Self fuel satisfaction

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Fri Apr 26 08:49:20 EDT 2013


I answered the question to the extent that I knew the answer. I didn't
pretend that I knew the whole answer. I write about what I have researched,
which is coal mining on the Pocahontas division and I don't claim that I
know anything about any other division. I write about coal mining in
McDowell/Mercer/Tazewell County (Pocahontas and Tug River Coalfields)
because that is what I have researched and that is what I am interested in.
In a peripheral fashion I have researched the infrastructure of the railroad
through McDowell County ( which happens to be the Pocahontas Division)
because that is the means of transporting coal. The N&W was also
instrumental in developing the Pocahontas/Tug River Coalfields (along with
other West Virginia/Virginia coalfields). I don't write about N&W
operations, locomotives, billing or many other things associated with the
railroad because I have no knowledge of them, nor do I pretend to have any
knowledge of them.

When I see a question on the mailing list I assume the questioner would at
least like to see some part of the question answered, even if the answer is
not complete. I try to answer accurately with researched information. To the
extent that any reader is satisfied or not satisfied with my answer is of no
particular concern to me as long as I am satisfied that my answer is
accurate, even if not complete. If I don't have a source of info I can point
a questioner to I might spend more time with the answer. With this
particular question I suggested two sources of info that are fairly

A non-researched answer would be:

"Coal was a necessary commodity to the railroad. In the early years of the
Pocahontas Division the railroad purchased coal from the mines through a
general coal agent. The coal agent was responsible for the quality of the
coal and where the coal went based on coal orders. The railroad contracted
with individual coal mines so that locomotives could be fueled directly at
the mine. Coal purchased as a commodity was loaded at the mine tipple.
Early examples of mainline locomotive coaling stations were found at
Elkhorn, Northfork, Keystone, Hemphill and other places in McDowell County.
Starting around 1912, the N&W entered into contracts with certain mines for
direct delivery of coal to N&W-erected coal trestles. The N&W could load
both locomotives and trains of coal cars at these trestles. Coal trestles
built in McDowell County were built at Caples (Farm) and Mohawk. (One was
planned for Keystone, but the building of Eckman Yard may have changed those
plans). Coal trestles were also erected by the N&W at Vulcan and possibly
Borderlands. It is assumed that the N&W delivered their loaded coal trains
to wherever the coal was needed much like any other commodity the N&W

Later on the N&W purchased or developed their own coal mines in some places
such as Vulcan. The coal dock at Williamson was served by its own coal mine
located across the Tug Fork in Kentucky."

I seem to recall from former emails on the mailing list that steam
locomotives were set up to operate based on the chemical composition of
coal. That would have an effect on how coal was distributed throughout the
N&W system. That answer needs to come from a locomotive oriented person.


From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at
[mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2013 8:27 PM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Re: Self fuel satisfaction

"In the early years the
locomotives were fueled directly from the mines from small coaling

That really doesn't answer the question: "How was it delivered/divided up
for its own usage, and where delivered to? "
The sun doesn't rise and set on the Pokey Div.

Jimmy Lisle

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