Denny Anspach <danspach@...>
Very interesting comment on the common use of grain cars for the backhaul carriage of retail coal.
I recall well that about every little Iowa town's fuel dealer had a coal yard, also very commonly in my memory an appendage of the local lumber yard- always along a railroad siding. These were ground level compounds, and it was obvious to me that most of these had to be at one time filled by hand from whatever railroad car brought it in (in later years, of course, by dump-truck haul).
If these grain cars carried coal, then how did they block the doors- "grain doors" again? Although I would suspect that coal is actually relatively "clean", I would also presume that a car that carried coal would have had to be thoroughly cleaned to a certain level of cleanliness to then carry grain again. If so, how did that work?
Our family dealt with such an old railroad-era coal yard in Ocheydan, Iowa well into the late '80s and early '90s both to feed a fireplace; but also more specifically the firebox of a steam launch. If I recall correctly, in later years, the coal may have been in burlap bags.
(It suddenly occurs to me that a long time participant on this list, the Rev. Douglas Harding, is as we speak, the very newly-installed pastor of the Methodist Church in Ocheydan!)
Denny S. Anspach, MD