Coal Mine

 
Overview
 
To the left is a postcard of a Wilkes-Barre coal mine which clearly shows the head frame on the right, the breaker on the left, and a conveyor connecting the two. It is one of many
terrific photos of northeast Pennsylvania coal mines that can be found on Capt'n Clint's Place.

I plan to model a colliery consisting of a breaker as its centerpiece, surrounded by a powerhouse, vertical shaft head frame and hoist house, fan house, water tower, and other miscellaneous structures in the town of West Coalton.

For the breaker, I will kitbash two Walthers New River Mining kits.  I plan to enclose the loading area and move the main conveyer to the side.  This conveyor will connect the hoist house to the mine.  Another conveyor will lead to a storage area next to the powerhouse.
 

Hoist House #1

This model represents the remains of the original hoist house at the anthracite mine.  The backstory for this model is that it was abandoned when a larger hoist at the mine was installed (Hoist House #2) to meet the needs for more capacity and a deeper mine.

I originally purchase the hoist machine from Rio Grande Models.  After receiving the model, I thought it was undersized for the mine.  So, I bought a second hoist kit from Western Scale Models.  I think this model was more appropriate for the mine and used it for Hoist House #2.  

I decided to use the Rio Grande Models kit as industrial scrap at the mine.  I took it a step further by building the remains of the foundation and flooring before adding other junk to the scene.  

I also used a product called "Pot Toppers" from Michael's as the weeds growing in the foundation seams.  This product is similar and cheaper than Silfor scenery products on the market.  You can see this product in the close-up.

Hoist House #2
 
The hoist house is made from modified DPM walls and Chooch stone walls.  The slate roof is scratchbuilt using shingles from Rusty Stumps.
 
The model received the following scores in the NMRA's merit award judging.  The model was submitted for jusging at the 2009 NMRA National Convention in Hartford, CT in the scratchbuilt structures category.
 
 Category

Possible 

 Division

 Region

 National

 Construction

40

 32

 

 34

 Detail

20

 19

 

 18

 Conformity

25

 22

 

 23

 Finish and Lettering

25

 24

 

 22

 Scratchbuilding

15

 15

 

 12

 Total

 125

 112

 

 109

 
The second photo shows the remaining two walls.  The reason for the extra pilasters on some walls is to carry the load of the cable on the sheaves.  Modifying the DPM walls allowed for the staggered openings for the cables and an entry door at gound level with windows above the belt line.
 
The reason the sheaves are at different heights is because the hoist machinery is a double drum.  And, each drum on the hoist has its cable wound the opposite from the other.  As a result, the cable comes off of one drum at the top while the other has the cable come off the drum at its bottom.
 
The underside of the roof has a complete truss system.  Nearly 400 individual pieces of styrene strip, angle, and sheet were used to construct this.  In addition, over 1400 rivets were used.
 
Details came from Rusty Stumps, Evergreen Hill Designs, Grandt Line, Durango Press, Alexander Scale Models, Funaro & Camerlengo, Master Creations, Tichy and River Dam Model Works.

The last photo shows a closeup of the hoist machine and steam engines.  Both  are from Western Scale Models.  The hoist kit comes with an electric motor.  I kitbashed the model by adding the steam engines to drive it.
 

Fan House
 
In 2006, I completed the fan house for the mine.   Fan houses are critical for any underground mining operations.  They exhaust gases from the mine in addition to providing fresh air for the miners.

My fan house is based on one built for the Dorrance Colliery, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  The black & white photos are from the HABS/HAER website. 
 
In the first photo, you can see the engine room on the left, the fan housing in the center, the air lock and airway to the right.
 
The fan house is my first structure entered in the NMRA's achievement program.  It earned 116 out of 125 merit poiints when judged at my division meeting, which I am very proud of!  In July 2006, the model won third place in the Off-Line Structures category at the NMRA's National Convention in Philadelphia, PA.  In October, 2006, the model also won first place in the Craftsman category for Structures at the NMRA Northeastern Regional convention in Parsippany, NJ.  At the same regional convention, I also received the New Modeler Award from the Sunrise Trail Division and the HUB award for the model with the second highest overall point score.
 
 Category

Possible 

 Division

 Region

 National

 Construction

40

 38

 30

 28

 Detail

20

 20

 16

 19

 Conformity

25

 25

 20

 23

 Finish and Lettering

25

 20

 23

 17

 Scratchbuilding

15

 13

 10

 12

 Total

 125

 116

 99

 99

  
This is the first structure I have super-detailed.  For the steam engine that drives the fan, I used a 250HP model that is produced by Laserkit in their American Model Builders line, shown in the photo.

 

 

Power House

This is the Edison Street Powerhouse kit produced by Magnuson Models.  It will serve as the powerhouse for the  anthracite coal mine.

Coal mines used a lot of power for the machines that ran above and below the surface.  Steam and electricity were used for driving these machines.  A powerhouse is a common structure on coal mine properties.