Coal Mine: Can I have it both ways?

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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
I plan to have a large coal mine (Walthers New River kit) on my layout, and I'll definitely be running unit coal trains in and out of it.

What I need to know is: Would a mine of this size/type ever load a smaller number of coal hoppers? I want to include a group of ~10 (or fewer) hoppers as part of my mixed-freight local, with one of the stops being Woodstock Mining & Mineral Company, in addition to 5 other smaller lineside industries. I know "it's my RR and I can do whatever I want", but, I'd like to think this type of service is at least plausible in the proto world...(?)
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Would a mine of this size/type ever load a smaller number of coal hoppers?
Wow!! Hi Ken in todays world maybe not, however back in the 50's with lower HP available 10 hoppers could be possible. I have the Walther's New River mine on my layout and 10 hoppers will be the maximum consist. On the grades I have the engines get kind of smelly at the top of the grade with any more than that and also, for the runaround siding 10 is also about max.
OK back to the 40's and 50's. There was a coal dealer (actually the same coal co.) that took delivery of only 3 hoppers, double bay at that, and I don't recall them using a caboose. A steam switcher would push the 3 cars from the mine, drop the loads after the switch to the coal chute, enter the coal yard, pick up the 3 empties, pull them out couple to the 3 loads and push them into the coal yard. Then it would haul the 3 empties back to the mine. I would imagine the trains to the steel plant would be longer.
Now if someone could tell us how many loaded double bay hoppers a 2-6-0 Mogul could haul maybe we would have an answer.
For myself I haven't much choice but to stick with 9 or ten quad hoppers per delivery.

Cheers Willis
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
CBCNSfan said:
Wow!! Hi Ken in todays world maybe not, however back in the 50's with lower HP available 10 hoppers could be possible. I have the Walther's New River mine on my layout and 10 hoppers will be the maximum consist.... I would imagine the trains to the steel plant would be longer.
Actually Willis, I will have a dedicated unit coal train (25 hoppers) serving the steel mill. The half-dozen on the local will be rerouted to points unknown, probably on the Virtual Interchange:D
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
Jumping in late here....

In my mind, probably not. Unless you have some kind of side storage track to put those ~10 hoppers for somebody to pick up.

I would say that the operation at your mine would move the entire train out to a yard somewhere, where the cars get reblocked to smaller customers. Doubt the mine of the type of the New River would bother on the small stuff.

There's a coal mine just outside of Portage, PA with only one flood loader and it does unit trains daily. NS breaks them into two sections for loading, reassembles, then off it goes. We visited there back in June, and talked with their GM about their operation.

Kennedy
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Ken, although the New River mining kit looks big when you compare it to other kits around your layout, it is not really all that big when you look at photos of prototypical tipples. Being a coal miner's son and growing up in Kentucky mining towns I would put this tipple at medium size. Don't confuse a tipple (New River) that processes and loads coal with these new flood loaders that were designed for 'loading only' of mile long coal hauls.

It is not and wasn't unusual for a coal operator to contract with more than one hauler to take the coal out. One could be for the longer hauls to the steel mill and another would be to a distributor that would take individual orders for small customers. This is what I have done.

As Kennedy said, it would be unusual for just a car or two to be dropped off by a freight. An idea would be for a peddler freight that had 5 or 6 hoppers with a mixed consist to switch them out at the mine. In reality, a mine may or may not fool with this...just depends on how hungry they are and if they can meet their larger contract.

Where I would like to have one-hundred hoppers, I only have about 30 now. But, so what! I only pull around 15-20 freight cars on my mainline...not the 100-150 that a prototypical does. So, we do what we can.

Hope this helps:) .
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Ken, I'd say the smaller coal loadings would be more believeable for early era operations. That said, I'd encourage you to run the RR to suit your tastes. :) We certainly don't run prototypical coal operations on our RR. If we did, our basement would be one big mine scene. ;)
 

NWR #200

Irish Expatriate
If you are running a modern RR and want to stay prototypical, I'd go with a flood loader for you unit trains. Then perhaps you could have a smaller mine or track where non-unit train hoppers are loaded for dealers and other folk.
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
I'm with Seth; that makes a bit more sense to me. Those flood loaders probably are in constant operation, if the mine is large. Not much downtime to move a short cut of cars in. There may also be coordination issues; get the second operator in to load right after the unit train leaves. It all depends.

Somebody on another list came up with a way to determine how long a train 'actually' is, as compared to the prototype. They were using a math formula, so that if you had, say a 9 car train on your layout, it would represent about 20 cars on the prototype. I'll see if I can dig it up tonite and post it.

Kennedy
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Thanx everybody for your input. Based on what I've read - which is pretty much what I'd been expecting - I'm scrapping the idea to run anything other than unit trains into the mine spur. I'll try to conjur up some other type of lineside industry that can accommodate locals.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Thanks Rex, I already got that part covered - there'll be a false-front warehouse at the far end against the backdrop, capable of accommodating up to two 50ft boxcars.

