Re: Photo: Unloading Coal From A Boxcar


Dennis Storzek
 

On Thu, May 6, 2021 at 10:18 AM, Bob Chaparro wrote:
I guess if you don’t have a coal dock and you only need a small amount of coal you ask for a boxcar instead of a hopper.
Well, Saskatoon is a major city, so I suppose this large lump is going to a commercial user, but most coal consumed in the little towns on the Canadian prairies and northern Great Plains was shipped in boxcars. The elevators and farm supply places that sold it stored it under cover so it didn't freeze solid, and nobody had a dump pit anyway. Most steam era photos of elevators in the area show the distinctive coal storage buildings; I can think of examples that were still standing in eastern Iowa and Waukesha Wisc. in the late sixties.

Labor was cheap, at least before WWII. I remember an article in The SOO, the magazine of the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society, titled North Dakota Memories, where the author and his brother had the "concession" to unload coal at the local elevator after school, for a dime a ton... but if they held the car too long, the dollar a day demurrage was deducted out of what they earned. He made the comment that they liked when a car came on Thursday, as the weekend gave them two extra free days to get the job done.

Dennis Storzek

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