Re: Photo: Unloading Coal From A Boxcar

Philip Dove

I beleive the large lumps of coal have been made into a rough wall so that smaller coal can be shovelled into the gap in the middle. the large lumps would have been moved by hand, they are too big for a shovel. If you look closely you can see smaller 2 or 3" lumps on the guys shovel. In December 2000 i saw similar size trucks in China loaded in this style. The biggest piece of coal I saw that day ( or any other) was about 4'long and approaching 12" square in section. A wall had been built of large lumps of coal then inside the wall were put smaller bits. Keeping coal in larger bits as long as possible is considered desirable, I think it somehow stops the coal losing calorific value. A concern when loading ships with coal from railway cars on Tyneside, England was always to stop the coal breaking into small bits or dust.  Building a wall of coal on the back of a truck is not a very safe way of carrying the coal as bits frequently fall off.


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