--- Wendell Huffman <wendellhuffman@...
> I presume the coal came in from Wyoming. How was it
> transferred at
> Battle Mountain? I presume locomotives could have
> fueled directly
> from standard gauge cars, but they surely would have
> had to have
> hauled some coal to Austin.
There was a big coal storage shed at the northwest
switch of the wye that encompassed the BM yards. It
was a long, outside framed shed of quite typical
design, except it was slightly trapezoidal to fit into
the curve of the wye's switch. It can be seen in
several 1930s photos, including one in Myrick. The
structure is shown in Ledlie's 1879 survey book so may
date to the railroad's construction.
They no doubt also did shovel coal across from SG to
NG, using the siding/spur along the northside of the
wye adjacent to the engine house/shops.
Coal was hauled to Austin but with mining and milling
collapsing in Austin after 1887, fuel use within the
city dropped dramatically. In the fall during the last
two decades of the line, and possibly before, John
Hiskey would assure that there was enough coal on hand
for domestic use in Austin during the winter, stored
in the school.
There are no visible coal bins or platforms or piles
in photos of Clifton that I recall. In one photo taken
around 1908 there is a large rough addition to the
station that maybe was used as a coal shed but it's
gone by the 'teens. Perhaps they just shoveled engine
coal out of cars, or kept a pile down the hill at
Ledlie. This is something I've not seen reference to;
water always was the bigger concern that is mentioned
regularly. Perhaps they loaded up enough coal for the
186 mile roundtrip before leaving BM.
Mining camps sprang up along the line over the years
and no doubt took coal. I'm sure coal was also
offloaded to teamsters in Ledlie, at Big Creek spur,
and at Clifton, for shipment to distant camps all
around the region.
I'm not sure of the coal's source.
This talk of coal and Indians reminds me of Tasker
Oddie's first ride on the NC. In his diary he notes
that several Piutes rode on top of the tender coal.
That was the "free seat" provided by the line in 1898.
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