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Hello,
As mentioned before, I have plans to expand my HO scale layout to include industry sidings, two of which will be a freight depot (next to a General Store) and a coal mine. I've purchased hoppers and coal loads to simulate loading and unloading of coal, but wasn't entirely certain of the logistics on how to move the coal from a scale of industrial consumption to one of commercial consumption. For instance, I'll be modeling a 1940s-50s mountain railroad town, and am aware that most homes during that time utilized coal-burning furnaces. I've also seen small bags of coal people could buy for use in their own homes, yet while I have found HO scale versions of such bags, I'm wondering where and how coal would be transferred from hopper cars into these bags. While my layout easily allows me to take a hopper car from the mining complex to the freight depot, the number of industries I'll have makes putting in roads difficult, which may rule out having the coal transported by truck. Thank you for your help.
 

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One way a hopper could be unloaded at a small
fuel mart would be to build a ramp with ties missing
at the top so the hopper could release coal into a truck
or a pile below. I did the same with a sand and rock
dealer. Be sure to use gradual elevation so couplers
don't snag on ties. Use a 'buffer' car when pushing
loaded hopper to the top so loco is never on the
ramp trestle. I used a trestle support system.

Don
 

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When I was young back in the 1940's, the mill that that we took our oats and corn to be ground into cow and chicken feed also had a railtrack next to it and sold coal by the bushel or ton. There were piles of different size coal in their storage yard. You would choose the size coal, load it into your containers or truck and pay for it by weight. Nothing was pre-bagged.
 

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If you're in the steam era, it might have been unloaded at the local coal tipple, and put into a truck with a scoop on the front of a tractor.
 

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There are probably several middle men from a mine to a bag of coal for consumer use.
Correct. Industrial coal is by the thousands of tons, but some could purchase car loads and have them dropped off at a tipple where the car(s) would be dumped for loading onto drayage (horse-drawn wagons) or into trucks after, say, 1939-ish, for delivery to home basements by the half-ton or more. I'm sure these places would also have bags of coal, say 20 pounds each, maybe larger if the market bore that size and they could make money.
 

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Way back when. My Grandfather's house had deliveries of coal.
Trucks used to deliver and use a chute to gravity feed to an inside of the house's basement storage bin.
When everything was switched over to gas or oil the bins became a storage place in the basement.

I think you need a dump truck in the coal operation somewhere. An old dump truck.
My three cents, :)
 

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My grandmother's house was the same way, except the bins were long gone. I think the coal delivery guy must have had a chute like a modern concrete truck, because the coal chute opening of the house faced a narrow driveway between two houses.
 

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As stated above, in your limited space situation, a small elevated coal dump maybe next to a small general or hardware store would be your best bet. Bag coal would have been sold at these locations, as well as lumber yards. here is a photo of one example:


Wheel Tire Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive tire
 

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Hello,
As mentioned before, I have plans to expand my HO scale layout to include industry sidings, two of which will be a freight depot (next to a General Store) and a coal mine. I've purchased hoppers and coal loads to simulate loading and unloading of coal, but wasn't entirely certain of the logistics on how to move the coal from a scale of industrial consumption to one of commercial consumption. For instance, I'll be modeling a 1940s-50s mountain railroad town, and am aware that most homes during that time utilized coal-burning furnaces. I've also seen small bags of coal people could buy for use in their own homes, yet while I have found HO scale versions of such bags, I'm wondering where and how coal would be transferred from hopper cars into these bags. While my layout easily allows me to take a hopper car from the mining complex to the freight depot, the number of industries I'll have makes putting in roads difficult, which may rule out having the coal transported by truck. Thank you for your help.
As others have noted, the coal didn't go directly Into the bags from the hopper. Where I grew up, we used to have a coal dealer. The PRR (I think, I was young) left a hopper on a tipple -- basically a trestle with room for a dump truck underneath. They had 4 or 5 delivery trucks, and yes, they did have a chute at the back similar to a concrete mixer. I never saw one tilt to deliver coal, either, so maybe they had some kind of auger like a modern snowplow uses for salt and sand. Anyway, the driver would pull his truck under the hopper, pull one of the door release levers, and fil, his truck. They also kept a small line of coal near the end of the tipple (spillage that they collected, maybe?). If you wanted a bag of coal or two, you would pay at the counter, and they would hand you some burlap sacks. You filled your own at the pile.

Also, if you aspire to realism, figure out a way to add roads and parking. The people who work at your industries have to commute to work somehow.
 
