lot of fuming about that particularly by SP.)  It's one thing to supply cars to an originating railroad when the commodity and O-D pairs are so weird and the originating railroad has no other use for them, but when it's a plain unequipped car, good luck.  (Today, it's a big reason why a customer who needs a plain boxcar, covered hopper, or gon in a regular service that originates on one Class 1, and terminates on another Class 1, is much better off leasing its own cars than hoping the originating railroad will provide a system car.)  

Background to where Market Areas came from: The Bituminous Coal Act of 1937 "was to establish minimum prices and maintain a "cost-floor" under the sale of bituminous coal at the mine so as to improve the position of the industry and enable it to pay the wages and meet the terms of employment arrived at under collective bargaining. The Act thus provided for the establishment of a minimum price structure for bituminous coal which would return to producers an income equal to their costs less capital charges." (Source: Minimum Price Fixing in the Bituminous Coal Industry, Waldo E. Fisher and Charles M. James, Princeton University Press, 1955)

The key document that might answer this (and my copies are buried in one of 500 boxes): The ICC Annual Statistics of Steam Railways of the U.S. These should show the carloads of coal originated by the roads.  

Mark Hemphill

---In STMFC@..., <mjmcguirk@...> wrote :

Time wrote:

"I have wondered whether in the STMFC era whether railroads that RECEIVED a lot of
traffic of a certain type also supplied cars for the off-line originators of that
traffic in order to ensure a good supply of cars for their customers. "

Central Vermont rostered 200 twin-bay hoppers. Based on circumstantial photo evidence the majority of them seemed to spend a fair amount of time on the southern end of the railroad around New London - no surprise as their were several large gravel operations. They may have been used to deliver coal to company coal loading points but the overwhelming number of photos of the coaling towers show B&O and (sometimes) PRR hoppers on the dump tracks.

But Tim's question brings up an interesting point - but I've never seen any evidence of any of the CV's hoppers being loaded in the coal fields. Would be interested if that was the case since it would at least validate the hypothesis.

Marty McGuirk

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