types of coal

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types of coal

Postby ex Budd man » Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:57 am

Why did railroads use different types of coal in different classes of locomotives? Were there that many variations in design of firebox/boiler combinations? One would think the best type of coal would be decided on and then used for all classes of steam power on a particular railroad.
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Re: types of coal

Postby timz » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:22 pm

How about using good (expensive) coal in the engines that need good coal to do their jobs, and cheap coal in the engines that can manage with it?

Next question: did need-good-coal engines and bad-coal-okay engines run on the same piece of RR? With two coaling towers side by side at each terminal?
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Re: types of coal

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:00 pm

(Warning: SPECULATION!!!!!)
Coal is heavy stuff, and shipping large quantitates of it any significant distance is expensive. (As in: why are steel mills traditionally located coder to coal mines than to iron ore deposits?) So a large railroad might have sourced coal for different parts of its system from different mines.
I don't know if this was a factor in the steam era or not: I don't off-hand think of a railroad from that period with lines in regions that had different grades of coal available. (Though there were certainly railroads-- Santa Fe, for example, and Southern Pacific-- that had both coal-burning and oil-burning steam locomotives.) But to give a fictitious example: suppose the Hill Lines had merged into Burlington Northern in 1920. They might well have bought different sorts of locomotives for the ex-Burlington (which had access to Illinois coal) and ex-Northern Pacific (which needed huge fireboxes to burn the on-line lignite).
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Re: types of coal

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Aug 26, 2015 3:26 am

D&H owned anthracite mines in Pennsylvania, and the engines had large Wilton fireboxes. Later the Challengers and Northern were common Alco designs. There is a thread about the Northern being similar to Milwaukee's, and UP's, and similar to Central's Niagara's. This makes me wonder if they were capable of burning anthracite, or if bituminous had to be outsourced.
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Re: types of coal

Postby Pneudyne » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:19 am

The respective RME articles on those late D&H designs, as reprinted in TSC #47 for the J-95 4-6-6-4 and TSC #51 for the K-62 4-8-4 show the fuel as being bituminous coal. It seems unlikely that they would have been able to burn anthracite, or not effectively anyway. Thus the D&H would have been outsourcing bituminous coal for these locomotives.

The J-95 was essentially an improved version of the original UP 4-6-6-4, with the same firebox dimensions, which in turn owed quite a bit – including grate area - to the earlier UP 4-12-2. UP seemed to have designed its later steam locomotives to burn its local coal of around 11 800 BTU/lb. Probably the eastern bituminous coals were somewhat better than this.

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Re: types of coal

Postby BobLI » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:46 am

Speaking of coal, what size was ordered for the locomotives? The info below is the different coal sizes from a mine.
Run of mine goes through 8-inch holes
Lump goes through 5-inch holes hand firing and domestic purposes
Egg goes through 5-inch holes, retained by 2-inch round holes hand firing, gas producers, domestic firing
Nut through 2-inch holes,retained by 1¼-inch holes small industrial stokers, gas producers, hand firing
Stoker coal through 1¼-inch holes,retained by ¾-inch holes small industrial stokers, domestic firing
Slack ¾ inch and under pulverizers and industrial stokers
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Re: types of coal

Postby mp15ac » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:50 am

Engineer Spike wrote:D&H owned anthracite mines in Pennsylvania, and the engines had large Wilton fireboxes. Later the Challengers and Northern were common Alco designs. There is a thread about the Northern being similar to Milwaukee's, and UP's, and similar to Central's Niagara's. This makes me wonder if they were capable of burning anthracite, or if bituminous had to be outsourced.



The wide firebox typically used for Anthracite is called Wootten, not Wilton.

