Info Request: Bill's Coal Co. Garland, KS

Discussion in 'Freight Operations' started by Rick McClellan, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    During a recent trip south of Ft Scott I was unable to find any remnants of the track for Bill's Coal Co. just north of Garland. If I was looking in the right place, I either missed it or it has been reclaimed very well.

    It is my understanding that the Bill's loading facility was a coal washing plant although I have not seen a photo of the coal washing structure. The one photo I am aware of in Rails, Rivalries & Romance only shows the conveyor and one end of the track. There seems to be a lot of surface mining in the area just south of Edward Jct in the approximate area I think Bill's coal washer was. My guess is that coal may have been trucked to the washer but I couldn't find any direct evidence of that.

    I am ready to build the benchwork to support Bill's so any information, photos, etc on the location of this track would be most welcome.
     
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  2. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Rick, take a look at the Google Maps satellite image:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sou...5064,-94.631338&spn=0.03665,0.098534&t=k&z=14

    According to the EPA, Bills Coal Company was located due north of Garland, on the west side of 260th Street, north of town:
    http://oaspub.epa.gov/enviro/fii_qu...ys_acrnm_in=AIRS/AFS&pgm_sys_id_in=2001100010

    It looks like there were strip mines in that area and it appears that railroad tracks went into the property as well as skirting the Frisco main to a point just southeast of Garland.
     
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  3. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    Keith,

    Thanks for the info, this is the same info and same area that Joe Kasper, Patrick Lenehan and I searched two weekends ago. We saw lots of strip mining evidence but no evidence of a siding for Bill's coal washer. I searched the satellite photos before going on the trip and I still can't make out any surface scarring from the presence of a siding between Ft Scott and Garland.

    If anyone can make out where Bill's was on the satellite photos or if anyone has photos, CLICs or anything on that area, please let me know.

    Thanks for all the help.
     
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  4. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Frisco.org Supporter

    Rick:

    I may have some photos somewhere??????????????? of the giant shovel that was used there. It and a bunch of other junk from the mine sat for years on the east side of the highway back aways from the road. It even had a name on the side but I can't remember what it was. It was different than Big Brutus in the way it looked.
     
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  5. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Frisco.org Supporter

    Rick:

    I'm not sure, but I believe Bill's was originally part of the Pittsburg & Midway Mining Co. To that end, I would suggest that you call both of these places as they might have more information.

    Crawford County Historical Museum
    (620) 231-1440

    Big Brutus
    (620) 827-6177
     
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  6. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Frisco.org Supporter

    Rick and All:

    First of all I will try and keep this as short as possible but yet make it informative. I need to stand corrected about my previous post concerning a giant shovel being used at Bill's. The shovel that I was referring to sat beside the highway north of Ft. Scott between there and Paola.

    In looking at Banwart's book "Rails, Rivalry, and Romance", Bill's sat on trhe Frisco south of Ft. Scott as Rick pointed out. This prompts the following first hand knowledge of the mining in that area and the facilities that Bill's may have had.

    In the mid to late 70's Tony LaLumia (Friscotony) and I took a road trip to that area and we visited the Mackie Clemens Coal Co. tipple that sat on a Frisco branch line north and east of the town of Mulberry. There was a small yard between Mulbery and the tipple where cars were stored that we didn't see. At the tipple itself was a 4 or 5 track yard that was fed by a gravity feed hill where cars were shoved up and then allowed to drift under the tipple itself. The Walthers Cornerstone New River Mining Co. would make a representative sample of this facility. I might add that earlier in the day we observed a freight train of two GP38's and about 20 of the modern black and tuscan large hoppers sitting in the Pittsburg yard and were told that was a dedicated train that went daily to the mine.

    Those mines in that area were served by a large drag line crane type electric shovel that scraped the overburden dirt to expose the saem of dirt that usually was about 25 feet or so below the surface. They would move back and forth in a pit and thus the name "strip pit". There were different types of trucks, earth movers, etc. that transported the coal from the pit site to the tipple where it was wahed and sized. I returned several years later to discover that the tipple had been reduced to a pile of twisted scrap metal and a new more modern one had been constructed closer to the site of the pit. Whether or not the coal was being transported out by rail or not at that time I honestly can't remember. Several years after that I returned again to find that the operation had gone out of business. On one of those visits I did come across a smaller operation also. I did see a truck dump facility on a spur of the KCS mainline where three KCS hoppers were spotted. I wish I could remember which trip that I saw the truck dump facility as it might have been where Mackie Clemens was dumping their coal.

    Now for a reference to Bill's. Rick is modeling two eras and interchanging equipment out. If the earlier era were represented, by looking at the book there was a facility named Kelly-Carter Coal Co. that had a tipple that looked very similar to the above mentioned Mackie Clemens one. For the later era Bill's Coal Co. it may have been nothing more than a washer and conveyor of sorts. The siding in the photo looks very crude and similar to one that I referenced seeing on the KCS.

    Having said all of that, the most prominent feature of all of these operations was the large electric dragline that they used. The top of these could be seen from miles around. I believe that a represetative model of one may hae been produced in recent years.

    Hope this helps and if I can find my pictures I will post them.
     
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  7. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    Pictures would be great Bob because I don't know what a coal washer looks like. The Bill's photo in RRR is small and fuzzy and only shows the conveyor. Bet it took a while to load those 31 car unit trains with a conveyor.
     
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  8. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Frisco.org Supporter

    Rick:

    I will try and find the ones that I think (????) that I have. In the meantime I would suggest that you call the museums that I listed earlier in this thread as they may have some.
     
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  9. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Frisco.org Supporter

    For those of you really interested in this topic please look at the below referenced video. There are two shots of draglines that were used after the retirement of Big Brutus. There is also another video of a large dragline in operation. For reference sake remember that the draglines or Brutus for that matter were used to remover the overburden, not the vein of coal. Once the overburden was removed exposing the coal seam which was usually not more than 3 ft. of so thick, smaller loaders came in and extracted it. When the coal vein was extradcted the dragline would come back through and dump the overburden into the hole. It would work back and forth in strips thus the name "strip pit".
    Enjoy!

    http://video.mining.com/videos/1544c0/coal_mining_in_southeast_kansas.aspx
     
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  10. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    I did some searching and found these pix of coal washers:
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Frisco.org Supporter

    The one in the top left corner most replicates Mackie Clemens and the Walthers New River Mining Co.
     
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  12. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Tonight, I finally came across a good picture of the coal tipple known at "Clemmons No. 22" at Mertz. This is the coal washer that Bob was referring to above.

    https://vintageaerial.com/photos/kansas/crawford/1990/ZZCR/3/32

    Unfortunately, this photo was taken in 1990, about 3 years after the abandonment of rail operations to this mine and the remainder of the Parsons sub between Mertz and Arcadia. Would be really nice to score a picture that included all of the spurs set up to serve that one tipple.
     
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