Re: Coal to New England (was NMRA book)

Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>

Don Burn wrote:

Tim Gilbert wrote:

2) The operating range of hoppers was far more restricted than boxcars
because they were generally loaded with only one commodity - coal.
Therefore, when unloaded, they generally were returned to the mines
empty although, not in all cases, to mines on the home roads.

Does anyone have any data on patterns of hoppers usage to deliver coal to New England? Particularily, coal for home heating? This was a common industry, even for small towns. The question is what were the likely road names you would see in such service? Also, I would assume a particualr coal yard would probably be getting their supply from the same supplier, so would see hoppers from the same railroad and not a variety of lines, is this correct?


Before the 1930's, much of the Anthracite Coal used for home heating was hauled via Tidewater in barges from New York and Delaware Bays in "Schooner Barges." Some of this traffic was transferred into hoppers or gons generally owned by the New England roads. Some of this traffic never rode on New England Rails - the dealers being at quayside.

With the improved operating procedures made possible by the 1920's Modernization Programs, all-rail transport from the Anthracite Breakers to New England Anthracite dealers became the norm. The hoppers (& some gons because some dealers were not equipped to unload hoppers) were generally owned by roads serving the anthracite fields in NE Pennsylvania (D&H, LV, RDG, ERIE, DL&W, PRR). But there was no guarantee that a breaker on the one of the anthracite roads would use the home road's hoppers - e.g. in November-December 1952, dealers on the Suncook Valley RR in New Hampshire received four carloads of Anthracite from a colliery in Coxton PA located on the Lehigh Valley RR: - the hoppers used were owned by the LV, L&NE and D&H plus a PRR gon.

For Bituminous Coal used in power generation, all of the coal originated by mines on the C&O, VGN and N&W was transshipped in Hampton Roads into colliers (and, before 1930, schooner barges) for ports in New England where the coal could be transferred in New England-owned Hoppers or consumed quayside - the largest user of bituminous coal in New England was the Eastern Gas & Fuel Works in Everett MA, and all their coal came via Hampton Roads.

Bituminous coal mined in western PA and northern WV was all rail after 1930 in B&O, WM, PRR and other roads serving those coal fields. Before 1930, some of that coal was transshipped at Baltimore and Philadelphia for New England.

I'm also curious about home heating oil, which again I would assume would follow similar patterns.

All of the Tank Cars in New England except those used to store diesel fuel for railroad use were owned by private owners - either shippers or private tank car lines who leased cars to shippers. Thus, the tank cars used were more consistent once it is known how each shipper garnered his tank care: - e.g. ESSO and Socony leased their cars from UTLX; Texaco sold their TCX fleet to GATX in the 1930's and leased their cars from GATX afterwards (although some still had TCX marks); American used their own MPLX fleet and Gulf used their GRCX fleet. Except for ESSO which had a refinery in Chelsea MA, most petroleum products came to New England via Tidewater.

Tim Gilbert

Tim Gilbert

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