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As others have noted, the coal didn't go directly Into the bags from the hopper. Where I grew up, we used to have a coal dealer. The PRR (I think, I was young) left a hopper on a tipple -- basically a trestle with room for a dump truck underneath. They had 4 or 5 delivery trucks, and yes, they did have a chute at the back similar to a concrete mixer. I never saw one tilt to deliver coal, either, so maybe they had some kind of auger like a modern snowplow uses for salt and sand. Anyway, the driver would pull his truck under the hopper, pull one of the door release levers, and fil, his truck. They also kept a small line of coal near the end of the tipple (spillage that they collected, maybe?). If you wanted a bag of coal or two, you would pay at the counter, and they would hand you some burlap sacks. You filled your own at the pile.

Also, if you aspire to realism, figure out a way to add roads and parking. The people who work at your industries have to commute to work somehow.
A little additional info on coal delivery trucks. Some had a scissor lift to raise the dump box high enough to accommodate homes that were well above street level. Many also had the capability to discharge coal from the sides of the box. Our coal bin under the front porch sat about 6 to 8 feet above street level, and was set back about 12 feet from the curb. My brother and I thought we were the coolest helpers by using our hands to push the coal down the chute. Then we would climb through the 8" X 16" coal door and play in the wet new coal. At the time, in the early 60's, coal was about $17 a ton. a far cry from the $200 a ton current rate!
 

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As others have noted, the coal didn't go directly Into the bags from the hopper. Where I grew up, we used to have a coal dealer. The PRR (I think, I was young) left a hopper on a tipple -- basically a trestle with room for a dump truck underneath. They had 4 or 5 delivery trucks, and yes, they did have a chute at the back similar to a concrete mixer. I never saw one tilt to deliver coal, either, so maybe they had some kind of auger like a modern snowplow uses for salt and sand. Anyway, the driver would pull his truck under the hopper, pull one of the door release levers, and fil, his truck. They also kept a small line of coal near the end of the tipple (spillage that they collected, maybe?). If you wanted a bag of coal or two, you would pay at the counter, and they would hand you some burlap sacks. You filled your own at the pile.

Also, if you aspire to realism, figure out a way to add roads and parking. The people who work at your industries have to commute to work somehow.
There is never enough parking space on a layout. I'm very fond of no-auto zones like on the Marienplatz and other pedestrian only zones.
 

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When I was a kid the local folks that were the concrete dealer as well as coal delivered to the house. They had a metal coal shoot door on the driveway side of the house. With every load of coal you were sure to get a couple of rats as well. Never failed.
 

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One way a hopper could be unloaded at a small
fuel mart would be to build a ramp with ties missing
at the top so the hopper could release coal into a truck
or a pile below. I did the same with a sand and rock
dealer. Be sure to use gradual elevation so couplers
don't snag on ties. Use a 'buffer' car when pushing
loaded hopper to the top so loco is never on the
ramp trestle. I used a trestle support system.

Don
JStussy

Here's a photo of the kind of coal dump trestle Don is talking about. Small towns had coal dealers that received a hopper or two of coal as needed. The coal was sometimes dumped from railcar into a truck for delivery to homes. More often the hopper would dump its load into bins under the track. The coal might later be loaded with a small conveyor onto a dump truck equipped with a small door that fed a chute that carried the coal to the house. I remember seeing this operation when I was a young child. The coal chute from the delivery truck dumped coal into our own small coal bin in our basement. Fascinating stuff to a five-year-old! Coal probably got into the sacks with a shovel operated by a strong back. Labor was cheap back then.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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I shoveled a lot of coal when I was young. I could not lift the big coal scoop shovels so my father got a half shovel that was used to spread gravel and that was my coal "scoop" I used to load the stoker with coal daily! I still have the shovel - its followed me all over. Its now 65 years old and still a useful shovel, but no more coal!
 

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Some coal delivery companies would go to a designated area at the breaker facility to be loaded at the mining site. I've included a photo of a scissor lift coal delivery truck.
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Sky
 

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I've seen where a mostly wood hopper car with coal would be put on a siding and then a conveyor (with two street tires) would be positioned under the car's discharge. I think the conveyor was run by a small gas/diesel engine. It would put the coal in a pile or in a dump truck. The dump truck could pull the conveyor down the road or two men could move the conveyor by hand. So needed infrastructure (tipple) was minimal, just a siding and access for the conveyor and truck. I believe this was modeled in Model Railroading magazine recently, the article was about human figures.
 

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My grandparents also had coal delivered by the ton, but it was dumped into a large bin in the "coal barn".
 

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Small towns had coal dealers that received a hopper or two of coal as needed. The coal was sometimes dumped from railcar into a truck for delivery to homes. More often the hopper would dump its load into bins under the track.
A few pics of my coal dealer.
Cloud Sky Window Wood Land lot


Train Wood Window Engineering Brick


Back side.
Sky Wood House Building Cloud




I think you need a dump truck in the coal operation somewhere. An old dump truck.
Yep.

Building Toy Vehicle Wood Rolling


Train Sky Vehicle Wheel Cloud
 
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