Shipping Coal - How Far?


Jim Betz
 

Hi,

How far would coal be shipped in hoppers? Especially as
it relates to the West Coast. I'm talking about regular
everyday coal for steam - such as to a railroad or to a
cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel
mill or power plant).
And what was truly in control of the sourcing of coal?
Of course it was price per ton - but, for instance, how
much closer would the coal mine have to be before
the shipping costs based upon ton miles started to be
more important than how many RRs were involved in
the shipment or other factors?

For instance - where would coal for such purposes
have been shipped from - going to locations in Central
or Northern California?
I know there was coal in Utah that was being shipped
to Southern California. Other sources/locations?

Extra credit - what 'influence' did the railroad that the
industry was on have on the source of the coal in
received? For instance if you have a cement plant
in Northern California being served by the ATSF ...
where did the coal it received -probably- come from?

Steam/transition era answers only - please. I'm not
asking "what is happening today?" or "what happened
in the 70's or 80's?".
- Jim B.


Bill Vaughn
 

JIm I believe back then all commodities traveled by a ton mile price.  So if A traveled 10 miles and B traveled 15 miles.  A would be cheaper for the same tonnage.  Then there is also the price of the coal and if it varied any.

Bill Vaughn


On Sunday, February 26, 2017 4:39 PM, "jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
Hi,

How far would coal be shipped in hoppers? Especially as
it relates to the West Coast. I'm talking about regular
everyday coal for steam - such as to a railroad or to a
cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel
mill or power plant).
And what was truly in control of the sourcing of coal?
Of course it was price per ton - but, for instance, how
much closer would the coal mine have to be before
the shipping costs based upon ton miles started to be
more important than how many RRs were involved in
the shipment or other factors?

For instance - where would coal for such purposes
have been shipped from - going to locations in Central
or Northern California?
I know there was coal in Utah that was being shipped
to Southern California. Other sources/locations?

Extra credit - what 'influence' did the railroad that the
industry was on have on the source of the coal in
received? For instance if you have a cement plant
in Northern California being served by the ATSF ...
where did the coal it received -probably- come from?

Steam/transition era answers only - please. I'm not
asking "what is happening today?" or "what happened
in the 70's or 80's?".
- Jim B.



Al Kresse <water.kresse@...>
 

Not to be picky but 10 miles or 15 miles is a local charge and would be different than long haul . . . many times two local runs say from mine to the yard and the yard to the customer.


Al Kresse

On February 26, 2017 at 7:56 PM "bill Vaughn atsfmodlr@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:

 

 

JIm I believe back then all commodities traveled by a ton mile price.  So if A traveled 10 miles and B traveled 15 miles.  A would be cheaper for the same tonnage.  Then there is also the price of the coal and if it varied any.

Bill Vaughn


On Sunday, February 26, 2017 4:39 PM, "jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:


 
Hi,

How far would coal be shipped in hoppers? Especially as
it relates to the West Coast. I'm talking about regular
everyday coal for steam - such as to a railroad or to a
cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel
mill or power plant).
And what was truly in control of the sourcing of coal?
Of course it was price per ton - but, for instance, how
much closer would the coal mine have to be before
the shipping costs based upon ton miles started to be
more important than how many RRs were involved in
the shipment or other factors?

For instance - where would coal for such purposes
have been shipped from - going to locations in Central
or Northern California?
I know there was coal in Utah that was being shipped
to Southern California. Other sources/locations?

Extra credit - what 'influence' did the railroad that the
industry was on have on the source of the coal in
received? For instance if you have a cement plant
in Northern California being served by the ATSF ...
where did the coal it received -probably- come from?

Steam/transition era answers only - please. I'm not
asking "what is happening today?" or "what happened
in the 70's or 80's?".
- Jim B.
 


 


 


Tim O'Connor
 


 >> How far would coal be shipped in hoppers?


ALL tariffs after the creation of the ICC were subject to regulation
and review. In order to ship commodity X from point A to point B there
had to be a tariff on file. Shippers as well as other railroads could
comment on or protest a tariff filing. But once the tariff from A to B
was in place, then ANY railroads that could fulfill that movement could
offer to move commodity X under the tariff to all potential shippers.

