A Modern Coal Unloading "Team Track"
Recently, I was in the Augusta, Georgia area for a family wedding. On one of the multiple trips to the airport, I noticed, what turned out to be a older hopper unloading facility connected to the CSX line. This unloading area has quite a few unique features. The trucks are loaded directly on the scale. The doors at the bottom of the holding hopper are controlled by compressed air. The compressor is mounted on the side of the hopper. The platform next to the cars has the back end of a small tractor mounted back hoe, to act as a car shaker. There is a small winch mounted on the ground to pull the cars over the dump area. This will be a future modeling project. From the looks of the spillage around the area, sand, coal, and cement have been unloaded here in the past. A photo of the unloading area is below.
While taking pictures, I saw a new unloading facility next to it. This new unloading facility was designed to handle coal. The unloading takes place from the top of the cars. In the photo below, two of the three unloaders are shown below.
The left most unloader uses a normal bucket, while the one on the right looks like it has a vacum attachment.
A side view of the back hoe with the vacum attachment is shown below.
Leading into this yard are four parallel tracks, each terminating with wheel stops. The left most two tracks each hold 16 cars, while those on the right hold 17 cars each, for a total of 66 cars.
When all but the last car under the back hoe has been unloaded, then the empties are ready for pickup. These back hoes sit on a loaded car until the next batch of cars arrive. The following picture shows the third unloader sitting on the loaded car.
The large two back hoes are left parked on last two loaded cars. These back hoes actually ride on top of the coal in the car, and not on the edges of the car. On the side of the tracks there are guides to try and keep the back hoes on top of the cars.
I was not arround during the unloading process, so I do not see how the back hoes get across to the second row of cars. It may just drive across with the guides pulled up.
When the truck are finished unloading, they are driven to the scale, and from there, on to the final user. The scale, office and a small bobcat for clean up are enclosed in a fence.
The following photo shows the rear of the unloading area. The track that crosses from left to right is the Augusta and Summerville Railroad (owned 50/50 by NS and CSX)that goes from downtown Augusta (6th Street) to the CXS yard (Charleston & Western Carolina, ACL, SCL, Family Lines, CSX) just south of Laney Walker Blvd. The left side of this crossing is owned by the Augusta and Summerville Railroad, and the right side is owned by the CSX. The other line goes to the Nixon yard (NS).
Augusta Yard (M.P. D-132.3) "The crossing is controlled by gate displaying "STOP" which does not have a normal position and which may be left as "last used." Trains and engines
must approach crossing prepared to stop unless the gate is set across conflicting route
and the track is clear." From the December 16, 1990 NS Georgia Division Employee Timetable.
This facility is located just across the street from the Old Central of Georgia freight depot which can be fouund on the SW corner of 6th Street and Walton Way. The old CofG line (now NS)is the one that runs parallel to 6th Street, and the other line that crosses it CSX (was ACL). This crossing is seen in the above two photos.
Below are two different maps that show this location. The first on is from an article in an older "Ties". This facility is located directly across the street from the Central of Georgia Freight depot.