Detroit Edison Coal Trains: From Coal to Kilowatts

"As the king of rail commodities, coal is always a good subject for the rail enthusiast to study. This program looks at how the black stuff is moved to Detroit Edison power plants in southeast Michigan, where it comes from, and what's done with it when it get to its destination.

"The tape opens with a look at DE's Monroe plant, a behemoth that devours 28,000 tons of coal per day, most of which arrives by rail. Aerial views supplement ground shots, which focus on the arrival and unloading of trains. There are some close-up sequences of the rotary dumper, and a good look at the coal-storage operations. Seven railroads are involved in moving coal for DE, and the many scenes of trains feature a great variety of diesels, including DE's own GE U30C's in their blue-and-white livery that's reminiscent of EMD's demonstrator scheme.

"Next you visit the Bailey Mine in southwestern Pennsylvania, reached by the rugged but modern Manor Branch of the Monongahela Railway (now Conrail). Loading operations are on view at the mine, and you catch a train on the street trackage a Brownsville, Pa.

"A large portion of DE's coal comes from the Powder River Basin via Burlington Northern to Superior, Wis., where it is transferred to 1000-foot lake boats for the rest of the trip to Michigan. This side of the operation is covered with some dramatic footage of the transloading process at dawn, and detailed views of the loading apparatus and the boat's equipment.

"Anyone with an interest in the movement of coal by rail, or water, should find this tape worth a look." R.S.M. - Trains Magazine

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