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Author Topic: is their a coal season???  (Read 2065 times)
jettrainfan

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« on: October 20, 2009, 11:14:24 PM »

I noticed sense about Sunday, that their has been 2 coal trains passing on the EX. nickel plate road R.R.(now Norfolk southern) /And their a hour earlier from the local mixed freight(mainly auto carriers...). I noticed 2 coals only over the entire summer. So is their a coal season? If so, how long does it last? I plan on trying to catch the morning 1 tomorrow(7 in the morning for those curious people). My reason is i got time to burn on before school mornings. And it would be nice to see it go by the old Norfolk western station. I might catch that too but i plan on going to triskett a bit earlier due to the hopefully nice weather. So i might not stick around for it.(4 P.Msh...) The reason id like to know is if they might continue this through the winter.(snow looks nice with coal in my opinion) Thanks for the info!
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jward


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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2009, 06:05:11 AM »

no there is no coal season, per se. there is a miners holiday during the summer when the union mines shut down for two weeks, typically around july 4. but with more and more non union mines, that is affecting coal traffic less every year.

coal trains are relatively low priority and slow moving. so the railroads try to keep them out of the way of hotter trains. in pittsburgh, many run at night, the intermodals rule the line during the day. those coal trains that do run during the day are often held for hours so that other trains can go around them.

power plants are the biggest consumer of coal, and they tend to buy alot of coal. they try to buy when the price is low and stockpile, but even so their needs are relatively constant. they can buy coal on the spot market sometimes which may result in trains coming from different areas than they normally would, using different routes. mostly though, they have long term contracts with the mines, and the trains run in a shuttle between mine and power plant.

one factor that may affect coal traffic on the former nickle plate ( are you east of ashtabula?) is the fact that the mines in southwestern pa were on the former monongahela railway, and that area was opened up to both ns and csx when they took over conrail. utilities like to play the railroads off against each other, in areas where they have a choice. the trains you saw may normally travel over the parallel csx (new york central) line.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
jettrainfan

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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2009, 03:26:34 PM »

nope, Lakewood/rocky river Ohio area. I know little about this line but do know that their is a short line that branches off. That is mainly so they can fit covered hoppers in... a good 4th of a mile. And up to the huge Cleveland bridge, http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=294917&nseq=7 their is a three track mini yard. i do go to the flats a lot but not that area too often so i dont know what they do their.  http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=284722&nseq=5 That might help, I live up the street from the line(in Lakewood...) so i usually know whats going on. Thanks for the info!
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RAM

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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2009, 05:41:57 PM »

Well back when people heated with coal, you would have more local coal movements in fall and winter.  In some parts of the country you still may have more coal trains in the winter, but not that much.  The reason is that many power plants and factories use nature gas.  When the demand for nature go up, the gas company will cut off the gas to some high end users. 
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jward


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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2009, 06:32:17 PM »

okay you are on the west side of cleveland then? most of the coal would probably be on the former new york central at that point. try berea for some coal trains.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
jettrainfan

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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2009, 08:00:21 PM »

yep, west side. berea?I go down their but not too many coals... well, i go down their most weekends so i somewhat know what to expect. I do agree you got a better chance though, thanks for the info!

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