Re: grain box cars were primary coal carriers

Douglas Harding

Denny, right you are. I preach for the first time at the Ocheyedan UMC at
10:30 tomorrow morning. Extra points if I pronounce the name correctly.

Would like to know more about the coal dealer, however. When you come for
your annual vacation, drop by and show me the location. As you commented
every town in Iowa had a fuel dealer/lumberyard who handled coal. But few,
if any, had trestles for unloading hoppers. Coal was stored on the ground,
often shoveled out by hand from gons and boxcars. Many mid-western roads
hauled coal in gons, not hoppers. Labor was cheap, and I suspect that
unloading a gon of coal was "filler" work for the local lumber yard crew,
something to do when no other work was demanded. Coal was hauled in boxcars
during the winter months, to keep it from getting wet and freezing into one
large lump.

Doug Harding
Iowa Central Railroad
Now relocated in Sibley, Ia.

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