Re: Shipping Coal - How Far?

Tony Thompson

Jim Betz wrote:

How far would coal be shipped in hoppers? Especially as
it relates to the West Coast. I'm talking about regular
everyday coal for steam - such as to a railroad or to a
cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel
mill or power plant).

   Two points: first, it depends on a number of factors as to route, etc.. Second, steam coal to a power plant, or premium locomotive coal, is very different from coal for fuel at a cement plant. Broadly speaking, these are all different. Coal may easily come from different places to satisfy different needs.

And what was truly in control of the sourcing of coal?
Of course it was price per ton - but, for instance, how
much closer would the coal mine have to be before
the shipping costs based upon ton miles started to be
more important than how many RRs were involved in
the shipment or other factors?

         You would just look up the tariff. Tariffs were all over the map, and were most certainly NOT, repeat NOT, scalable by distance. They were tariffs between points. There were often discrepancies, and then special rules were put it to try and avoid ways to end-run the tariff. Complex subject, I'll expand if anyone really wants to know.

For instance - where would coal for such purposes
have been shipped from - going to locations in Central
or Northern California?
I know there was coal in Utah that was being shipped
to Southern California. Other sources/locations?

Western Colorado, Eastern Utah coal was decent quality. So was Black Diamond coal from Washington. Coal certainly came from farther away when there were strikes in one of the mining areas.

Extra credit - what 'influence' did the railroad that the
industry was on have on the source of the coal in
received? For instance if you have a cement plant
in Northern California being served by the ATSF ...
where did the coal it received -probably- come from?

       Again, just look at the tariffs. No simple answer.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

Join to automatically receive all group messages.