Cherokee Sub coal trains 1980

Discussion in 'Cherokee Subdivision' started by Iantha_Branch, Dec 7, 2022.

  1. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    There's already a little bit of discussion about the Peabody Coal Mine near Chelsea, OK here:

    According to that thread, there was a unit train that moved coal from that mine up to KCP&L. The ETT's don't list these unit coal trains in the schedule, so I would like to find out what the ID for these trains was.

    In addition to that, Northeast Generating Station opened in 1979. From what I can see on old maps, the Frisco built a spur near Sequoyah, OK to serve this plant. Does anyone know what train(s) the Frisco brought in to supply this plant? My best guess is a similar arrangement to Rush Tower, where western low sulfur coal was brought in via Santa Fe or UP unit trains, but that is just a guess.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2022
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  2. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    On the dispatcher’s train sheet it would be Xtra *** East, and in the TPR system, its ID would be CSKC-11207, i.e., Chelsea to Kansas City 19th Street yard, through freight, December 7th,

    See more about TPR and an example Clearance Card and TO's
  3. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    That's excellent information Karl. I'll have to read that a couple times and digest it.
  4. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    Symbols for the Chelsea-KC move were MPS for loads, XMP for empties. This move was a unit train to the Missouri Public Service Sibley (MO) Generating Station. The train was interchanged to/from ATSF at KC for the move to Sibley. MPS purchased an initial 60 cars for this train from the Darby Corp. of Kansas City, KS. The plan was to deliver 600,000 tons/year with 125 round trips and 70-hour turnaround time. Deliveries started in early 1969.

    Here are some spotting notes from Dick Eisfeller:

    XMP-16 945-915 71 coal mtys for Catale 8/17/77 Dp KC 12:15am
    MPS-17 2 SD45-U30B 65 coal loads, 8896 tons 8/17/77 Dp Catale, OK 5:55pm
    8/31/78 Paola, KS 12:06 a.m. SLSF NB coal. 3 GP38. 90 coal in MPSX hoppers.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2022
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  5. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    The Northeast Generating Station (Public Service Co. of OK) was served by Missouri Pacific off a spur near Oolagah, OK. Coal came from the Powder River Basin via BN to KC, interchanged to MP. I have never seen any reference to Frisco serving this plant.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2022
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  6. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Thanks a bunch Ted. This is exactly what I was looking for.
  7. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I must have mixed something up while researching this topic. I went back and looked tonight and there was no spur off of the Cherokee sub to the power plant in 1980. I must be losing my mind.
  8. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    Corrected my post above to show "Missouri Public Service" instead of KCP&L. Must have been half asleep when I posted. The Sibley plant belonged to MPS (hence the train symbol.)
  9. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Supporter

    The mine at Catale was nine miles from the main with a 10 mph speed restriction on the track. We were in open range territory, so we had to be careful not to run into any cattle which was an issue at times. It was one of those deals that if we hit a cow no matter slowly we were going, it was our fault. Fortunately, none of the trains I was involved with hit a cow. It was an attractive train as all the hoppers were white. We would back in with caboose only and double the train out of the mine onto the caboose. We also pulled coal out of the 381 mine west of Chelsea. We would generally shove Frisco 50 ton coal empties to the mine which was an adventure because this was pre radio days and the track snaked back to the mine which meant we would lose the brakeman or conductor. This was bad enough when we had a cab unit, but one night they called me for this train with an F unit in the lead. I think my back still hurts from that night trying to keep the lantern in sight and reach the controls. I couldn't prove it, but I wondered if the diesel shop personelle set that unit in the lead on purpose. Generally we would set these cars out on the side track at Chelsea for other trains to pick up.
  10. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    That is fantastic insight. Thanks
  11. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    Time to fill in a little more details for clarity on Frisco coal trains moving from Oklahoma to KC in the late 70s. Coal was moving to both KCP&L and to MPS. Frisco ran what it called it's first unit coal train on 1/17/1967 from Chelsea to KC. The consignee was not specified, but it was most likely KCP&L. The 1991 All Aboard Vol 6 No 4 noted the train carried 6800 tons of coal, and consisted of 57 100-ton cars in the 87000 series, plus 20 55-ton cars in the 91600-92399 series. (Bad math here, as the photo with the article shows a banner on the side of one of the cars which says "80 cars".) An ICC docket from 1979 regarding a complaint by KCP&L about detention time fees for cars not returned within a certain time provides some details for that year. At that time, Frisco moved coal to KCP&L as a "trainload", and not as a "unit train". The rates were different between trainload and unit train, the trainload rate was based on a minimum volume of 400,000 tons/year. The ICC proceeding noted that in 1979 KCP&L was using 500,000/year. Note that Hawthorne was also supplied with coal from Wyoming's Hanna Basin via UP. KCP&L had the option of splitting some cars from each Frisco trainload to go to their smaller Grand Ave plant, while the majority of cars (a minimum of 60 cars per train) went to the Hawthorne plant. The coal was interchanged to KCS, who handled it to Hawthorne. Empties returned as they were released and interchanged back to Frisco in the regular KCS transfer runs to Frisco, and not handled as a unit train. Frisco delivered 45 trainloads in 1978, 17 trainloads between Jan 1, 1979 and Apr 15, 1979.

    The Missouri Public Service trains began in 1969. Frisco and MPS signed a contract to move 600,000 tons in 1969 beginning with the Sibley (MO) plant starting operations, with tonnage to increase to 1.5 million tons by end of the 10-year contract for a total of 10-million tons. As noted above, the initial train was 60 cars owned by MPS and built by Darby Corp of Kansas City, KS. MPS purchased additional cars over the years, all I believe carried the white scheme with Ready Kilowatt figure. It was anticipated that the 60-car train would make 125 trips per year on a 70-hour turnaround cycle.
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  12. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member


    That is a fantastic summary. Thank you so much for putting that together.
  13. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I went looking for pictures of the MPS hoppers this morning, and stumbled on another thread on the forum my first search didn't catch.

    From what I can find, MPS had 2 different types of hoppers in their fleet by 1980. I can't figure out the prototype of the original fleet from the 60's. I have yet to find a photo with good enough lighting to even see what the hopper bottom looks like. To me, it looks a lot closer to some of the ballast cars I've seen than anything else.

    The 2nd fleet looks very similar to the 5 bay rapid discharge model offered by Athearn. Someone in the other thread had an older Roundhouse kit that was painted up for MPSX.
  14. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    Those first two links to photos are the Darby-built cars.

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