Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: Help with coal trains???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Luxora, Arkansas, US Of A.
    Posts
    2,320

    Default Help with coal trains???

    I found out that coal is loaded somewhere in Georgia Via Powder River, and It goes through Alabama, Mississippi, Memphis Tennesse, and on up through Arkanas, by my house, on through Missouri and to Wyoming. Why do they do all that, in outside Memphis there is a Coal Yard there where they check for Locked breaks and so on, so I see coal alot. Does the coal go to a industry somewhere or is it just to company to company??? Do they get loaded at Georgia, because you can see emptys going back toward Georgia and back toward Missouri, any help here???

    Thanks,
    Jonathan:)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Van Buren, AR, USA.
    Posts
    643

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    Hi buddy,
    Most coal comes FROM Wyoming and is mostly going to electrical generating plants around the country. They burn coal to make steam to run steam turbines that in turn run the generators. Right now there are many coal loads because:
    1. This is the hottest time of the year and generating plants are operateing at near capacity to meet the demand.
    2. The electric company wants to build their stock pile up a little bit so that they have a winter reserve incase some really bad weather comes and the trains couldn't get through.

    There are mainly two types of coal cars. The ones you see that say "rotary coupler this end" enter a special section of track at the power plant where they are actually turned upside down (or practically) while still hooked to each other to empty them. The rotary couplers allow them to do that. The second type have gates at the bottom of the cars. Safety locking pins are released then the engines take the cars very slowly through the power plants coal yard without stopping. Special arms trip a latch on the bins and hold them open and the coal empties through holes under the track. When the cars exit that section, the doors spring back. So the entire train is unloaded without stopping.

    Coal comes mainly from Wyoming because the coal there has a low sulfer content which makes it easier for the power plants to meet EPA standards with that coal. Coal does come from other parts of the country though and you could see a coal train going to or from them. For example a new strip coal mine is supposed to open just south of Fort Smith here where they will be taking several hunderd car loads out per week and a new power plant was built with special equipment to handle the higher emissions that coal will have. This mine used to produce coal back before the EPA existed but when higher polution standards went into effect it wasn't cost efficient to use it. Now technology and the fact that we need new sources of coal make it possible.

    Larry


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Bite me, Ontario, Canada.
    Posts
    1,432

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    CPR sends alot of coal from Alberta & British Columbia to the States too. I see the trains on the lineups alot.

  4. #4

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    A bit more than that.

    It was a long hard fight to get eastern seaboard to use PRB coal. The transportation costs is higher than the cost of the coal.

    "The electric company wants to build their stock pile up a little bit so that they have a winter reserve incase some really bad weather comes and the trains couldn't get through."

    Not quite right - they have 2 imaginary lines on the coal stock pile. When it get below the bottom line they add trainsets to increase the stockpile. When it get above the top line, they remove a trainset. The level of these two lines does fluctuate a small amount, in preperation for the summer season. Electric generation is not affected as much by winter - gas heat keeps the peaks down. They also may increase the stockpile is a RR or other type of labor action in on the horizon.

    "Most coal comes FROM Wyoming and is mostly going to electrical generating plants around the country."

    That is also not quite right. Yes, large amount of coal come from the PRB. But it is due to the low cost of the coal, along with the low sulfur content. There is a lot better coal in Utah, higher in BTU content that also complies with the sulfur requirements under the Clean Air Act. However, this coal is about 3 times as expensive as the PRB coal. A large amount of the coal mined on lines serviced by CSX and NS is met coal - coal used for coking for steel production and not suitable for electric plants. When an electric plant is built, it is built to burn a specific type of coal. Ash content, btu content, sufler content and friablilty are the main criteria. A plant set up to burn a specific type of coal, may have to be modified to burn another. What they are doing at the Georgia plant is blending the PRB with coal of the NS to met their criteria.