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Re: types of coal

Postby CarterB » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:47 pm

The railroads closest to and serving anthracite coal mining areas were basically:
Central Railroad of New Jersey
Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad
Lehigh Valley Railroad
Reading Company
Lehigh and New England
Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad
also to some extent:
Delaware & Hudson, New York, Ontario & Western,New York, Susquehanna & Western, Erie
For the anthracite mining areas of NE PA.
Most other coal was bituminous elsewhere in the country, some very few burned lignite, and some of course, oil.
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Re: types of coal

Postby v8interceptor » Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:04 pm

CarterB wrote:The railroads closest to and serving anthracite coal mining areas were basically:
Central Railroad of New Jersey
Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad
Lehigh Valley Railroad
Reading Company
Lehigh and New England
Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad
also to some extent:
Delaware & Hudson, New York, Ontario & Western,New York, Susquehanna & Western, Erie
For the anthracite mining areas of NE PA.
Most other coal was bituminous elsewhere in the country, some very few burned lignite, and some of course, oil.


I know that by the end of the Steam era a lot of the Eastern coal Haulers newer locomotives used Soft coal rather than Anthracite due to firebox design..
An earlier poster mentioned D&H and I know that Reading switched from anthracite before it dieselized..
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Re: types of coal

Postby Engineer Spike » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:48 am

mp15ac wrote:
Engineer Spike wrote:D&H owned anthracite mines in Pennsylvania, and the engines had large Wilton fireboxes. Later the Challengers and Northern were common Alco designs. There is a thread about the Northern being similar to Milwaukee's, and UP's, and similar to Central's Niagara's. This makes me wonder if they were capable of burning anthracite, or if bituminous had to be outsourced.



The wide firebox typically used for Anthracite is called Wootten, not Wilton.

Stuart


My stupid spellchecker second guessed what I typed, and I didn't catch it.
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Re: types of coal

Postby Pneudyne » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:36 pm

Similarly to the disc driver case, there does not appear to be much cohesive information published on the topic of coal and coal quality as it pertains to American railroads.

Drury included a short section on steam locomotive fuel, including a summary comment to the effect that railroads generally burned what was nearby. On that basis, and within reason, one might deduce that it was more a case of fitting locomotives to the available fuel than choosing an optimum fuel for a given locomotive.

Drury did though mention that the CNJ coal dock at Jersey City apparently had separate bins and chutes for bituminous coal, for the B&O, and anthracite for its own and Reading locomotives.

In respect of locomotive coal heating values, one can find some information here and there.

Already noted is that late UP steam locomotives were predicated on the use of soft (bituminous) coal of 11 800 BTU/lb.

The SP Lima-built 2-8-8-4s that operated between El Paso and Tucumcari were designed “to burn a low grade bituminous coal from the Dawson field in New Mexico.” It had a heating value of approximately 12 000 BTU/lb.

On the other hand the DM&IR Baldwin-built 2-8-8-4s were designed to burn “high-quality” eastern coal with a heating value of 13 500 BTU/lb. I understand that during the closed season, some of these locomotives operated on both the D&RGW and the NP. Presumably they burned whatever coal those roads were using at the time, although in the NP case, probably not the Rosebud lignite/sub-bituminous.

One source quoted the NP Rosebud coal as having a heating value of 9000 BTU/lb. Another did not quote numbers, but stated that it had half the heating value of high quality eastern coal and 65% of the heating value of NP’s Red Lodge coal. These two statements do not reconcile easily. If we take eastern coal at 13 500 BTU/lb, that gives a 6750 BTU/lb number for Rosebud, and roundly 10 400 BTU/lb for Red Lodge, the last number looking to be on the low side for western soft coal.

Some numbers from the U.K. from an authoritative source are 14 050 BTU/lb for Welsh coal and 12 560 BTU/lb for Yorkshire coal. The Welsh variety was generally regarded as being excellent steam coal.

And an oddity; apparently the Reading T-1 4-8-4 was designed to burn a mixture of 10% anthracite and 90% bituminous coal. Perhaps that was the maximum proportion of anthracite that could be handled in a conventionally-sized firebox.

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Re: anthracite

Postby timz » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:11 pm

When locomotives burned anthracite, was it always culm? Or, was it always culm after 1920 or some other date?
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Re: types of coal

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:18 pm

Timz--
I think I recall reading that some EARLY American steam locomotives -- Early as in: Pre-Civil War, the Baltimore and Ohio's "Camels" being the prime example -- burned good anthracite. Even good anthracite apparently burns slowly enough that this required large (for the time) fire boxes. Culm burning came later, and is associated with the late-19th C and early 20th C "Camelback" locomotives.
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