Why the roundabout explanation? Because A to B may not be a straight line.
Railroad P may have a direct route from A to B, but railroad Q might have
to go from A to C to B, possibly adding HUNDREDS of miles to the route. In
that case, the rate is the SAME regardless of the distance. Why would Q do it?
Many reasons are possible. Q might figure that a little extra tonnage on
their daily A-to-C or C-to-B freights is a tiny fractional cost, so why not?
Or maybe they're doing it to spite railroad P. Real examples abound, so we
know it happened all the time. My favorite example is Peoria to St Louis
via the CNW (less than 200 miles), and the Rock Island signed on to the
same tariff and had to haul the cargo Peoria to Kansas City, and back to
St Louis - about 600 miles!

In general, though, "steam coal" was widely available around the country so
the average haul was definitely less than 500 miles. Special grades of coal
such as met coal or anthracite could travel much farther because it wasn't
found in all coal deposits.

Tim O'


Tom Vanwormer
 

Jim,
The Southern Pacific in the 1890s was shipping coal from Australia, Japan and British Columbia. 
Tom VanWormer
Documenting the 1890s

jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC] wrote:

 

Hi,

How far would coal be shipped in hoppers? Especially as
it relates to the West Coast. I'm talking about regular
everyday coal for steam - such as to a railroad or to a
cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel
mill or power plant).
And what was truly in control of the sourcing of coal?
Of course it was price per ton - but, for instance, how
much closer would the coal mine have to be before
the shipping costs based upon ton miles started to be
more important than how many RRs were involved in
the shipment or other factors?

For instance - where would coal for such purposes
have been shipped from - going to locations in Central
or Northern California?
I know there was coal in Utah that was being shipped
to Southern California. Other sources/locations?

Extra credit - what 'influence' did the railroad that the
industry was on have on the source of the coal in
received? For instance if you have a cement plant
in Northern California being served by the ATSF ...
where did the coal it received -probably- come from?

Steam/transition era answers only - please. I'm not
asking "what is happening today?" or "what happened
in the 70's or 80's?".
- Jim B.


Tony Thompson
 

Jim Betz wrote:

How far would coal be shipped in hoppers? Especially as
it relates to the West Coast. I'm talking about regular
everyday coal for steam - such as to a railroad or to a
cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel
mill or power plant).


   Two points: first, it depends on a number of factors as to route, etc.. Second, steam coal to a power plant, or premium locomotive coal, is very different from coal for fuel at a cement plant. Broadly speaking, these are all different. Coal may easily come from different places to satisfy different needs.

And what was truly in control of the sourcing of coal?
Of course it was price per ton - but, for instance, how
much closer would the coal mine have to be before
the shipping costs based upon ton miles started to be
more important than how many RRs were involved in
the shipment or other factors?


         You would just look up the tariff. Tariffs were all over the map, and were most certainly NOT, repeat NOT, scalable by distance. They were tariffs between points. There were often discrepancies, and then special rules were put it to try and avoid ways to end-run the tariff. Complex subject, I'll expand if anyone really wants to know.

For instance - where would coal for such purposes
have been shipped from - going to locations in Central
or Northern California?
I know there was coal in Utah that was being shipped
to Southern California. Other sources/locations?


Western Colorado, Eastern Utah coal was decent quality. So was Black Diamond coal from Washington. Coal certainly came from farther away when there were strikes in one of the mining areas.

Extra credit - what 'influence' did the railroad that the
industry was on have on the source of the coal in
received? For instance if you have a cement plant
in Northern California being served by the ATSF ...
where did the coal it received -probably- come from?


       Again, just look at the tariffs. No simple answer.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history






Tony Thompson
 

JIm I believe back then all commodities traveled by a ton mile price.  So if A traveled 10 miles and B traveled 15 miles.  A would be cheaper for the same tonnage.  Then there is also the price of the coal and if it varied any.

     Not when the ICC was in charge. Maybe today.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history






Charles Hostetler
 

Hi Jim,

I took a quick look for shipments of coal to California, Oregon, and Washington In 1951 and 1952 from the 1% Waybill Survey.  These figures are carloads in the sample; to estimate carloads per year multiply by 100. 