    At this time, the cars are backhauled empty. This is due to the problems of cleaning cars out. When dumped, not all the contents are removed. There have been many cases where cars were loaded for the backhaul and totally screwed up the facility that recieved the next load from that car. A good examle of a loaded backhaul was the Geneva Iron Ore trains. These were loaded on the UP(ex-CNW) with Iron ore in Minnesota and taken to the Geneva Steel Plant in Utah. After dumping, they were cleaned and loaded with coal from Utah mines and takento power plants in the Midwest. After dumping there they were cleaned and sent to Minnesota for reload.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Fordyce, AR, USA.
    Posts
    2,912

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    That is the train that the BNSF "stole" from the UP. It used to be the UP's CJRGP. It usaed to come down the UP from Kansas City, on to Coffeyville, then to Van Buren, AR and onto Little Rock. From there it would keep on east across Arkansas to Memphis TN. From there it jumped onto the NS for forwarding on down to Georgia Power. I think the plant is in Scherer, GA. But due to UP's poor train handling service, BNSF got the bid on the coal train and thus they acquired 50 AC4400CW's. The BNSF & UP cross each other at Hoxie. Now it comes down the BNSF line thru jbt's town. The BNSF also has got a slice in on hauling coal trains into the massive AP&L plant in White Bluff, AR (Between Pine Bluff, AR and North Little Rock, AR) They run sometimes but not everyday. Usuallu two SD70Mac's up fromt, 135 cars and two MAC's on the rear.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Luxora, Arkansas, US Of A.
    Posts
    2,320

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    Thanks everybody:)

    Chad that is true, but I see alot of Foreign power on them too, couple days back seen a NS SD50, CN SD40-2 with a little painted US on it, and in the back a CSX D9-40CW and a Dash 9, so it ain't all greens and pea:) If I had a camera I'd show ya, but that is next on my to buy list next to the stuff for my computer. Always though that the coal went to to St. Louis;) They are building a power plant in Osceola to, about 4 miles from my house. Through here there is only single track, how in the *$&# they gonna put all that coal on a single track. There is a small yard in Osceola, and one pretty good sized on in Blytheville, but the next double track is about 30 miles from here, any chance they might double track it all the way, I WISH:)

    Next question, ok yall know that Arkansas is filled with steel mills, where does that go, there is one in Blytheville and as I speak there are about 20 loaded steel cars in the siding beside my house.

    Thanks,
    Jonathan T

  7. #7

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    Those are mini-mills, not a fully integrated plant. They take scrap and remelt it into new products. A fully integrated mill uses coke.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Upton WY USA
    Posts
    63

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    i agree with everything previously written in the above post. My dad works at the North Antelope/Rochelle Complex in the PRB. He mostly loads coal trains, and he sees both UP and BNSF, along with a few other rail companies, but mostly UP and BNSF. most all of the trains dad loads coal on, the BNSF trains go to the south east,via Crawford Neb, while the UP trains head south to the UP mainline across southern Wyoming, heading to the east from there. yeah, the PRB coal is a lot cheaper and are very low in sulfur content, and the mines in the PRB ship millions up on millions of tons out of there. Heck, on average, according to my dad, the trains are about 110 cars on average and he puts about 105 tons (+/- 2-5 tons) (depending on the car) into each car. based on those two figures, that comes out to 11,550 tons per train. throw on top of that they load usually 6 trains per shift (12 hrs)and that comes to 69,300 tons/shift, and in a 24 hour day (providing the mine or trains have no problems) they can kick out 138,600 tons/day, and in a year goin along these lines that comes to 50,589,000 tons/year just by train. the actual figures vary, as there are shorter trains, delays, loading shed problems, etc.
    anyways, just had to toss my two cents into the mix :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    .
    Posts
    239

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    Not all BNSF coal goes by way of Crawford. A fair amount goes south, via Gurnsey.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Bootheel, MO, USA
    Posts
    2,068

    Default RE: Help with coal trains???

    Jonathan, since we live off the same sub, one additional comment. We get 125 cars here (twice a week if I'm not mistaken) and also if I'm not mistaken saw almost that same combination of power you referred to above and wondering if, or thinking that maybe ours is coming up from somewhere South. Just don't know that much about it. I do know as said above that UP once had the contract, but BNSF has had it now for quite awhile.

    RobertR .. ADF-M&RM at http://www.adfrr.com

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •