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Unit coal train question

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Unit coal train question
Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 06, 2019 12:01 PM

I've always had it in mind to add unit coal trains to my operations. My track plan is a dogbone with staging yards in the reversing loops. I have cutoff tracks that bypass the reversing sections allowing the trains to run on an oval, empties in one direction, loads in the other. They will run as extras so they can make a pass whenever I choose. 

These unit trains are going to be powered by a pair of Erie F-3 AB sets. My railroad is freelanced but the Erie will have trackage rights over the line for the coal trains. I recently went to ebay and bought a whole bunch of Erie hopper cars, 3 bay Roundhouse and 2 bay Athearn and Accurail. All together I have 30 cars, 15 for each train.

My question is how prototypical would it be to mix the 2 and 3 bay hoppers. All the modern coal trains I see seem to have homogenous equipment. I remember seeing lots of Chessie System coal trains running through northwest Columbus, Oh back in the 1970s and my memory is that it was a mixture of equipment from the railroads that formed the Chessie System. What I can't remember is whether the hopper cars were all of the same size. I've researched old photos of coal trains but most of them show the loco and a few cars. I did see a few that seemed to have hoppers of different heights but couldn't tell if they were the same length. Would coal hauling railroads use equipment of different sizes or would that be a rare exception?

I know  the old adage. "It's your railroad. Do what you like." What I like is to follow prototypical practices as closely as I can even though I am a freelancer.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, July 06, 2019 12:26 PM

I can't imagine railroads scrapped all their 2 bay hoppers as soon as 3 bay hoppers would have appeared.  In fact it would have taken years for enough 3 bay hopper to have been built to complete the transition. 

Greenbriar buids railcars (all types).  They build 6500/3 months but their backlog is 26,000 cars.  Railcar inventory is a long range proposition.

Someone with a better memory than I might remember when that occured.  If you have a fixed date on which your operation is based then it might be critical as to what hoppers to use.  If the nearest decade is good enough, you are probably good to go using and F3 

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Posted by NHTX on Saturday, July 06, 2019 12:53 PM

 John'

The unit train as we knew it, did not exist during the time of the Erie.  What you had were solid coal trains.  Erie and Lackawanna merged in 1960, and there still were independently owned and operated coal yards in most towns in Erie country.  The 70 ton triple hopper began to gain in popularity in the early 1950s, but most coal yards still wanted theirs 50 tons at a time so, the twins outnumbered the triples by a wide margin.  The transition from 50 ton twins to 70 ton triples was gradual, keeping pace with the demise of the coal yard in every town, business.  The larger remaining coal customers wanted their coal in large quantities and the railroads wanted to move more coal at less cost, hence larger cars.  There were still PLENTY of twins into the mid 1970s.  By the time most of the twins were gone, the triples were reaching 95-100 tons of capacity.

     Since you are going to run these trains as Eries, I would suggest leaning more toward twins, but by all means having a few triples will not get you into any trouble.  C&O, B&O, N&W, WM, NYC, and even PRR who went whole hog on H-21 quads and H-35, H-37, and H39 triples still had some  twins, into the 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, July 06, 2019 3:18 PM

Moder coal unit trains usually are all from a single lessor, TILX, CMOX, XCLX, TGMX, and DEEX (seen around here).

Frequently these cars are leased by the power companies that they serve. DEEX cars were ne when I first came to North Dakota, but that was 35 years ago. If you see any now they are showing their age.

Modern Coal cars are painted at one end. This end of the car has the rotating coupler. The reain cars remain coupled when the are run through the dumper one or two cars at a time. At least one roating coupler must be on each end of the dumper to allow the cars to be tipped over for unloading.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 06, 2019 3:23 PM

NHTX

 John'

The unit train as we knew it, did not exist during the time of the Erie.  What you had were solid coal trains.  

Thanks for the information. I was a little confused by you differentiating between a unit coal train and a solid coal train so I did a little research and I'm not sure if I got the right answer or not. Is a unit coal train one that would deliver all of its cars to a single customer and a solid coal train one that would leave the mine as a solid train but would be broken up at a yard for deliveries to multiple customers?

My fictional railroad is set in the year 1956 and is very loosely based on the NYOW and Lackawanna railroads. The NYOW had a coal dock at Cornwall on the Hudson River and I envisioned something similar although this would be beyond the modeled portion of the layout. The coal trains are just pass throughs to staging with no switching or crew changes.

In reality, the NYOW had already ceased operations on that coal dock when it was destroyed by fire in 1952. In my fictional world, the coal dock is still in operation in 1956. The ability to rewrite history is one of the reasons I chose to be a freelancer.  

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Posted by John-NYBW on Saturday, July 06, 2019 3:31 PM

BroadwayLion

Modern Coal cars are painted at one end. This end of the car has the rotating coupler. The reain cars remain coupled when the are run through the dumper one or two cars at a time. At least one roating coupler must be on each end of the dumper to allow the cars to be tipped over for unloading.

I have seen these trains going north through Columbus and had guessed the painted end was to indicate the end with the rotating coupler. I saw one train with cars on the front end with the painted end on the front and the cars at the rear of the train with the painted end at the rear with one car in between the two groups with both ends painted. My guess is they were going to different locations that needed the rotating coupler at different ends. 

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Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, July 06, 2019 5:05 PM

Hello All,

Let me begin with, I am no expert on coal drags.

That being said- -my HO scale freelance pike is base on coal operations in the early '70's to the late '80's in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

I have spent the past few years amassing a fleet of over 40 vintage Tyco 34-foot Operating Hopper Cars. 

These cars are two bay. They were available in several color schemes and liveries. Some even have removable roofs that replicate covered hoppers.

When I make up trains similar liveries and types are strung together.

My suggestion is to make groups of similar cars within the train. Not all the 2-bays need to be strung together. 

For example, I will put the covered hoppers; with the same destination, at the tail-end of the train.

The train will pass through the siding, drop the cars and move back onto the mainline.

A switcher will then spot the cars at the individual facilities.

If you choose to model modern era coal drags realize that the cars themselves are, as you said...

John-NYBW
...homogenous equipment.

As has been posted the reason for this is the unloading process.

Making-up a single train with one type of hoppers: 2- or 3-bay, versus a train with mixed types in small strings, each would be feasible.

Hope this helps.

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Posted by dehusman on Saturday, July 06, 2019 6:56 PM

A unit train is a train billed on a multi-car waybill. It will have blocks of cars, typically 25-50-75-100-100+ cars all billed on a single waybill, which means all the cars on the waybill go from the same origin to the same destination.  The multicar waybill did not become popular until the 1960's and 1970's. 

Unit trains can have railroad owned cars or private cars.  The cars can have a painted panel or not.  There are standard steel hoppers, auto unloading hoppers, rotary gons, combination rotary and bottom dump hoppers.  Standard hoppers can be bottom dumped or rotary dumped.

For a 1950's layout there would be coal trains, but not unit coal trains.  There would be a 100 car coal train with 100 cars with 100 waybills, all of which could go to a different destination.  On a unit train there would typically be 100 cars and one waybill.

The mix of cars depends on who the customers are for the coal.   It was common for railroads to collect coal cars at a central yard and build solid coal trains to some destination where they would be switched and sent to the final destination.  For example on the Erie it could be some major city.  In the 1950s a city would use a lot of coal so the Erie might send 100 cars of coal to a city and the yard there would switch it up and put the coal cars on 10 different locals to be delivered to 40  different customers.  Or the entire train could go to one customer like a steel mill or a rail to water facility.

The mix of cars would depend on the customers on the train.  The 70 ton cars actually became popular in the 1920's.  The PRR, B&O and NYC all lots of 70 ton coal cars in the 20's and 30's (the PRR had more H21 hoppers than some other roads  had cars of all types).

 

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Posted by JimL on Saturday, July 06, 2019 7:59 PM

John-NYBW

 ... My fictional railroad is set in the year 1956 and is very loosely based on the NYOW and Lackawanna railroads....

I model the CNJ, but interested in all of the "anthracite roads" that brought coal to the N.J. Hudson River waterfront, including the Lackawanna. In the photos I saw of Lackawanna facilities, there was no mixing of hoppers .... either all short or all long ... seemingly by year of date ... at both New Jersey and 25th St South Brooklyn N.Y.

The 3-bays were always all Lackawanna road name. The 2-bay hoppers were mostly Lackawanna but plenty other railroads mixed in.

Maybe this helps a little?

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, July 07, 2019 8:59 AM

dehusman

A unit train is a train billed on a multi-car waybill. It will have blocks of cars, typically 25-50-75-100-100+ cars all billed on a single waybill, which means all the cars on the waybill go from the same origin to the same destination.  The multicar waybill did not become popular until the 1960's and 1970's. 

Unit trains can have railroad owned cars or private cars.  The cars can have a painted panel or not.  There are standard steel hoppers, auto unloading hoppers, rotary gons, combination rotary and bottom dump hoppers.  Standard hoppers can be bottom dumped or rotary dumped.

For a 1950's layout there would be coal trains, but not unit coal trains.  There would be a 100 car coal train with 100 cars with 100 waybills, all of which could go to a different destination.  On a unit train there would typically be 100 cars and one waybill.

The mix of cars depends on who the customers are for the coal.   It was common for railroads to collect coal cars at a central yard and build solid coal trains to some destination where they would be switched and sent to the final destination.  For example on the Erie it could be some major city.  In the 1950s a city would use a lot of coal so the Erie might send 100 cars of coal to a city and the yard there would switch it up and put the coal cars on 10 different locals to be delivered to 40  different customers.  Or the entire train could go to one customer like a steel mill or a rail to water facility.

The mix of cars would depend on the customers on the train.  The 70 ton cars actually became popular in the 1920's.  The PRR, B&O and NYC all lots of 70 ton coal cars in the 20's and 30's (the PRR had more H21 hoppers than some other roads  had cars of all types).

 

 

More good information. From my operational standpoint, since I am not going to switch these trains but simply run them through as extras, it doesn't really matter if the loads are going to a single customer or multiple customers. I could break up the loaded train in my main classification yard to be placed in different trains to serve multiple customers but then I would have to unload them in my staging yard to so they could return as empties and be assembled into a single train heading back to the mines. It's much simpler to run them through as solid trains and just imagine they are either going to a single customer or be broken up at a point beyond the layout. I first got the idea of reading John Armstrong's excellent book in which he described a loads in/empties out operation using a mine and a steel mill back-to-back but I couldn't fit those elements in on my layout so I just decided to run loads and empties in opposite directions on run through trains. 

Knowing that in the 1950s the coal trains could be broken up to serve multiple customers means that mixing hopper sizes makes more sense. The smaller customers might want their coal delivered in a single 50 ton hopper while the larger customers might want bigger deliveries with multiple 70 ton hoppers. They could be blocked accordingly.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, July 07, 2019 9:02 AM

JimL

 

 
John-NYBW

 ... My fictional railroad is set in the year 1956 and is very loosely based on the NYOW and Lackawanna railroads....

 

I model the CNJ, but interested in all of the "anthracite roads" that brought coal to the N.J. Hudson River waterfront, including the Lackawanna. In the photos I saw of Lackawanna facilities, there was no mixing of hoppers .... either all short or all long ... seemingly by year of date ... at both New Jersey and 25th St South Brooklyn N.Y.

The 3-bays were always all Lackawanna road name. The 2-bay hoppers were mostly Lackawanna but plenty other railroads mixed in.

Maybe this helps a little?

 

I've found a number of pictures that have different sized hoppers in a coal train although from the perspective of the photographer who naturally wanted to get the loco as the main focus of the photo, it's difficult to tell what size they are. I even so one with a loaded gondola mixed in with the hoppers. 

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, July 07, 2019 9:45 AM

Another aspect of unit trains is that they generally are the same size all the time.  A 100 car unit train will be about 100 cars all the time.  A non-unit train coal train doesn't necessarily stay the same size.  On the RDG they could adjust the tonnage on a coal train up to 5 times between the marshalling yard at St Clair and Port Richmond where the coal to water transfer was.

As the coal train moves across the railroad they might add or remove cars to match the tonnage rating of the engines.  If an engine was rated at 50 cars A to B, 75 cars B to C, 65 cars C to D and 100 cars D to E, a train would leave A with 50 cars and set out and pick up at those intermediate terminals to match the tonnage rating (assuming that the stations listed are about 50-100 miles apart).  The railroad would run more coal trains between A and B than between D and E (every third coal train leaving A would terminate at B).