There was 1 shipment of anthracite from Pennsylvania to Oregon in the 1952 sample.  All other coal in 1951 and 1952 sample were bituminous: 

To California 
From Arkansas - 21 (1951); 20 (1952)
From New Mexico - 0 (1951); 16 (1952)
From Oklahoma - 0 (1951); 4 (1952)
From Utah - 149 (1951); 128 (1952)
From WVa - 3 (1951); 1 (1952)
From Wyoming - 5 (1951); 2 (1952)

To Oregon
From Utah - 33 (1951); 42 (1952)
From WVa - 0 (1951); 1 (1952)
From Wyoming - 20 (1951); 15 (1952)

To Washington:
From Colorado - 2 (1951); 1 (1952)
From Montana - 21 (1951); 12 (1952)
From Okla - 1 (1951); 0 (1952)
From Utah - 114 (1951); 151 (1952)
From Wash - 95 (1951); 117 (1952)
From WVa - 0 (1951); 1 (1952)
From Wyo - 79 (1951); 117 (1952)

I would say that most of the bituminous coal going to California, Oregon, and Washington came from Utah and Wyoming, with secondary flows from Arkansas and Montana.  It also appears that there was a pretty significant redistribution flow (From Wash to Wash) that was probably from the coal docks in the Tacoma tide flats or Puget Sound.  

Regards,

Charles Hostetler
Washington Ill


Tim O'Connor
 

Jim Betz wrote

  For instance - where would coal for such purposes have been shipped
  from - going to locations in Central or Northern California? I know
  there was coal in Utah that was being shipped to Southern California.
  Other sources/locations?

Coal burned in central and northern California came from Utah & Colorado
(and maybe Wyoming too) most commonly via SP's route over Donner Pass.
Rio Grande coal gondolas and coal hoppers were a common sight on the SP.
The Western Pacific also moved some of this coal. It's possible to move
the coal via the Union Pacific (LA&SL) first, and then via ATSF or SP over
Tehachapi, but that's a much longer haul in most cases. The Santa Fe and SP
also served coal mines in New Mexico, so that's another possible source.
But again, a longer haul.


   what 'influence' did the railroad that the industry was on have on the
   source of the coal

This is where the tariffs come in. As "common carriers" railroads could not
refuse to move coal from here to there, but the tariff might be prohibitive
compared to other sources and tariffs. So the "influence" was indirect. If
the mine felt that the tariff was unfair, they could appeal to the ICC. And
shippers did that more or less constantly and relentlessly.

Tim O'Connor


Dave Nelson
 

Utah coal was shipped all over the Pacific coast for many decades in the steam and early diesel eras. Most of the coal mines were in Carbon County.

Specific shipments I know of included:

(1) to the Kaiser Fontana steel mill in Southern California -- this would have been from Carbon Co Ut to Provo by the DRGW and then handed over to the UP for the run to California.
(2) to Ely NV... DRGW to WP at Roper Yard Ut to Nevada Northern in Utah.
(3) to Washington state... DRGW to WP at Roper Yard Ut to GN at Beiber CA. What I don't recall offhand is whether it went to Spokane, Seattle, or both.
(4) to port of Oakland CA... DRGW to WP at Roper Yard Ut to Oakland. This was late 50's, early 60's and the coal was exported overseas.
(5) to Kaiser cement in Santa Clara county, CA. Not sure of the entire routing but it started on the DRGW and ended on the SP. The open question is whether the WP participated or not. There may have been similar shipments to other cement producing sites on the Pacific coast (coal ash is why ordinary cement is gray).
(6) Last, but not least... in 1943 there was the last shipment of coke from Alabama to a Sugar mill near Fremont CA. (President's papers, CSRM). Just a handful of cars but it seems to have been an annual event. Seeing as the processing of sugar pulp requires a pure carbon filtration there would be similar shipments to ever mill just before the beet campaign begins, including those on the west coast. The question tho is whether the coke was originally coal or petroleum -- the later was commonly found as a byproduct at west coast oil refineries. Was it good enough for sugar processing? I don't know.

Dave Nelson

p.s. AFAIK the shipments to Washington state handled the largest tonnage.

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2017 4:39 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [STMFC] Shipping Coal - How Far?