What I'm really trying to find is an industry to "bulk out" my local, making it longer than only 6-8 cars, so I can justify using a geep-and-slug power combo on it [like the one that runs on CSX between Baltimore and Frederick near my house].
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
How big of a local do you want? 6-8 cars using that formula that I didn't have time to find last night comes out to about 15-20 cars in real life. Yeah, maybe not enough to justify a slug, but it also depends on layout size.

If you are really, really need to set up a ~10 car coal hopper string, you may want to find a spot off to one side of New River and put up a small tipple. Use that to load your 10 car string.

You can explain that as the original mine tipple, which is no longer adequate in these days of unit train loads. They keep this tipple operational to handle the small stuff. Just make sure it doesn't interfere with the main spur into New River for the reasons I've cited previously.

Alternately, you could put the spur against the wall, with a background tipple that has the chute extending from it. That might be a space saver...

Kennedy (Imagination, MI)
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
HaggisKennedy said:
If you really, really need to set up a ~10 car coal hopper string, you may want to find a spot off to one side of New River and put up a small tipple. Use that to load your 10 car string.

You can explain that as the original mine tipple, which is no longer adequate in these days of unit train loads. They keep this tipple operational to handle the small stuff. Just make sure it doesn't interfere with the main spur into New River for the reasons I've cited previously.
Hmmmm...That's an interesting thought! I noticed the illustration on the box of the New River kit, there is some sort of small suspended hopper off to the side - apparently for loading trucks. Maybe that could serve as my so-called 'excess supply' tipple over the 3rd track...?

I'm going to make a diagram of a train movement scenario to prove to myself that this idea could work, if it appears successful I'll post it here.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
CSX_road_slug said:
...I'm going to make a diagram of a train movement scenario to prove to myself that this idea could work, if it appears successful I'll post it here.
Unfortunately it did NOT prove to be a workable plan after all. I need all 3 tracks available for repositioning my locos at opposite ends of the unit train to do point-to-point operation. Having the 'local' coal cars parked on the 3rd track, would be a hindrance that any prototype operator would simply not allow.

So it's time to devise a Plan B...
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
The other alternative is to be a bit remote from New River. In that case, the mine outgrew it's original location, so New River was built where there was more space to be had. Coal seams can be spread out, so mines may well move at some point in time. Or, a new location may not necessarily mean the old seam is played out. All a possibility.

Anyway, I found the formula:

>>>> Maybe it's time for a discussion of selective compression for
>>>> those as yet unfamiliar with it. This is a concept that was
>>>> developed AFAIK by the RPI club. An exponential curve is
>>>> used to transform prototype numbers of cars to the model. It
>>>> would be something like:
>
>>
>> proto model Exponential .7
>> cars cars
>> 1 1 1
>> 2 2 2
>> 3 2 2
>> 4 3 3
>> 5 4 3
>> 10 5 5
>> 20 8 8
>> 50 18 15
>> 100 25 25


>>>>A scheme like this keeps everything in resonable proportions while
>>>>avoiding excessive numbers of cars. Dos anyone know the mathematical
>>>>formula - JP ?

> Yep, I guesseed it to be an exponential decay and my trusty HP48G
> says a good fit is to use the prototype number of cars to the .7 power.
> It gives the third column.

:D

Kennedy
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Thanx Kennedy, what I'll end up doing [for the short term anyway] is including a string of 6-8 hoppers headed for/coming from an off-layout destination.

BTW that's an interesting proto-to-model compression formula that the RPI club devised!
 
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NWR #200

Irish Expatriate
Lumber is always a good choice for bulk commodities. If you have a large enough mill you can ship several centerbeams and boxcars of lumber plus plenty of woodchip hoppers.
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
I use the compression model for the local going to the switching part of the layout. Because the longest siding only holds 9 cars, that's the longest train I can run to there, unless it's a through train. So, using the model, a proto train would be 25 cars or so.

Where this falls apart is when you move to the switching part, and spotting cars to industries. Now you're back to one on one, because the building is involved.

Still, it does help if you're moving a train from A to B....

Kennedy (No space for 100 car trains, but 20 or so, maybe!)
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
HaggisKennedy said:
I use the compression model for the local going to the switching part of the layout... ...Where this falls apart is when you move to the switching part, and spotting cars to industries. Now you're back to one on one, because the building is involved.
I believe this will work quite nicely for me, since the half-dozen 'stray' hopper cars won't be going to a visible building. My 5 lineside industries can accommodate a combined total of 9 cars, so by adding another 6-8 hopper cars to the train as 'filler', this translates to a prototype train between 50-60 cars in length, plenty to justify the presence of more than a single loco!:cool:
 




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