That's another way to add operation with a coal drag that you wouldn't have with a unit train.  Say that one terminal on your layout is a break in the tonnage rating and run smaller trains on the hilly side and larger trains on the flat side.  Terminate some of the coal trains at teh terminal and use them to fill the remaining trains.  But it would require fiddling the train in staging.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, July 07, 2019 4:21 PM

dehusman

That's another way to add operation with a coal drag that you wouldn't have with a unit train.  Say that one terminal on your layout is a break in the tonnage rating and run smaller trains on the hilly side and larger trains on the flat side.  Terminate some of the coal trains at teh terminal and use them to fill the remaining trains.  But it would require fiddling the train in staging.

 

I see the operating possibilities of doing some switching with the coal trains as opposed to just run throughs but as you say, it would require some fiddling. My east end staging yard which is where these loads would go if I wasn't going to just run them through was not designed for easy access so fiddling would be inconvenient. One possibility would be to have a local industry receive a few loaded cars. The only logical one other than the coaling tower in my main engine facility would be my lumber yard. I have read that at one time some lumber yards would also sell retail coal. If I were to do that, I would need to add a coal bin to the facility and I'd probaby have to rework it to make room. Something to consider but for now I'll probably start with just running the loaded and empty coal trains as run through extras. 

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, July 07, 2019 5:28 PM

John-NYBW
I have seen these trains going north through Columbus and had guessed the painted end was to indicate the end with the rotating coupler. I saw one train with cars on the front end with the painted end on the front and the cars at the rear of the train with the painted end at the rear with one car in between the two groups with both ends painted. My guess is they were going to different locations that needed the rotating coupler at different ends.

 

Nah, they were all going to the same customer. If a train has half the cars one way and half the cars the other way, it is easier to stick a car with two roatating couplers than to turn half of the train around in a loop.

 

This can happen when the train is broken up, usually at the utility, but it could be at the mine too.

 

Evenually some one will have to straighten the mess out, but nobody wants to do it on their dime.

 

Of course if the train is going to go to a bottom dump facility, it has to have bottom dump cars, and they will not fuss over wich ends can rotate.

 

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, July 07, 2019 7:49 PM

There are a few instances of a unit train doing some intermediate work.  We used to have a unit coal train for Archer Daniels Midland that would have two blocks.  One would be for an intermediate facility.  While all the carsprobably wouldn't be on the same waybill number, you'd probably have two waybills-one for each destination, the train had one symbol for the entire trip.

I saw this particular move once and immediately thought of the old MR series on "pike sized" passenger trains.  This one could've started a series on pike sized unit trains.  It was 2 engines, six loaded coal hoppers and 1 engine on the rear in DP mode.  I looked up the train later and noted it had previously set out 97 cars for the intermediate facility.

Jeff

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, July 08, 2019 10:26 AM

Key defining element of a unit train is that the train acts as a single unit over an extended period.

BNSF takes 70 cars to Wyoming and the cars run through a continous loop (kinda like a big reverse loop) loader and are loaded with Powder River coal. The cars are not uncoupled in order to be loaded.

BNSF runs the cars to a power plant in Wisconsin. The cars are all unloaded in another continous loop - the cars are not uncoupled in order to be unloaded. The now-empty 70 cars head back together to Wyoming to start the cycle over again.

Ideally, even the engines (say two at the front and one on the rear) are kept coupled to the cars throughout the process, making multiple trips back and forth without change.

Contrast that to say a 1950's NP ore train. The train starts in Superior WI with say two RS-11s, 70 empty NP ore cars, and a caboose. The train runs to the Cuyuna Range and delivers it's empty cars to the NP yard in Crosby MN. The engine and caboose is coupled up to another train, made up of loaded NP cars, and pulls that back to Superior. The empties it brought in are distributed to iron ore mines in the area, and eventually the cars will come back to the yard loaded and become part of later loaded trains going east to Superior.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, July 08, 2019 7:14 PM

Hello All,

One resource you might want to invest in for you library is...