Hi,

How far would coal be shipped in hoppers? Especially as it relates to the West Coast. I'm talking about regular everyday coal for steam - such as to a railroad or to a cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel mill or power plant).
And what was truly in control of the sourcing of coal?
Of course it was price per ton - but, for instance, how much closer would the coal mine have to be before the shipping costs based upon ton miles started to be more important than how many RRs were involved in the shipment or other factors?

For instance - where would coal for such purposes have been shipped from - going to locations in Central or Northern California?
I know there was coal in Utah that was being shipped to Southern California. Other sources/locations?

Extra credit - what 'influence' did the railroad that the industry was on have on the source of the coal in received? For instance if you have a cement plant in Northern California being served by the ATSF ...
where did the coal it received -probably- come from?

Steam/transition era answers only - please. I'm not asking "what is happening today?" or "what happened in the 70's or 80's?".
- Jim B.


------------------------------------
Posted by: jimbetz <jimbetz@jimbetz.com>
------------------------------------


------------------------------------

Yahoo Groups Links


Tim O'Connor
 



 > It also appears that there was a pretty significant redistribution flow (From Wash to Wash)
 > that was probably from the coal docks in the Tacoma tide flats or Puget Sound.
 > Charles Hostetler

Could a lot of this be coal on the Pacific Coast Railroad? (A GN subsidiary
that formed the western end of the Milwaukee mainline through the Maple Valley
through Renton to Black River Junction, where the Milwaukee split north to
Seattle and south to Tacoma.) I thought the PCR mainly existed to move coal
(and logs) to Seattle.

Tim O'Connor


np328
 

  I had (and still do) study this coal issue, and from my observations and reading quite a bit of different sources. And I will state this mail order pamphlets about the time of WWII about “Train to become a railroad fireman by mail at home” are gold for reading.   

Some have come close to the correct answer however not put all the cards on the table.

I feel least four things and possibly more come into play here.

1) The otherwise cost.

      Jim Betz, you kind of muddy the argument up here.

        Is it the cost of a coal in a train used for company service? Or to a customer?  You listed “such as to a railroad or to a cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel mill or power plant).

      This is why on my railroad company coal was handled as “filler tonnage”, coal for a customer “priority freight”, and up there with general merchandise.   

      OK, first one is like the gas you spend in your car driving to get a container filled for your lawnmower, or me for the snow blower. Shipping coal to the cement plant industry is pure profit. 

     And since all trains have tonnage limits, hauling a car of “company coal” means one less car to an industry. Tonnage added to fill out the tonnage rating after all the priority traffic was sorted into a train. To run a train just to clear a yard of company coal was a major no-no.

And by the way – one car of diesel fuel equaled 24 coal cars why?....  Answer later.

...............

               From this point, I will try to talk about “Company coal” if railroad related.

2) Cost of coal at the mine head/dock/interchange point.  On any railroad, it cost money to haul company coal and this added up, mile after mile until the transportation costs were appreciable.

           Still however in spite of transportation costs at one time on the NP, Six dollar per ton Kentucky Coal that came off the Duluth / Superior docks could compete with two dollar per ton Colstrip Montana Lignite to about Glendive, Montana.

          OK, someone will state mileage Colstrip to Glendive is 160 miles or so by rail, while Duluth – Glendive is 600 +/- miles.  What gives?

              3) BTUs per ton that is what gives. And what no one has stated so far. That Kentucky Chestnut coal has quite substantial BTU’s compared to the “brown dirt” lignite that the NP mined. It I only that the NP could mine with non-union labor with strip mining techniques that made even that coal useful. The lignite had about 1/3 of the BTU content, however was about 1/4 the price of better grades of coal. Within those two percentages, (with lots of lab work to perfect a grate that would burn this coal and not have it settle unburnt into an ashpan or blow unburnt out the stack, the NP made this work.) That is one example of the different factors at play. (And why Robert  LeMassena wrote in the June 1968 Trains that NP had some of the most powerful locomotives ever built, then miss-fed them with lignite. )

               BTU content is why the one tank car of oil equaled 24 cars of coal.

       Or put another way, the diesel fuel in that one tank car you now carry since you dieselized, means you can carry 23 other cars of paying customers freight, and stay in the same tonnage rating/siding length.  

