Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Coaling Station
Serving Coal-hungry Locomotives in Thurmond, West Virginia
Keep those Steam Locomotives Rolling on Your Model Railroad Layout with a Coaling Tower
The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Thurmond Coaling Station sat astride the tracks at the west end of Thurmond yards in Fayette County West Virginia, servicing the railroad’s coal-burning steam locomotives.
The reinforced concrete structure, designed by Fairbanks, Morse and Company of Chicago, was constructed starting in 1922.
The station featured undercut gates with heavy, counterweighted hooded aprons that deflected the coal into the locomotive tender. Pivots allowed the aprons more than seven feet of lateral movement for servicing large locomotives without moving them. The cut-off gate, pivoted as well, was gravity operated, and could be tripped from the tender.
The 500-ton capacity coaling station serviced all Loup Creek and C&O mainline engines operating through Fayette County. The mainline locomotives were coaled from a track on the north side of the tower while the Loup Creek locomotives were coaled on the south side.
Incoming coal hoppers were offloaded on the middle track into the receiving hopper below the tower, where a conveyor belt then transports the coal to a single roll crusher. The crushed coal was then conveyed to the boot, where buckets riveted to two high grade steel chain plates collected and lifted it.
An electric motor turned the buckets to dump the coal into the feeder chute. A flap in the chute, when open, directed the coal in the larger of two bins. If closed, the coal moved along a shaker screen and was dumped into the smaller bin.
To supply the locomotives with sand, and a reinforced concrete sand plant was installed in connection with the coaling chute. Incoming cars unloaded wet sand into a hopper beneath the track that fed into a storage bin. Valves released the sand to a dryer, then it passed over a screen and into a drum. The clean, dry sand was then forced by compressed air into small bins located at monitor level.
These plans were created by the Historic American Engineering Record in 1988. The plans were delineated by Jennifer McCormick and C. Scott McCray. Photographer Jet T. Lowe created the photographs in November 1988. The Historic American Engineering Record is a project of the National Park Service, the United States Department of the Interior, and contents of the project are stored in the Library of Congress.
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