Coal Fired Steam Traction - in Mines!

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Fluesheet, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I found this on the N&W Historical Society mailing list - I would have never fathomed that steam engines would be used in the confines of a mine! Surprisingly, it wasn't terribly uncommon, especially in mines with very thick seams. (The Pocohontas coal field opened up by the N&W had seams well over 10 feet thick)

    Bluefield Daily Telegraph
    January 24, 1908

    Turkey Gap Company Victor in Suit Brought by State
    The Turkey Gap Coal and Coke Company was the victor in a suit brought by the state to prohibit them from using steam locomotives in the mine in McDowell county owned and operated by that company. Several months ago the state mining department attempted to prohibit the use of steam locomotives in mines because of the danger to the health and safety of the men. The Turkey Gap Coal and Coke Company was charged with the offense and while they were awaiting a hearing before Mayor Epling a writ of prohibition was secured by the coal company restraining the mayor from trying the case on the ground that he was without jurisdiction and the rule was made returnable in February.
    The state mining department then instituted proceedings before Mayor Epling of Keystone, using a warrant in which the offense was charged as being committed on another day. Judge Johnston, of this city, represented the company and the judgment of the mayor was against the mining department.
    [Alex Schust tells me that some mines used steam storage locomotives charged from a stationary steam plant, but others did use coal-fired locomotives, such as this case obviously involved. Even the most rabid steam locomotive fan should have second thoughts about the operation of coal-fired steam locomotives in a coal mine.]
    Gordon Hamilton
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    WoW....I would certainly not believe this practice was common...But back then, it was a kind of "anything goes" attitude, and everyone else can just take a flying leap....
  3. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Back in those days mine owners did as they would because they had the power and they knew how to use it to their full advantage...This power extended to the use of military force when needed against miners trying to organize or on strike.

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