N&W and VGN in 1912--Coal volume

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Jun 3 20:11:25 EDT 2012

"Billion Dollar Coalfield," available from NWHS Commissary has a sidebar on
page 9 discussing coal for the Panama Canal. Pocahontas Consolidated
Collieries Co. (predecessor to Pocahontas Fuel Company) was awarded a
contract in April 1911 to be the sole supplier of 550,000 tons of coal to be
used in the construction of the Panama Canal. The contract was amended was
amended in April 1912 for the Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Co to be
the sole supplier to the completion of the Panama Canal. Coal from the
Pocahontas Coalfield was so highly thought of that when the "History of the
Panama Canal" written in 1915, two pages were devoted to discussing
Pocahontas coal. In 1923 the Pocahontas Fuel Co. was still supplying coal to
the Panama Canal from its mines in Maybeury, Switchback, Pocahontas and

When the Panama Canal was built it was built with steam powered shovels,
dredges, trains, etc and they all used coal to fire the boilers. Coaling
stations were also established to refuel ships. The last of the US Navy
coaling stations were not shut down until about 1930 even though the Navy
began converting its ships to fuel oil in 1910.

Alex Schust

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Subject: N&W and VGN in 1912--Coal volume

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Sun., May 12, 1912



Coal Shipping Agencies That Handle Tons By the Million




Many Selling Agencies, Among Them Local concerns, Have Made Application For
Coal Station Permits on the Panama Canal



[The initial part of this rather lengthy article lists coal agencies and
coal companies that sell over a million tons of coal a year, and it predicts
a big increase in business as a result of the upcoming opening of the Panama
Canal, apparently because of expected sales of bunker coal to the ships
plying the Canal. Only a short portion of the article is reproduced below.]

To meet the increased demand for coal at tidewater, the Norfolk and
Western is building a big new pier [Pier No. 4] while the Chesapeake and
Ohio is going to build a million dollar pier. In addition to these the
Virginian Railway already has a pier which will handle coal faster than it
can be shipped and faster than either the Norfolk and Western or the
Chesapeake and Ohio can, with the result that the port of Norfolk will be
well provided with coal shipping facilities.


Gordon Hamilton

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