        4) What exactly are you going to use the coal for? Honestly?

The NP used different grades of coal or I should say BOUGHT different grades of coal off the docks in Duluth to use depending on if it was a stationary boiler at a power plant (ie: at a roundhouse) a passenger locomotive, a freight locomotive, or a depot stove. Later, once diesels did come onto the scene, things changed further as the ability to haul longer trains meant that the cost to carry things did drop and that prior lignite transportation cost was less. Enough that Colstrip lignite could be used in St. Paul, MN and BTU wise compete price wise with the Kentucky coal. Both retained former level of BTUs, it was the transportation cost that was different.    

       Another factor to consider: Also, fuel like lignite “slack off” lose BTU content in about six weeks, (like the gas in the lawn mower goes “bad” over the winter,)  the higher grade coals, BTUs were stable six months or even longer. The NP would put boxcars midway and at the ends of some branch lines in case the locomotive got snowed in on the branch. If you want the coal to be useful (burnable) in February, which do you choose?  

          4b) Many cities had smoke ordinances not only on locomotives (many of us are aware of those screens inspectors and officials looked through) however businesses had the same demands placed on them. The NP and I am sure quite a few other railroads looked at specific boilers and asked “what is the cheapest coal (determined via BTU output per ton of coal) we can purchase for this location that will work satisfactorily. Not smoke and get inspectors after us.  

        OK, now a businessman who is a building owner.  He has a boiler to supply the building, with hot water, with heat. The building boiler furnace has a stoker and stokers have been around since 1902 or so.  You can set them to run at a certain rate however you still need someone to make sure that the hopper feeding the stocker does not run out or the stoker jams and so on. He will figure the BTUs he needs so his stoker does not run full speed causing almost constant smoking, nor feed it more expensive coal than he has to. And if he has to run the stoker constantly, it will wear out prematurely and need to be replaced. Another cost to consider.    

      And Jim Betz, regarding your concrete plant here. The above example would closely adhere to that. The plants furnaces or boilers will be undoubtedly designed to burn a certain grade of BTU coal. After that it is just market economics at play.

          And does the railroad serving the plant have anything to do with that?

         No, if so then they really are playing with fire. A railroad vet, Jerry Masters, answered a query like that to me years ago. “Oh heck, certain salesmen used to say that if we gave a special rate, (through kickbacks outside published rates) they would give us all their business, but you could not do that, everybody knew it was illegal.”    

         4c)   Even people domestically did this, (priced BTU’s) but for slightly different reasons. As I have wrote prior of what my father used to tell my brother and me when he was a young boy:    “If I put some coke in the furnace, then put a piece or two of good bituminous in there to keep the coke burning, I could go to bed and sleep through the night and not have to tend to the stove till five or six when I threw a few pieces of bituminous in there and went back to bed for an hour or so. By then the house was warm when everybody got up”.  So, two fuels, coal and coke, and an awareness the coal is to be “a good grade of bituminous”.  

So he and his mom and siblings could sleep through the night. Price of convenience here.   

       4d) What are you going to use the coal for? 

For example: There were good grades of coal to be gotten out of Red Lodge, Montana mines and in good quantities. However, it had some impurities. Some railroad building plans seen for this area list that “heavy triple ply roofing is to be used in the Red Lodge coal district”. Seems those impurities threw sparks and would burn down buildings from time to time.

    Use of the Red Lodge coal through tunnels. This coal was tried west of Livingston, MT twice, through the Bozeman tunnel and with the same results. Almost killed the crews. (So much for the romance of the rails.)

        4e) What size of coal?  Before stokers came into the scene, pea size or fine coal was almost worthless. Other have posted coal size listings and here, Google is your friend, so I won’t list them.  

       Coal costs were based on BTU content, size of pieces, and transportation costs. (So where ever a large body of water is nearby…)

       You mention the West Coast.  San Francisco imported a lot of coal (by water) from Tacoma, WA, and I am sure elsewhere. Right up to the San Francisco earthquake where the use of coal was blamed on a lot of the fires that started post-quake. They (SF) then went to natural gas after that. (And if that IS safer is different argument).  Pacific Coast Railway was one supplier, NP hauled coal from Roslyn and other areas inland from Tacoma - however this predates your question.  

