On-line Coal Station Operations

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Jul 12 12:12:25 EDT 2021

Hi all. 

After receiving some drawings form the Archive on the Dorney Coaling Station, I realized that it was quite a large “industry”, which led me to wonder how these types of plants were serviced and supplied. For example, the Dorney Station had to receive material for water softening, sand, and coal and (apparently) have cinder removed. The location was apparently used for staging cars bound for Circleville, but that’s a different topic.

Two scenarios for coal delivery seem plausible to me:
A through coal drag could have included a cut of cars that was allocated to the station. 
Perhaps after fueling or taking water, the crew would have detached the cut from the train and spotted it on the delivery track about 1500 feet north of the dock.
A westbound local could have done the same.
Similarly, eastbound drags or locals could have picked up empties (Dorney’s delivery track was between the mains, tied into the westbound main at one end and the eastbound at the other)

As an aside, on first thought it seems unlikely (to me, though I’m not a railroader) that a road engine would do work along the line. But dad has a distinct memory of an 1200 delivering a single stock car to the freight station at the north end of town, four miles north of Dorney (where presumably, the rest of the train remained).

For the other materials, the locals make more sense, with westbounds picking up cinders (the cinder track tied into the westbound main) and eastbound locals dropping off/picking up sand and softening products and their empties on the sand track (tied into the eastbound main)

Dorney is just south of Circleville, and Circleville had it’s own job that shuttled between Dorney and town. Which leads to a third possibility; through trains spotting cars on the center siding, with the Circleville crew distributing materials to the station, along with moving items to the industries in town. I.e., treating Dorney like another online industry.

There’s a lot of supposition up there. Have there been any articles in the Arrow on this topic?

Matt Goodman
Columbus, Ohio, US
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