Re: Coal in the Northwest

Richard Hendrickson

On Dec 24, 2009, at 8:03 PM, Tim O'Connor wrote:

Ahem, Richard. Fact checking is in order. Coal was burned in
locomotives in Washington state, on the NP for example. Coal
was used in the production of cement and no doubt for other
purposes as well. And sources included western Canada as well
as Utah, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.
Ahem, Tim. I have checked the statements in my e-mail.

I wrote:

In the steam era, most of the relatively little coal used in the
Northwest came from southern Utah.
Fact. Take a look, e.g., at the large number of D&RGW and UCR gons
on the Bieber interchange list. Sure, some coal came from other
sources as well. I did not say otherwise.
I wrote:

Nowhere in Oregon was coal mined in commercial quantities.
Fact. There was not a single coal mine in Oregon producing enough
coal to fill even one hopper car.
I wrote:

That's why all the steam locomotives burned oil, and why most
industries were fueled by oil or natural gas.
Fact. I grant that NP steam locos burned lignite (flammable dirt
that only barely qualifies as coal) in extreme eastern Washington.
However, on all of the railroads that served Seattle, Portland,
Vancouver, the Columbia River, and most of the rest of the area,
steam power burned oil.
Note that I my reference was to the Northwest. The Pacific Northwest
consists of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Period. Utah,
Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming are in the Mountain West, not the
Pacific Northwest, as understood by everyone who lives out here. As
for North Dakota, it's separated from eastern Oregon and Washington
by 500 miles of Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, and by many more
miles than that from the major population centers in the Pacific
Northwest. You seem to be afflicted with the kind of geographical
confusion about the Western U.S. that is endemic among those who live
east of the Mississippi (and even more so among those who live east
of the Hudson).

Richard Hendrickson

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