Re: Coal Loaded in Ore Cars

Cyril Durrenberger

Also remember that starting in the 1950's the demand for coal for residential space heating started to decrease as folks converted to oil or gas fired heating. For example my inlaws in St Cloud, MN orginally had a coal fired furnace (the house still has the coal bin), converted to oil, then to natural gas when it was avilable. This transition happend much earlier near the areas that were closer to the natural gas production fields.

Cyril Durrenberger

Dennis Storzek <> wrote:
--- In, "rockroll50401" <cepropst@...> wrote:

SOO 133048 XM P & A coal Superior WI Ostlund Coal
Summit Park MN SOO-MW soft lump coal 30.65 tons

Above is a load of box car coal. Just over 30 tons
Clark propst
Not all that bad for a 40 ton boxcar, likely higher than the national
average loading of boxcars in general.

It is reasonably likely that Ostlund Coal only ordered 30 tons, as
that's all the storage capacity he had in his shed.

If it was a shed, a smaller capacity car like an ore car would not
have done any good, as it would be next to impossible to shovel it out
over the top and into the bin.

A lot of the boxcar coal shipments had to be customer driven. Small
distributors who might keep coal in stock for months on end through
the summer wanted it stored under cover, so it wouldn't degrade in
quality; especially important with lignite, which turns back to mud.
As long as labor was cheap, they had no impetus to change their
methods, so had no need for a self clearing car, as they had no place
to dump it anyway. Gondolas would work for these customers, but the
granger roads always had way more boxcars than gons.

When labor prices increased during the fifties, boxcar shipments came
to an end, but that doesn't mean that each and every coal dealer put
in the capacity to unload hoppers. Instead, a lot of lumber yards and
elevators got out of the coal business, diverting it to dedicated coal
dealers who had the facilities to dump hoppers. Improved trucks and
highways meant that one coal dealer in a central location could cost
effectively serve customers in the surrounding towns that used to buy
from the local elevators.


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