Re: Illinois Coal industry, was: IC "Chiselled Side" Offset Twins

Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>


A number of other Canadian modellers of CN steam operation in Southern Ontario, as well as I, will--I'll go out on a limb by including them as in this asssertion--buy good RTR HO models of Illinois Central hoppers.

Ironically, were I modelling seven years earlier than 1956, I'd instead need models of B&O hoppers that carried coal to Lindsay and Peterborough, Ontario across Lake Ontario on the car-ferry from the former BR&P near Rochester, NY! Of course, THOSE are available RTR... :(

So it's more than "nine" of us that'd like to see these IC hoppers produced, and I'll buy good RTR X-3's and H21's, too, if they ever come out. I may be modelling a line east of Toronto, Ontario, but it's amazing just how many of these cars made it to Lindsay. A 1953 photo of a CN Consol at the engine terminal there has behind IC hopper. Not to mention stuff in other Lindsay photos like a Southern Railway boxcar. (Geez...another car to build...)

I'm not holding my breath either, but we can dream, ask, and advocate for the models we want, can't we?

Let's keep trying!

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., Ray Breyer <rtbsvrr69@...> wrote:

Tim O'Connor wrote:
IC owned more than 19,000 open hoppers in 1950, and a few
thousand gondolas too. This was about 40% of IC's freight
car fleet. IC operated in Kentucky and Tennessee, and
interchanged with many other coal haulers. IC's core
business has always been coal, just like the L&N.

Hi Tim,

Let's put the IC into sharper focus. In 1950, the IC owned the seventh largest fleet of open hoppers in North America, with 28,625 cars (12,678 of them being these short taper offsets). They had the 11th largest gondola fleet with 8582 cars, which were about evenly split between composite and all steel GS gons (with a few mill gons thrown in for fun). That's a grand total of over 37,000 coal carrying freight cars, not including the few hundred cars on the C&IW or on long term lease to the C&IM.

The IC operated in 14 states, and was a dominant road in over half of them. The road serviced hundreds of coal mines in IL, KY and TN, and at one time even served mines in IA, WI and IN. Coal from IC hoppers served most of the Commonwealth Edison powerplants in the Midwest, along with C&IM hoppers (the C&IM leased hoppers short term from the IC during peak seasons, as well as from the NYC). IC coal went EVERYWHERE, and especially on the N-S spine: engine coal in Canada, steel mills and power plants on the Great Lakes, and export coal in New Orleans.

Illinois has the third largest proven coal reserves in the USA, and in 1950 was churning out more coal than West Virginia (check the USGS Bureau of Mines report for 1950, available online). During the 1950s the world's largest strip mine was in Illinois (on the P&E).

By any metric, the IC was a MAJOR coal player, and in many areas was the DOMINANT one.

Unfortunately, we're running in the "odd little men playing choo-choo" syndrome here. The hobby is biased towards the coasts where the scenery is "pretty", rather than towards the rust belt where all of the action is. Even those few hearty souls who DO model the Midwest don't concentrate on the production centers or major mining operations, but on bridge traffic routes where reefers dominate. So nobody in the hobby even KNOWS about this traffic, let alone about the IC. If it wasn't for their Orange and Chocolate streamliners, nobody would even be modeling that road (although what I think is the world's largest home layout is all IC. HOW big is Bob Perrin's empire again?)

So I'm not holding my breath waiting for anything close to resembling IC hoppers to come out of the mass market manufacturers, so long as all they stare at are mountain railroads. I'll be happy with my Atlas and Accurail stand ins, with a few of Chad Boas' Red Caboose conversion kits thrown in for fun (thanks for those Chad!). I had three of Sunshine's IC twins at one time, but sold them; even Frank isn't about to build many of them for his freight car fleet, since he thinks he needs more than 30 of them. He MAY have one piece hoppers cast with cast-on grabs done if he can find someone to do the molds, but they're a few years away.

Ray Breyer
Elgin, IL

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