The Model Railroader's Guide To Coal Railroading; Tony Koester, 2006, Kalmbach Pub. Co.

Hope this helps.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, July 08, 2019 9:03 PM

When I worked on the Chessie(C&O)('78-'84) we would pickup 60-70 cars of coal at the mine consigned to a steel mill in Gary, Ind IIRC.

I supposed that woud be considered a unit train since all the cars was bound for a single customer.

Larry

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, July 09, 2019 9:16 AM

BRAKIE
When I worked on the Chessie(C&O)('78-'84) we would pickup 60-70 cars of coal at the mine consigned to a steel mill in Gary, Ind IIRC. I supposed that woud be considered a unit train since all the cars was bound for a single customer.

If you picked up or set out the cars, it probably wouldn't be considered a unit train. One customer isn't really the key factor (although that's usually the case for unit trains), it's that all the cars (and in many instances the engines) stay together for weeks or months at a time as one "unit", almost like they were all connected by drawbars instead of couplers.

A 70-car Illinois Central train of reefers bringing bananas from the Gulf Coast to Chicago isn't a unit train, it's a train of reefer cars. Each train running from Chicago to Louisiana and back is different in each direction, different cars in different order each time.

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Posted by cv_acr on Tuesday, July 09, 2019 9:32 AM

John-NYBW

I have seen these trains going north through Columbus and had guessed the painted end was to indicate the end with the rotating coupler. I saw one train with cars on the front end with the painted end on the front and the cars at the rear of the train with the painted end at the rear with one car in between the two groups with both ends painted. My guess is they were going to different locations that needed the rotating coupler at different ends.

Nope, still a single train. The coloured panel does indeed mark the rotary end. The car with coloured panels at each end has rotary couplers at both ends so cars on either side of the double-rotary will be oriented with their rotary ends facing away from the double-rotary car.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, July 09, 2019 9:45 AM

wjstix

 

 
BRAKIE
When I worked on the Chessie(C&O)('78-'84) we would pickup 60-70 cars of coal at the mine consigned to a steel mill in Gary, Ind IIRC. I supposed that woud be considered a unit train since all the cars was bound for a single customer.

 

If you picked up or set out the cars, it probably wouldn't be considered a unit train. One customer isn't really the key factor (although that's usually the case for unit trains), it's that all the cars (and in many instances the engines) stay together for weeks or months at a time as one "unit", almost like they were all connected by drawbars instead of couplers.

A 70-car Illinois Central train of reefers bringing bananas from the Gulf Coast to Chicago isn't a unit train, it's a train of reefer cars. Each train running from Chicago to Louisiana and back is different in each direction, different cars in different order each time.

 

A unit train is all the cars moving on one waybill, or actually one waybill number.  Each car will still have it's own waybill form (when they went with the car) but the waybill number will be the same on all the forms.

https://www.greenbayroute.com/1962ahwwaybills2.htm 

The waybill number is in the upper right hand corner of the form.  It's part of the railroad's accounting functions.  

On the unit coal trains, equipment-especially if private cars supplied by the shipper or receiver, tends to stay more uniform.  Even engines may operate a few cycles.  Other trains, like grain, ethanol, or other bulk commoditiy may only operate once between the same shipper and receiver.  It's still a unit train if the cars are moving on the same waybill.

Jeff

 

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, July 11, 2019 4:26 PM

Interesting story re the start of unit trains in 1966....

https://www.cargill.com/history-story/en/GRAIN-BY-RAILWAY-TRANSPORT.jsp

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, July 11, 2019 7:03 PM

wjstix
If you picked up or set out the cars, it probably wouldn't be considered a unit train. One customer isn't really the key factor (although that's usually the case for unit trains), it's that all the cars (and in many instances the engines) stay together for weeks or months at a time as one "unit", almost like they were all connected by drawbars instead of couplers.

Nope.  The cars staying together has nothing to do with it.   Unit grain trains especially have some churn to them.  We used to drive empty unit trains into Osawatomie, KS and they would be distributed out of there which maight mean they get switched to "purify" the sets, inspect the cars and switch out bad orders and to adjust the size to what the elevator wanted.  So there is no telling what train they would depart on.  At one point in time I was in charge of unit rock trains on a real railroad.  Less than 25% of the trains had the exact same consist on 2 consecutive loaded moves.  There is no  requirement that the cars stay together past the one move that they are a unit. 

Also how do get a train from a shipper and to a consignee without picking up and setting out cars?  They just don't magically appear sandwiched between and engine and caboose.  The crew that originates the move from the origin picks up the car and the crew that spots the cars at the destination sets out the cars.

wjstix
A 70-car Illinois Central train of reefers bringing bananas from the Gulf Coast to Chicago isn't a unit train, it's a train of reefer cars. Each train running from Chicago to Louisiana and back is different in each direction, different cars in different order each time.

But that has nothing to do with whether its a unit train or not.  What determines whether or not its a unit train is the rate and the billing.  

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Posted by John-NYBW on Monday, July 15, 2019 5:56 PM

wjstix

Key defining element of a unit train is that the train acts as a single unit over an extended period.

BNSF takes 70 cars to Wyoming and the cars run through a continous loop (kinda like a big reverse loop) loader and are loaded with Powder River coal. The cars are not uncoupled in order to be loaded.

BNSF runs the cars to a power plant in Wisconsin. The cars are all unloaded in another continous loop - the cars are not uncoupled in order to be unloaded. The now-empty 70 cars head back together to Wyoming to start the cycle over again.

 

When I went out to Cheyenne to see Big Boy 4014 start it's run to Utah I stopped at Bailey Yard in North Platte and went up in the observation tower. They had a man there explaining the operations of the yard. He explained how they operated their unit coal trains. They would originate at Bailey Yard as empties and run to the Powder River mines to be loaded. They would come back and pass through Bailey Yard, stopping for a crew change and car inspections. They would continue to whatever points east it was destined for and then return to Bailey Yard as an empty train. That was considered one cycle.

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Posted by borg48124 on Monday, August 05, 2019 8:49 PM

Back in the 1960's I used to unload coal cars at a power plant.  We usually got unit trains of 70-ton PRR hoppercars.  Every so often we would get a train of mixed cars.  Hard to unload since there were many different types of hopper door latches.  On time we got a mixed train that its last load was taconite pellets.  Had oiles of pellets by every maginatic seprator.  Another time got a mixed train that was last used to haul corn.  Open those dors and the fermeted corn came out first than the coal.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 8:44 AM

John-NYBW
When I went out to Cheyenne to see Big Boy 4014 start it's run to Utah I stopped at Bailey Yard in North Platte and went up in the observation tower. They had a man there explaining the operations of the yard. He explained how they operated their unit coal trains. They would originate at Bailey Yard as empties and run to the Powder River mines to be loaded. They would come back and pass through Bailey Yard, stopping for a crew change and car inspections. They would continue to whatever points east it was destined for and then return to Bailey Yard as an empty train. That was considered one cycle.

Exactly! That's a unit train. It's never broken up, at least it stays together as one "unit" for an extended period. Some railroads might use the term differently re billing etc. but what's described above is what has been for the last 50 years a 'unit train'. It's not just a train of the same type of cars that all happen to be going the same direction.

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  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 12:24 PM

"Never broken up" is relative.

One of the other parts of N Platte Yard is the "spare yard".  It is the yard on the north side of the main yard and has its own balloon loop for turning cars.

Spare empty cars and cars repaired on line are sent to the spare yard.  When a coal train comes into N Platte empty, its inspected and any bad orders are cut out and the train is filled with "spare" cars to get it back up to standard size.  If utility owned cars aren't avaiable then RR owned cars will be used to fill it out.  Also empty trains may be "purified", that is, cars from foreign railroads, cars whose lease is up, that belong to a different utility or have some other aspect where the railroad or the utility doesn't want them in the train, will be switched out and replaced with the proper cars.

Coal trains are the best at staying together.  Grain, rock and ethanol trains are not quite as good.  Unit coal trains are typically loaded at flood loaders and loaded as a train, then unloaded with a rotary dumper or dumping trestle as a train.  On the other hand it is not uncommon for the other commodities to be loaded or unloaded in smaller cuts, so there is a greater potential for "churn" in the consist.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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