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 Post subject: Reading's coal docks
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:35 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 3:43 pm
Posts: 925
Location: Western PA
the Reading RR was heavily vested in the anthracite coal trade and two remnants remain at its ends as testaments to this fact. coal docks, used for transferring coal from railcar to barges and ships can still be seen in Port Richmond (Philadelphia), PA (on the Delaware River) and in Port Reading, NJ (on the Arthur Kill).

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we’ll start with port reading, the better-preserved of the two…

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the steel structure is referred to as a McMyler coal dumper. this one was built in 1917 and was one of EIGHT that existed in the NYC Harbor area.

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this device was powered by cable and pushed railcars full of coal up the dock slope.

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view down the slope. in the background you can see where the powerplant that supplied steam to power the machinery on the dock once stood. there were also facilities for defrosting frozen coal in the railcars…

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at the top of the slope…

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here, the railcar (hopper, open on the top) would be pushed against the steel wall that was once lined with wood, on the right…

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the whole platform would then be elevated and rotated, pouring the coal from the top of the railcar into…

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the funnel-like portion on the left. the “head” would then be tipped down and be extended into the hold of the barge/ship. the coal would flow thru it with the help of gravity. the head would direct the flow, with the guidance of the operator controlling it by cables. it was necessary to place the coal gently into the hold to prevent breakage.

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the engines that powered all of the cables on the structure are located below…

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the empty railcar was then lowered back to its initial position and allowed to roll further down the dock.

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(notice here that this portion of the wooden structure was damaged by fire...) the railcar would go thru a special switch, up the roller-coaster-like ramp at the end, where it would stop and change direction. Rolling the opposite way, the switch would send it to…

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a side track sloping back towards shore and into the railyard.

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now we jump 70 miles south to Port Richmond, PA…

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here we see the “dumper” portion is gone but the rest of the structure remains…

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this dock was made entirely of concrete and was built in 1923. the port reading dock was built of timber in 1917, and as we have seen, was prone to fire… one possibility for the difference in materials is the water-the Delaware River at this point is fresh water, where the Arthur Kill is salt water.

also notice that this cement structure is much taller overall, than the wooden pier in port reading. it's possible that a different method of emptying the railcars was used here.

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where the steel dumping structure used to stand.

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the ground between the pillars is black-coal dust litters the pier and the yard, inches thick in places.

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ramp at end of pier to send empties back towards the shore.

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“1923” and the Reading diamond cast in the cement. These piers serve as substantial, if forgotten, reminders of the one-time dominance of this form of energy….

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 4:38 pm
Posts: 96
Location: NJ
Some of our club members visited the Port Reading McMyler this week. Pics at:

http://www.gardenstatecentral.com/portreading02-08/portreading02-08.html

Rob

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