Coal: Coos Bay and Vancouver Island

David Allen

Esteemed colleagues:

I offer the following, hoping for the indulgence of the prosecutor,
judge (no jury) and jailer Mr. Brock.

Abdill, in This Was Railroading, pg 186, has a photo of the Beaver
Hill tipple. It is not particularly small. CBR&E $5 is spotting some
CBR&E coal cars for loading; a loaded car is in the foreground. It is
ToC era. (As a side note, does anybody know where I can find
additional information about these coal cars?) And on pg 186 is a
photo which has a ramp up to one of the bay-side coal dock. Obviously
a commercial venture at that time.

Austin and Dill, in The Southern Pacific in Oregon, have some
discussion about this mine as well. A photo on pg 234, taken in 1914,
shows a coal dock in Marshfield - a single-sided dock like the one in
Two Harbors, MN, but quite a bit shorter, with a covered top. And they
say: "In the summer of 1894 a two-mile branch had been extended west
from Beaver Hill Junction to the Beaver Hill coal mine by the Coos
Bay, Roseburg and Eastern Railroad & Navigation Company. Initially the
coal was hauled to Marshfield for loading onto ships. When the
Southern Pacific obtained control of the Coos Bay, Roseburg and
Eastern Railroad & Navigation Company they intended to use the coal
for locomotive fuel. However, the coal proved to be a poor grade,
unsuitable for locomotives, and the plan, which proved to be an
embarrassment for certain Southern Pacific officials, was dropped. The
Beaver Hill spur was abandoned in November of 1926."

And I do not believe that Vancouver Island Coal has been mentioned.
While initially mined by the original inhabitants of the island
commercial mining didn't start until a bit before 1850 at Fort Rupert
at the northern tip of the island. But the more southerly mines on the
east side of the island were the favored developments, initially by
Robert Dunsmuir in 1850. And these various mines continued in
operation through the steam era. Turner, in Vancouver Islands
Railroads, discusses this quite well.

Many thanks to the data provided by Nelson and the map provided by
Karig; these items present the "modern" (for a 1905 modeler) context
quite nicely.

Dave Allen

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