The Walthers Cornerstone Coal Flood Loader kit is based on a hopper car loading structure in use since the 1970s. The energy crunch of the early 70s and the move toward improved air quality left coal-fired power plants and other industries in need of clean-burning, low sulfur coal. Vast deposits were available in the western US, but getting coal to customers was a big logistical problem. Several ideas were suggested, but in the end, railroads became the primary means of transport. Coal soon represented a considerable part of the traffic on many lines. As a cost-cutting measure, some large power companies adopted the just in time approach to buying coal. This means trains had to deliver on time, as only a small stockpile was maintained, and in essence, the unit trains became a rolling conveyor belt. In order to meet these tough schedules, a new generation of cars and motive power were introduced, and the methods of loading coal on the trains also changed. The Flood Loader is served by a network of conveyors, these large buildings are essentially storage bins, which load entire trains on the move. After coal has been washed, crushed to size and graded, it's delivered from these facilities to the flood loader, which can be quite some distance away, via conveyor belt. In operation, a unit train enters the loader at walking speed, about 4 mph. Loading begins when the first car rolls under the chute, a job handled by detectors and computers. In a matter of minutes the car is filled to capacity and loading begins on the next. Some loaders also use their computers to briefly stop the flow between cars, producing a down hill slope to the load. Others run continuously, and a wheel loader is used to reclaim the spilled coal. As the last car clears, the loader stops automatically and begins refilling for the next train. Now fully loaded, the unit train passes over a weigh-in-motion scale, to verify the actual amount of coal being shipped to the customer. Seen in both eastern and western coalfields, the Coal Flood Loader is a great way to add variety to coal operations on your line. Since the actual mine and processing operations are often miles away, this flood loader and conveyor can be placed trackside to imply the presence of a bigger mine located off your layout.
- Realistic corrugated metal textured plastic walls
- Arrange conveyor to fit available space on your layout
- Decal signs
- Molded in appropriate colors