Re: MP hoppers in California

Dave Nelson

-----Richard Hendrickson writes-----

The Kaiser steel plant in Fontana, CA, built during World War II, consumed
large quantities of coal. At first, the coal came from Utah, mostly in UP,
D&RGW hoppers, and UCR drop bottom gondolas and UP and D&RGW hoppers; all
are visible in various wartime and postwar yard shots at Barstow and San
Bernardino. There was a Santa Fe Fontana turn that conveyed coal and other
supplies from San Bernardino to the Fontana steel plant 9 miles down the
Second District towards Los Angeles. But that's as far as those cars got,
and they never appeared anywhere else on the Los Angeles Division. Ca.
1950, the coal began coming from a different source (I"m not sure where) in
mostly Missouri Pacific hoppers....

---- I reply --------
Utah coal was poor coking coal and so it needed to be blended with a bit of
something better. The nearest source that fit the bill are the coal fields
in NW Arkansas, an area that does have MP lines. IMO it is very likely the
appearance of MP hoppers in Utah and Southern California is related to the
above facts and given that the need to blend was known before Kaiser opened
up I expect the Arkansas coal may well have been arriving from the start of
operations at Fontana.

FWIW, in one year coal from British Columbia was tried at the blast furnaces
at Geneva and/or Ironton Ut. As it was just the one year I expect it was
either not as suitable as desired or too expensive to obtain because after
that the coal imports to Utah were always from Arkansas.

Dave Nelson

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