Woodpile Wonder

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by TrainClown, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    So I was thinking about my layout. Someone said to me "That's a good place for the coaling tower." And it got me to thinking. My layout is going to be turn of the century and there will be not a coaling tower in sight.

    So my question is. How did they deliver wood to the old wood burning engines? Was it just in a pile and loaded by hand? Or was there a system?

    What was the system?

    Someone please help :D

    TrainClown :wave:
  2. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Stacked by hand...

    Hey Funny FerroEquinoligist,

    A small woodshed would (Wood?) be in order....

    One of the books that I have shows a south asian railroad that uses wood burners, and the wood lot is a mountian of cut-to-size mahogany. Labour is cheap, so they hand load it.

    It depends on the enginuity of the railroad, and its finances...

    You could put the woodshed on stilts, so that the fireman can drop the wood into the tender, instead of having to throw/carry wood up from the ground.

    You could also add a hoist that could lift a whole bundle of wood into the tender.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    How much wood would a woodshed shed when a wood burner sheds its wood? ;)

  4. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Actually, by 1900, there weren't many U.S. roads still burning wood. If you go back to the 70's and 80's though, many western roads still burned wood. In all the photos I've seen, it appears that the tenders were in fact loaded by hand. Usually from great woodpiles near the turntable, and from piles located along the right of way. In some cases, the wood was stacked on raised platforms, I guess so the pieces wouldn't have to be thrown so high.

    This, by the way, was a good source of income for local farmers who contracted with the railroads to deliver wood. And I suppose cheap labor was used to toss the wood up to the tender --- although some roads actually had more than one fireman in the cab so those guys probably loaded their own.

  5. belg

    belg Member

    I once saw an earthen ramp built up to deliver coal, I would think since this would have been an economical way to get it high enough to throw it into the tenders.

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you can see the movies The Great Locomotive Chase (Disney version) or The General (Buster Keaton), I think there are pictures of wooding up in them. I'll have to go down and put it in the video ...
    I'm pretty sure there were just sheds and they had to put it up by hand.
  7. pjb

    pjb Member


    The last mainline wood burning railroad was LIVE OAK, PERRY, & GULF ; that had wood burning pacifics hauling passenger trains through the Great Depression and into WW 2 . I believe service cutbacks led to self-propelled motor cars , through the end of passenger service , but the steam freighters soldiered on burning wood. Some were converted to oil, before they died. You can GoogleUp a comprehensive website for them , and there is at least one book on the road.

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