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Author Topic: coal mines  (Read 5862 times)
SteamGene

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« on: October 22, 2009, 11:54:49 AM »

My layout has two coal tipples for mines.  One headhouse is a bashed co-op grain silo to represent a headhouse going into a vertical shaft.  The other mine will have a horizonal main shaft entering behind the tipple.  I'm thinkin of using the DPM single story garage kit buried into the hill as its headhouse.  Does that sound reasonable?
Gene
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Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
SteamGene

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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2009, 01:26:43 PM »

It's the Schultz Garage.
Gene
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Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2009, 06:25:46 PM »

SteamGene,
I am not expert on mines but have been tying to become a bit more familiar with them.  As far as I can figure out, the term "headhouse" applies to the upper, usually enclosed, part of any form of cable draw works.  The most obvious is the headframe and sheaves for the elevators of a shaft mine.  But it also applies to the upper draw works of a cable car or cable tramway.  In the case of an adit mine, it may be some distance horizontally from the mine entrance, and if a cable tramway is used downward toward the railroad, it may use gravity as its only source of power.  There is an excellent drawing of this sort of thing at this link:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Kay_Moor_headhouse2.png
Note that the drawing is expandable, at least in Firefox.

By extension, "headhouse" is also used for the upper end of a conveyor belt used for transporting coal or ore.  Depending on whether the coal is being moved downhill or uphill, the headhouse would be at the end nearest the mine or a the end farthest from the mine.  Why differentiate?  I am not sure, but suspect that it is because the sheaves in the headhouse have to be extremely well supported to take the weight of the coal or ore.

Extending the term even farther, "headhouse" often seems to be used to include other facilities if they are included in the same building as the headhouse.  I am thinking of things like breakers, sorters, washers, etc.  Whether or not the tipple is part of the headhouse  probably depends more on your occupation than anything else.  If everything is combined into one building, a railroader is more likely to call the whole thing a tipple because that is the end that a railroader sees.  A miner, on the other hand, is more likely to call the whole thing a headhouse because he is more concerned about where the coal comes from than where it goes to.

If you believe all of that (and I am not convinced at this point that I have it all right yet) then putting a garage sized building part way into the hill side should depend more on its use than anything else.  If you have an adit at the same elevation as the top of your tipple, then you don't need a headhouse at all.  If the adit is closer in elevation to the foundation of your tipple, then you might need a small building over come kind of dump chute leading to an elevator to raise the coal to the top of the tipple.  That would make more sense to be near the tipple than near the adit.   And the headhouse would be at the top of that elevator.  Or if the tipple were far enough from the adit, you could have a small building at the adit for dumping coal on the lower end of a conveyor belt which then ascends on an angle to the top of the tipple.  All of these have some wonderful opportunities for animation, including a conveyor belt that is visibly carrying coal up and equally visibly returning down empty.  I am assuming that the other facilities mentioned above are integrated into the tipple, or into a building attached to it.

Jim
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SteamGene

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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2009, 06:35:52 PM »

Jim,
I may be using the term very loosely.  I know what you mean.  What I am looking for is the entrance to the mine shaft as used by the miners themselves.  The tipple in question is the Walther's kit, which I built per instructions and which has conveyor belts bringing coal from the mine to the tipple.  Logic says that the miners would probably NOT enter the mine from the tipple in this case or the coal from the mine would go directly into the tipple.  So a minehead or head house would be necessary someplace.  I assume that they wouldn't just walk into a hole in the ground, but have some place to store hard hats, lamps, overalls, etc. 
The Schultz Garage might not be my first choice, but I happen to have the kit (one of those 100 unbuilt necessary to be a true model railroader.... Grin) and I think it might serve rather than buy another DPM that might be a bit more realistic. 
Thoughts?
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 02:07:41 AM »

I would hope they would not walk directly into a shaft - that can be a long drop.  But walking into an adit (a horizontal or near horizontal tunnel into a mine) was one of the things they did do.  But more likely they rode in, sitting in an empty tram car and rode out laying on top of a pile of coal.  I like your idea of a shack nearby, although in many mining towns they would just walk home where the wives would hose them down or at least have a large tub of water ready in the back porch.  Mining, especially coal mining, is a dirty business.  I was told at one mine that the lamps and respirators were always the miner's own.  That way he was never stuck with a light that somebody else hadn't maintained properly.  That made sense to me - the miners were paid by the ton, so no light, no coal, no pay.  As for the respirators, would you want to rely on one from the company pool if/when the canary died?  I suspect the lamps, respirators, and lunch boxes all went home every night and came back cleaned and refilled every morning.  But again, things were probably done differently at different mines at at different times in history.

Jim 
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jward


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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2009, 04:55:03 AM »

there was so much variation among the smaller mines that anything is possible. often a narrow guage electric tramway was used to transport miners and supplies to the working areas of the mine. you don't have to model the tram, some n scale track heading into the mine portal  would do.
also, a small supply yard of two or 3 tracks. supplies were usually timbers, neatly stacked, and various components for the mining machinery used underground.

portal is the term i modt often heard used here in coal country for the horizontal entrances. shaft was used for the vertical entrances. in addition to the hoist house for a deep mine, there would often be ventilation shafts scattered around the mining area, with a fan house on top of each one.

but like i said, there was so much individuality in the actual mines. especially in the days when most were small and locally owned. on feature that is a constant with deep mines in the "bony pile" where they dumped the slate and waste coal. it was usually a pretty substantial hill located near the mine portal/tipple area, all loose black rock that to this day nothing will grow on.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Ken

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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2009, 11:08:46 AM »


  Gene

       Google "Historical American Building Surveys"  (HABS)

    Enter Coal Mines and be prepared to loose a day <G> as there are about 70-80
  mines on the list, some with writeups/plans/photos/layouts etc.

   

   Ken Clark
     GWN
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SteamGene

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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2009, 12:20:59 PM »

I'm probably being influenced by one viewing of the movie about the high school kids who starting building rockets after Sputnik.  It takes place in Coalwood, WV and there are a couple of scenes of going into the mine - which was a vertical shaft mine.  I THINK I remember some sort of a locker room.  OTOH, I know coal mining is dirty and hosing down of miners by the wife was common. 
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2009, 12:34:22 PM »

I think Jeffery has nailed it - a great deal of variation.  Probably more so in the days before government regulation.  Seems even the terms are used differently.  I have heard the term "Portal" used in Alberta, but they used it to refer to just the entranceway, not to the tunnel behind it.  Some portals were concrete, others were masonary or just a hole in stable rock.  I suppose in the old days, wood would also have been used, just like tunnel portals on the railroad.  Most of the portals I have actually seen were barred because the mine was shut down, and often had a stream of acid mine waste trickling out.  It would be easy to show an abandoned mine near the active one - Just a portal plus a bit of tunnel with a collapse a few inches in.

Jim
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SteamGene

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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2009, 03:29:39 PM »

Variation - you bet.  I've looked at lots of pictures but have not actually seen any coal mine entrance labeled as such.  Obviously for a vertical shaft there has to be a head house for the elevator(s) to gain entrance and exit and for protection from the weather - there's enough danger of flooding without summer thunder storms or winter blizzards adding to the mix at the bottom.  It just seems logical that a horizontal shaft would also have some sort of a protected opening - for security if nothing else. 
Thanks for all the advise. 
Gene
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Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"
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