Malcolm H. Houck
Some roads, D&H, MEC, CNJ regularly used the very low side gondolas for coal,
and indeed they were simply shoveled clean. In some simple references they
were called "Shovel Cars..........."
Many small trackside businesses had coal bins that opened directly to the
track. The shovelers bailed the coal directly into the awaiting bins in those
I can recall shovel cars being unloaded at a dealer siding, Preston Coal, in
Lowell, Mass., as late as the early 1970s. After the first of the Middle East
oil shortages (ca. 1973) there was a huge rush for alternative sources of home
heat. Then, cannel coal, in the large layered and stratified chucks was
shipped into Preston Coal in the more customarily seen high side gondolas, and in
addition to the low side shovel cars. Those big cannel coal chunks were
unloaded by hand!