Hard Coal and Coal Cars: Hauling Anthracite on the New York, Ontario & Western Railway

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University of Scranton Press, 2006 - History - 210 pages
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From 1880 through the 1950s, the New York, Ontario & Western Railway hauled coal from the rich anthracite deposits of eastern Pennsylvania to homes throughout the eastern United States and Canada. In Hard Coal and Coal Cars, Martin Robert Karig chronicles the rise and fall of the O & W’s coal hauling operation in a richly illustrated work that interweaves economic, industrial, and technological history. 

Karig opens his history with the intense competition for the rights to eastern Pennsylvania’s lucrative coal-hauling business. He then details the technological developments that transformed coal cars from wooden carts carrying just a few hundred pounds to steel hoppers hauling several tons. Bringing the story into the twentieth century, Karig explains how the O & W’s ownership ultimately abandoned the coal-hauling business in the 1950s as coal was supplanted by more reliable and convenient home heating fuels. 

Rich with the romance of the railroad and crucial to any understanding of Pennsylvania history, Hard Coal and Coal Cars will be the definitive book on a fascinating chapter of American life.

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Chapter 2 The Anthracite Operations of the New York Ontario Western Ry
Chapter 3 A Brief History of Coal Cars
Chapter 4 Appliances and Accessories for Coal Cars

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About the author (2006)

Martin Robert Karig III lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and serves as a docent at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. His grandfather was a fireman and engineer on the O & W.

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