Coal Trains: The History of Railroading and Coal in the United States

Coal Trains: The History of Railroading and Coal in the United States

by Brian Solomon, Patrick Yough


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From the first, U.S. railroads have carried coal from mines to docks, steel mills, and power plants across the country. In this authoritative book spanning the whole of that history, from the mid-nineteenth century to present, noted rail author Brian Solomon explores the railroads and hardware that have transported the fossil fuels that made America work. Brilliant period and contemporary photographs convey the drama of the enterprise: the very long—and very heavy—trains powering up mountain grades and thundering across barren prairies.

At sites from the eastern and western U.S., past and present, readers see giant double-headed Norfolk and Western steam locomotives moving Appalachian coal in Virginia; modern CSX diesels dragging unit coal trains over the well-groomed former Chesapeake & Ohio main line; BNSF’s SD70MACs with more than 100 hoppers in tow; Rio Grande locomotives snaking through the Rocky Mountains; and coal trains working full-throttle up Colorado’s Tennessee Pass, cresting the Continental Divide at 10,000 feet above sea level. Taking up topics ranging from the colorful but now-defunct “anthracite roads” of eastern Pennsylvania to today’s AC-traction diesels that work Wyoming’s thriving Powder River Basin, Solomon reveals how for 150 years the unique demands of coal—and America’s demand for coal—have prompted new railroad technologies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760333594
Publisher: Voyageur Press
Publication date: 07/29/2009
Edition description: First
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Brian Solomon is one of today's most accomplished railway historians. He has authored more than thirty books about railroads and locomotive power, and his writing and photography have been featured in the world's top rail publications, including Trains, Railway Age, Passenger Train Journal, and RailNews. He divides his time between Massachusetts and Ireland.Patrick Yough has worked as an environmental consultant in the utility industry since 1990. His photography and writing have been featured in Trains and CTC Board, and he contributed to the Voyageur Press titles Conrail and Railroads of Pennsylvania. Patrick resides in Williamsville, New York.

Table of Contents


Introduction Chapter 1               Anthracite

Chapter 2               Historical Appalachian Bituminous Coal

Chapter 3               Modern Appalachian Bituminous Coal

Chapter 4               Illinois Basin Coal

Chapter 5               Powder River Basin Coal

Chapter 6               Uintah Basin Coal




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