Sunday, January 31, 2016

NKP Wheeling District Coal Production in 1953

A vast majority of my railroad research is on my computer, which is backed up to a network attached storage device and one other location(back up your data!). I do have a small pile of the real important stuff printed out and clipped together for easy access and portability. 

The one thing I tend to look at the most is the mine data. The best source of this information comes from the Nickel Plate Road's own book, "1954 Physical Data and Other Information of Interest: Wheeling & Lake Erie District and the Lorain & West Virginia Railway Company". This is more than just a good source for the mines but also bridges, online facilities, rail weight, grades, curves, interchange data with other railroads and other info. I found this on the Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society's great website at

Instead of constantly paging through my copy of the NKP Physical Data book looking for a particular mine, I decided to compile all the mine info in one nice spreadsheet.

Here's the link for spreadsheet below, I also added it to the left on my blog's front page under Useful Links.

Nickel Plate Road - Wheeling District Coal Production, Brewster to the Ohio River in 1953

As you can see the from the spreadsheet, this small chunk of the Wheeling District had an output of almost 195,000 hopper cars of coal in 1953. The tiny 10 mile long AC&NA Branch accounted for almost half that production alone!

Hanna Coal Co.'s Georgetown Preparation Plant on the AC&NA Branch. Nearing completion in this photo it will be responsible for loading almost 72,000 cars of coal for the NKP and PRR in 1953.
Now I need to figure out how many days a year a typical mine was in operation to figure out how many cars per day on average would've been produced. My hope is to get a close representation of how many cars the different mine runs would handle and help plan for each mine's track work for car capacity.

If you can offer any insight into that area feel feel to contact me or leave a comment!

Using this data I can see how much coal was being produced and where some of it was going. Coupling that information with other aspects of I've read about operations, I can begin to construct the larger operational picture without having all the needed details from station books, train order forms and stories from real railroaders all of which I'm sorely lacking. Although these would still be extremely useful if anybody has anything to share, stories, paper, etc!

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