        In writing all of the above, I hope to get across, there is no easy one answer.  

      At the end it is - how much it costs / per BTU - when it crosses onto your property. And of that, many factors came into play.                                                 James Dick    St. Paul, MN


Jim Betz
 

Hi,

Thanks to ALL for your answers. I learned more than I thought
I would. I have one followup question ...

I get it that the coal suppliers (mines/etc.) priced by the BTU.
But I don't think they were regulated. So if you have 2 mines
then the one that is considerably further away from the buyer
might negotiate a different price in order to win a sale to a
buyer. Right? Or would the government step in and tell them
that they were being 'unfair' to buyers that were closer to
them? (And presumably cause them to raise their price.)
How about the difference in price possible for long term
contracts - such as "so many tons of coal over a year or more
that was delivered as so many car loads per month"? And
as compared to short term contracts.
- Jim B.


Tim O'Connor
 

Jim

I don't know if that question is the right question, but I do recall
when I read Theodore Rex (story of Teddy Roosevelt's terms as President)
that the "coal trust" was one of the monopolistic trusts (or cartels)
that inspired the creation of the ICC and anti-trust legislation in the
early 20th century. Northern Securities (a big railroad trust) was another.

So yes, at the turn of the century - 1900 - there would have been lots of
"price fixing" going on, not to mention price gouging by railroads whenever
they could get away with it - That is, whenever coal companies and railroads
weren't owned by the same people.

But in general, I don't think coal prices per se were regulated once strong
anti-trust and anti-monopoly (i.e. pro-competition) regulations were in place.
Rail freight tariffs on the other hand, were strictly regulated until 1980!

Tim O'



   Thanks to ALL for your answers.  I learned more than I thought
I would.  I have one followup question ...

   I get it that the coal suppliers (mines/etc.) priced by the BTU.
But I don't think they were regulated.  So if you have 2 mines
then the one that is considerably further away from the buyer
might negotiate a different price in order to win a sale to a
buyer.  Right?  Or would the government step in and tell them
that they were being 'unfair' to buyers that were closer to
them?  (And presumably cause them to raise their price.)
   How about the difference in price possible for long term
contracts - such as "so many tons of coal over a year or more
that was delivered as so many car loads per month"?  And
as compared to short term contracts.
- Jim B.


Tony Thompson
 

I get it that the coal suppliers (mines/etc.) priced by the BTU.


    Yes, but also by composition: percentage ash, content of sulfur and other undesirables, coking potential, etc. Coal is definitely not just coal.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history






Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Jim and Tom,

Until the late 1890s, the Central Pacific/Southern Pacific handled coal mined from the slopes of Mt. Diablo. There were several companies involved. This coal was apparently shipped to San Francisco for domestic use (where there were complaints recorded about quality), though some might have been used to bunker steamships working the San Francisco Bay and the Delta area. Most of the mining stopped before 1900 due to the high cost of production, water in the mines, and cheaper coal from Washington state.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


On 2/26/17 8:19 PM, Tom VanWormer robsmom@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

Jim,
The Southern Pacific in the 1890s was shipping coal from Australia, Japan and British Columbia. 
Tom VanWormer
Documenting the 1890s

jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC] wrote:

 

Hi,

How far would coal be shipped in hoppers? Especially as
it relates to the West Coast. I'm talking about regular
everyday coal for steam - such as to a railroad or to a
cement plant (or any other large industry such as a steel
mill or power plant).
And what was truly in control of the sourcing of coal?
Of course it was price per ton - but, for instance, how
much closer would the coal mine have to be before
the shipping costs based upon ton miles started to be
more important than how many RRs were involved in
the shipment or other factors?

For instance - where would coal for such purposes
have been shipped from - going to locations in Central
or Northern California?
I know there was coal in Utah that was being shipped
to Southern California. Other sources/locations?

Extra credit - what 'influence' did the railroad that the
industry was on have on the source of the coal in
received? For instance if you have a cement plant
in Northern California being served by the ATSF ...
where did the coal it received -probably- come from?

Steam/transition era answers only - please. I'm not
asking "what is happening today?" or "what happened
in the 70's or 80's?".
- Jim B.



