Re: Coal in the Northwest

switchengines <jrs060@...>

Well, actually Richard you are incorrect again. The Northern Pacific,
according to Mr. Warren McGee, a former NP employee and historian
of great respect, has written that the NP had three different coal districts.
The far eastern portion of the railroad was fueled in the steam era by lake
coal carried on return trips by ore carriers. The central part was fueled by
lignite coal from the NP's own mines. And the western portion was fueled
with coal that came from Washington state itself. It was NOT lignite, but
with all honesty, a bituminous of only fair quality when compared to it's
eastern counterparts.
The Northern Pacific burned Washington state bituminous coal well
through the 1940's and into the 50's. Oil fuel for steam locomotives out
of Tacoma, for example, was only to be found on some passenger, and
switching engines in the 1950's. Coal was still the common fuel on most
freight locomotive around Tacoma and Seattle almost to the end of steam.
There are some great articles to be found in the "Mainstreeter", the NPRHA
magazine, about NP steam era freights working out of Tacoma with coal
burning locomotive in the 1950's. And, for whoever is interested, photos
of the NP coal docks in western Washington state, painted in the railroads
distinctive two color scheme.

Happiness, Jerry Stewart

In a very ice covered Woodstock, Ill.

--- In, Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...> wrote:

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.
Richard Hendrickson

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