Re: Erie boxcar, late 1940s

Claus Schlund \(HGM\)

Hi Tom, Todd and List Members,
Great photo, thanks.
The industry looks to be a manufactured gas plant - also sometimes known as a coal gasification plant just as Todd suggested.
A manufactured gas plant had coal as its input, and produced gas (gas holder tanks are clearly visible on the left) and coke as its outputs. I suspect the big pile of 'coal' is likely coke.
It looks to me like coal is probably delivered in the PRR hoppers, and dumped at the dumper on the right, where we can see a PRR class GLa twin hopper in the process of being dumped. The coal gets hoisted out of the dumper by 1st conveyor, and then the coal goes to either the retort house via the 2nd (higher) conveyor or it goes into the coal storage bin to the left of the 1st conveyor. I'm gonna guess that the coal in the coal storage bin is ultimately intended for loading into coal delivery trucks for sale to retail customers.
We don't have an exact date for the photo, do we? I'm gonna guess given the trees are in full foliage that it is NOT during winter, and it may be summer. This explains the large coke pile - the manufactured gas plant will produce coke as a byproduct of the gas production process all year long, but the high demand period for coke will be winter for home heating, so the coke gets stockpiled during the non-heating season for sale later on.
Some manufactured gas plants also shipped out coal tar and aqueous ammonia as two further byproducts - these byproducts would have been shipped out in tank cars. One can see storage tanks that are possibly intended for such byproducts above the right-most PRR GLa twin hopper, but I don't see any tank cars
Claus Schlund

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2022 1:37 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Erie boxcar, late 1940s

That industry in the background is interesting, also.  Coal gasification plant?  The coal looks lighter than bituminous, but anthracite doesn't have much gas content... Guess it could be a power plant ... Mysteries. 

Comments / thoughts from others?

Todd Sullivan

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