Allen Montgomery
 

There are plenty of examples of a railroad or mining company buying coal bearing land just to reduce the price for the company. It didn't matter how far away it was if they could mine it cheaper themselves. My favorite example is the Phelps Dodge Company, who owned copper mines in Arizona. They were being eaten alive by shipping coal for their smelters. The cheap solution? Their railroad, the El Paso and Southwestern built a line from El Paso up to Dawson, New Mexico. Building a line across the state just to haul their own coal was cheaper than paying the SP to ship it to them. The outcome of that was that the Rock Island built from Oklahoma to Santa Rosa, where the EP & SW veered off to the northwest. Now the EP & SW had a bridge route all the way to Tucson. There was nothing to stop them from building the rest of the way to California. The SP was so threatened by this that they bought the whole railroad at top dollar. An incredible cost just to limit the competition. And the whole thing started because of the cost of coal.
Allen Montgomery
P.S. They still haul coal up to Morenci, Arizona in low gondolas. The grade from Clifton to the mine is too steep to use hoppers or bathtubs.


On Monday, February 27, 2017 1:04 AM, "Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
I get it that the coal suppliers (mines/etc.) priced by the BTU.

    Yes, but also by composition: percentage ash, content of sulfur and other undesirables, coking potential, etc. Coal is definitely not just coal.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history








Bill Daniels <billinsf@...>
 

Not quite, Allen. By 1924, Phelps Dodge was tired of running a railroad, and approached SP to buy the EP&SW. SP wasn't interested, so they built the Tucson Extension to force SP's hand, and the deal was done. The EP&SW had no intention of building past Tucson.
 
Bill Daniels San Francisco, CA


On Monday, February 27, 2017 5:19 AM, "Allen Montgomery sandbear75@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
There are plenty of examples of a railroad or mining company buying coal bearing land just to reduce the price for the company. It didn't matter how far away it was if they could mine it cheaper themselves. My favorite example is the Phelps Dodge Company, who owned copper mines in Arizona. They were being eaten alive by shipping coal for their smelters. The cheap solution? Their railroad, the El Paso and Southwestern built a line from El Paso up to Dawson, New Mexico. Building a line across the state just to haul their own coal was cheaper than paying the SP to ship it to them. The outcome of that was that the Rock Island built from Oklahoma to Santa Rosa, where the EP & SW veered off to the northwest. Now the EP & SW had a bridge route all the way to Tucson. There was nothing to stop them from building the rest of the way to California. The SP was so threatened by this that they bought the whole railroad at top dollar. An incredible cost just to limit the competition. And the whole thing started because of the cost of coal.
Allen Montgomery
P.S. They still haul coal up to Morenci, Arizona in low gondolas. The grade from Clifton to the mine is too steep to use hoppers or bathtubs.


On Monday, February 27, 2017 1:04 AM, "Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
I get it that the coal suppliers (mines/etc.) priced by the BTU.

    Yes, but also by composition: percentage ash, content of sulfur and other undesirables, coking potential, etc. Coal is definitely not just coal.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history










Dennis Storzek
 

Jim Dick said,

"BTUs per ton that is what gives. And what no one has stated so far. That Kentucky Chestnut coal has quite substantial BTU’s compared to the “brown dirt” lignite that the NP mined. It I only that the NP could mine with non-union labor with strip mining techniques that made even that coal useful. The lignite had about 1/3 of the BTU content, however was about 1/4 the price of better grades of coal"

Just an anecdote. Back in the steam days the Soo Line bought real bituminous coal for locomotive fuel, but North Dakota lignite for the depot stoves. The late Les Kruta, in his "North Dakota Memories" series in The SOO, mentions that typically every depot had a bucket or two of "locomotive coal", borrowed off the tenders, squirreled away for use on really cold nights when the stove needed all the help it could get.

Dennis Storzek


railsnw@...
 

Years ago I was doing research on car shipments on the Yakima Valley Transportation Co. in Yakima, WA during the 1950's. On the railroad were many small coal yards for providing heating coal for houses. Most all of the coal came out of Utah, Montana, and Wyoming and was mostly delivered in drop bottom gondolas, not hoppers.

Rich Wilkens