Coal in the Pacific Northwest


Richard Hendrickson
 

I said I would have no more to say on this subject, but I can't
resist responding to Dave's very useful post.

On Dec 28, 2009, at 10:15 AM, Dave Nelson wrote:

A few FACTS from the 1950 edition of the Minerals Yearbook, published
annually by the Federal Depoartment of the Interior.
Which I don't have access to, so I'm glad Dave does.

In 1949 there were a total of 8559 Bituminous coal mines in the United
States, of which a grand total of 31 were located in Washington, 1
in Idaho,
and 0 in Oregon (hereafter refered to as NW States).

Total coal production in the US exceeded 480,000,000 tons, of which
only
902,265 tons were produced in the NW States mentioned above (that's
0.19% of
the total). Of this 902k tons, the Northern Pacific was asked to
move 476k
tons and the Great Northern 107k tons....it isn't very hard to
estimate how many
cars were used to move the above coal, in total, or as a daily
average (i.e., not many).
[snip]

FWIW, the Western Pacific moved 391k tons of bit coal in 1950. I'm
led to
understand a majority of that went to Washington state.
So what does this tell us? I got a lot of grief, some of it off-
list, about my post on this subject which started the whole
discussion, but it appears to me that Dave's evidence entirely
confirms my original statements (except for my ignorance about the
NP's use of coal, which I've already admitted). Doesn't that make a
lot of the responses to my post by self-appointed experts on Pacific
Northwest coal seem either wrong or irrelevant?

Richard Hendrickson


Tim O'Connor
 

Richard, I see no reason to resort to ad hominems about
"self appointed experts". I responded, and Jerry responded,
to a gross generalization about the use and mining of coal
in the "Pacific Northwest" (OR-WA-BC according to you) which
has a vast and diverse geography and history. And by your own
admission, you were wrong about the NP in this era, and about
GN et al in earlier eras. (Your original email was not specific
about any time period.) So what's your beef?

Last time I checked, there are nothing BUT self appointments
here and elsewhere in our hobby, as there is no official system
of appointments. Another straw man bites the dust.

Dave's post was nice but it did not provide any facts to
corroborate your original argument that coal was not used by
railroads for steam locomotives in the PNW. Twenty thousand
carloads of coal a year is about the same number of carloads
as apples loaded in Washington at this time, yet I don't hear
anyone claiming that apple production in Washington was negligible
and unimportant because apples are grown all over the US.

Coal happens. Accept it.

Tim O'Connor

So what does this tell us? I got a lot of grief, some of it off-
list, about my post on this subject which started the whole
discussion, but it appears to me that Dave's evidence entirely
confirms my original statements (except for my ignorance about the
NP's use of coal, which I've already admitted). Doesn't that make a
lot of the responses to my post by self-appointed experts on Pacific
Northwest coal seem either wrong or irrelevant?
Richard Hendrickson


leakinmywaders
 

Richard:

I too was content to let this pass, but since you took one more kick at this: My post was not incorrect (nor so car as I can tell were most of the others on list). Though irrelevant to the original question, it was certainly relevant to a sweeping statement you made about commercial mining of coal in Oregon. Though doubtless insignificant to Mr. Peabody, in the context of time and place, the coal mined at Coos Bay was important economically and socially to those who participated in that industry and those who followed them--and in fact it spawned small industrial railroads, which rails lasted into the era of this list. It was not my intent to nitpick, but only to ensure one small historical fact was not forgotten in the rush to generalize.

Any implication that my post contradicted the main thrust of your original message was a long stretch meant to be tongue in cheek. I thought I made that fairly plain, but if not, let it be plain now. Best,

Chris Frissell
Self-Appointed, MT

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

I said I would have no more to say on this subject, but I can't
resist responding to Dave's very useful post.
....
So what does this tell us? I got a lot of grief, some of it off-
list, about my post on this subject which started the whole
discussion, but it appears to me that Dave's evidence entirely
confirms my original statements (except for my ignorance about the
NP's use of coal, which I've already admitted). Doesn't that make a
lot of the responses to my post by self-appointed experts on Pacific
Northwest coal seem either wrong or irrelevant?

Richard Hendrickson



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Richard Hendrickson
 

On Dec 28, 2009, at 7:56 PM, leakinmywaders wrote:

I too was content to let this pass, but since you took one more
kick at this: My post was not incorrect (nor so car as I can tell
were most of the others on list). Though irrelevant to the
original question, it was certainly relevant to a sweeping
statement you made about commercial mining of coal in Oregon.
My statement was a response to another post, and in that context it
was specifically about the late steam/early diesel era. For that
era, my "sweeping statement" was entirely correct. I have no quarrel
with those who, as you did, wanted to point out that there was, in
fact, small scale coal mining in Oregon at an earlier period.

It was not my intent to nitpick, but only to ensure one small
historical fact was not forgotten in the rush to generalize.....
Any implication that my post contradicted the main thrust of your
original message was a long stretch meant to be tongue in cheek. I
thought I made that fairly plain, but if not, let it be plain now.
That was my take on it, and my negative remarks were not directed at
you. Apart from the flak I got on the list, I also received a couple
of really rude off-list messages to the effect that as I obviously
didn't know the first thing about coal in the Pacific Northwest, I
should shut up about that topic (and, by implication, other topics in
general). So perhaps you can understand why I was pleased when the
data posted by Dave Nelson largely confirmed what I had written in
what was an offhand response to someone else's post about coal
traffic to/from Oregon. It was never my intention to stir up an
anthill.

Richard Hendrickson