Monday, November 13, 2006

A coal morning

One thing pops up after another. I've been involved building a coal dock for Bryson City. I don't have a great deal to go on. I found a Sanborn Insurance map. I found two pictures of coal docks ownedby the Southern in Georgia. So I'm building a wooden structure.

So far I've built eight wooden bents. After investigating several similar structures I decided to use 12*12 posts with 8*2 reinforcing . So each "bent" has 12 pieces of various sizes. I like to use styrene. I used to use real wood but the styrene is a bit easier to work with. I layed out a pattern on a piece of cork and I use pins to keep eveything aligned. After each bent is built I fasten it to large timbers that will go under the railroad ties.

Of course after getting the initial structure built I needed to excavate a bit of my scenery. I also needed to build a work platform. In Bryson they built a deck just above cab level and had "wheelbarrows" that held about a tone of coal each. They'd wheel the carts under a loaded coal hopper car that was on the coal dock about 8 feet above the deck. They fill the cart and then push it over to the edge. They would dump it into a waiting coal tender. Labor was cheap back then.

The coal dock served a second purpose. Cars could also dump coal all the way to the ground under another section. This was for the local coal yard. How many people remember heating with coal?

But after all of my effort, I looked at the model and decided that the structure needs to be longer and I need to excavate more. Story of my life. I just think it will look better. After all, what are the chances of anyone who ever lived in Bryson City, NC in 1942 coming to my basement and saying, "Nope, not exactly right."

So I have more bents to build. The work of a model railroader is never done.