Re: Coal car loading on "home"roads...A. Thompson's answer.

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Matt Forsyth wrote:
On average, the DL&W shipped over 1000 loads of anthracite per day out of Scranton. Their own hoppers numbered about 9100 by 1949. That may seem like a lot, but trying to keep 1000 empty hoppers available for daily coal loading 6 days a week, even with 9100 on the roster was a logistical nightmare!(which the Taber book so states. Given that, if they needed 100 or 200 extra hoppers, and there were empty Reading, B&O, D&H, PRR, CNJ, etc. cars in the area, you can bet they got pressed into service.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Matt. This makes 80 to 90% home road cars. Photos at mines served by C&O, B&O, WM, etc. show heavily home-road cars also, by which I would mean at least 80%.
Thinking back to how all the heat was generated by this topic, with coal road modelers apparently quite defensive about heavy home- road hopper car traffic, the fact is that NO ONE has asserted that hoppers did not travel off-road, nor has ANYONE asserted (that I noticed) that no foreign road hoppers were ever loaded. Maybe we can settle on some number like 80% for on-line hopper travel FOR MANY ROADS. Please let's not list all possible exceptions AGAIN.

Something else to think about is the need for smaller twin hoppers . . . Often times, a customer or a local coal dealer had limited space in their siding, and was not able to accept a hopper that large.
I recall, from my days living in Pittsburgh, a very nice small power plant across Panther Hollow from the Carnegie Mellon campus (where I worked, and often observed switching at the plant). The cars spotted there were invariably twins, 50- or 55-ton cars, though by that time (1980s) these had become rare cars. Why? The trestle into the plant could not handle heavier cars. The twins were often C&O, and it was a B&O line--but by then it was really all Chessie anyway. (Pardon me for alluding to things far in the future for this list. <g>)

Lastly...NOT ALL COAL IS CREATED EQUAL. As wild as it may sound, coal, even of the same type and mined in the same general region exhibited different burning and heating qualities, and as such, was often selected by the end-user just for those qualities.
True, and sometimes very important. I had a PIttsburgh friend who was acquainted with a coal broker, and they had to supply buyers with the "right coal," regardless of the railroad on which the various mines might be located. It was, I was told, sometimes a bit of a juggling act to find the right coal at the right time.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail,
Publishers of books on railroad history

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