locked Re: Coal Car Distribution Bulletins

George Eichelberger


I am not aware of monthly reports but the SRHA archives contain a significant amount of “coal” related material. The material, MoL, is in three categories; overall Southern coal traffic, coal in SW VA and export coal to the Southern’s pier at Charleston. Studies showing loadings from various mines are included, particularly when the subject is competition from other roads such as the Clinchfield, N&W and L&N. Files include the building of the Clinchfield to compete for southbound coal out of Appalachia, the L&N’s “invasion” of the Tennessee coal fields and the development and traffic to Charleston.

Construction of the Charleston pier construction is extensive and includes a full set of construction progress photos. (I did not realize how much of the Southern’s Charleston coal traffic was for “bunker” coal. That is, coal dumped for fuel in ships that were/were not colliers. It was common for a ship to pull up to the coal pier, receive a load of bunker coal, and move on in an hour or so.)

Files on the Clinchfield include the details of the construction of the CRR’s tunnel at Spartanburg (before that was built, all CRR traffic was interchanged to/through the Southern there.

The development of the Tennessee coal fields are represented in multiple files starting early in the 1900s. The L&N and Southern branches north of Oliver Springs and the development of various “feeder” lines in TN and KY are well covered.

As always, I repeat….. There is simply too much material in the SRHA archives and too few people doing the research needed to make use of it. As we move into the new year, if any SRHA member is interested to doing research (on any topic), let us know (archives@...) what you are interested in and we can provide some idea of how well that topic is covered.

I’ve attached three samples from the archives…..


1920-12-16 clipping.jpeg

1959-4-21 Int coal branches.jpeg

1968-8-23 operation of Arco-Harlee unit coal train Pg 4.jpeg

On Nov 18, 2022, at 5:45 AM, Evan Miller via groups.io <nsrailfan82@...> wrote:

While doing research on the Virginian, I came across several coal car distribution bulletins. Each month Virginian would list each mine served, its car rating, and how many cars were furnished to each mine during the previous month. Note that these are completely different from yearly mine directories Southern would publish.

Did Southern produce anything similar to these bulletins? If so, they would be excellent for my research.

-Evan Miller 

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