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 Post subject: Standardization on Coal and Specs?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2022 9:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:32 am
Posts: 212
Location: CT
I recently became acquainted with a facility who scientifically tests coal for the mines and power plants. Could or should the Heritage Rail Community, here and Abroad (UK) look into a scientifically proven spec, for efficiency etc?? Over the years I hear of folks getting junk here and there, or “can’t find good coal in our quantity”


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 Post subject: Re: Standardization on Coal and Specs?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2022 9:36 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 2278
Location: Strasburg, PA
My employer routinely had potential new sources of coal tested prior to proceeding with a new supplier. The issue is that the coal naturally varies at different points in the seam. Also, there is nothing to prevent a coal supplier from slipping in a load of junk to get rid of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Standardization on Coal and Specs?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2022 1:13 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:13 am
Posts: 109
Kelly Anderson wrote:
My employer routinely had potential new sources of coal tested prior to proceeding with a new supplier. The issue is that the coal naturally varies at different points in the seam. Also, there is nothing to prevent a coal supplier from slipping in a load of junk to get rid of it.


"Half of it's ash and the other half won't burn."


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 Post subject: Re: Standardization on Coal and Specs?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2022 11:29 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1788
As a start, we might adapt some of the desirable spec the AAR and other organizations were promoting at the end of the Forties: well-wahsed, sized to 2", of reasonable mixture of ranks and handled to avoid breakage and fines.

The mixture of ranks is going to be where fun comes in. "Best" characteristics for locomotive fuel have been published in many analytical texts -- you'd match those characteristics to an analysis of available coals. Unfortunately, in a world where heritage railways seem to have to beg Poland to ship them something in adequate quantities ... beggars may not be able to be choosers.

Which then implies that perhaps part of the prospective spec should involve treatment or co-firing materials. For example, dipping the 2" lumps in dolomite slurry, a bit like the White Train, to provide chemicals for sulfur capture and better ashing characteristics. Or making fuel as briquettes of coal fines or PC combined with torrefied-wood pellets (there is some discussion of this for locomotives, e.g. with the "Project 130" business, but far more discussion about torrefied co-firing being conducted with pulverized fuel for power generation in the early 2000s-years before carbon became demonized...

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R.M.Ellsworth


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 Post subject: Re: Standardization on Coal and Specs?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Posts: 80
All coal may be black - but all coal is not the same.

Coal from each mine has its own specific metallurgical make up. I was working with coal in conjunction with the Chessie System's coal piers at Baltimore, Newport News and Toledo. Coal being shipped to these piers had designated coal grade names and/or numbers which identified the mine/grade of the coal and whose trans-shipper account the coal belonged. Upon coal train's arrival at the destination terminal, Coal Surveyors would gather samples of the various grades that each train would contain and test those samples to make sure they had the correct properties.

The Baltimore (Curtis Bay) pier specialized in 'blended' cargos where multiple grades of coal were loaded on vessels with a defined dump rotation of multiple grades of coal. Example - 3 cars Cherry grade, 2 cars Blueberry grade, 5 cars Banana grade, 1 car Orange and repeat the cycle to completed the hold. Ocean Motion would homogenize the contents of the hold enroute to the vessel's destination.

It is up to the buyer of coal to know what specific characteristics they are seeking in the coal they buy and then test the coal that is being delivered to ensure they are getting the product they paid for.


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 Post subject: Re: Standardization on Coal and Specs?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 1208
Location: Philadelphia, PA
And different engines preferred different blends. CNJ 113 and the Lokie in Ashland PA would want lump anthracite (and are in the right place for it)

In the 1920's, RDG had different blends for different services and I'll bet even in the 1960's the Ramble T-1's got much different coal than 0-6-0T 1251. I don't know what 250 ton relief crane 90906 burned.

Phil Mulligan

Note: the Lokie is a 3'6" gauge 0-4-0T that takes tourists from a surface drift mine in Ashland around the hill to a loadout. You can ride behind a battery electric mine motor inside the mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Standardization on Coal and Specs?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 5:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 1171
Here's a "schedule of anthracite'" as used by the Reading circa 1941. By the time of the Iron Horse Rambles, I'm certain the T-1's were using straight bit coal, and I know for a fact that when George Hart's Rail tours Inc. was using No. 1251, it was also using straight bit. The 113 group tried burning anthracite in No. 113 but has also transitioned to bituminous. Engines classes listed: G-- 4-6-2, P-- 4-4-2, I-7 -- 2-8-0, end-cab, long, deep fireboxes


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