Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who Makes The Coal Roll?

...SJRPP does, is who. (Catch the reference? Clues follow.)

Wiki-wandering, I was struck by the extensive water access in and around Jacksonville, Florida and points South; the First Coast has all manner of coast to it. My attention was drawn to a big freight-type terminal on an island and I idly followed the roads and rails and -- hey, what's that thing? Light rail? Not exactly.

It runs from NW to SE in the linked view, paralleling roads and rails; zoom out and have a look. I even had a Street View look where it crossed a road and wasn't entirely sure. (Bear with, I don't know if that'll work.)

Followed to the end, it was pretty obvious what it was carrying and further searching brought up a nice flyer about the installation it serves, and how: it's a 3.2-mile, fully-enclosed (what do the neighborhoods say?) conveyor belt for coal. Reading it is a reminder that we are still, on a fundamental level, living in the Age of Steam, the Age of Coal.

Who makes the coal roll? Techs and engineers, boilermen and steamfitters. Not the Technocrats, outside of fiction.

Gotta keep the lights on; gotta keep those air conditioners spinning! --Oh, and your electric (coal and steam powered) car charged up, too.

11 comments:

MerlinV12 said...

Yep. You'll find those around here, too. Ohio River coal country. From the minehead straight to the power plant prep area, to be turned straight into electricity. Not like Powder River Basin country, where you see miles-long trains carrying the coal to the fire.

Engineers UP !

Timmeehh said...

The future is thorium!

The Big Guy said...

St Johns River Power Park... I have lots of history there. I installed 30 or so 286s and 386 CAD stations (AutoCAD7 I think?) there back in 1986...

Even more better stuff in that area... Look a little north of there, just up New Berlin Rd about a mile and find the North Florida Gun Club- were we spend many a long afternoon shooting skeet and trap.

TBG
www.listen2unclejay.com

Roberta X said...

Thorium?

warlocketx said...

Uh huh. It was supposed to be nuclear. When they were putting together the rocket launch facilities at Canaveral, the proto-NASA people thought it would be cool to have a spaceport run on nuclear power.

No, said the Dean of the Senate. If Florida got rockets, they would by God get their electrons from West Virginia. They don't, of course, but coal, like oil, is fungible.

Regards,
Ric

og said...

When I was taking my machinist apprenticeship, in the Cretaceous period, I worked in a coke plant.

No, not the stuff you drink, nor the once-related stuff you jam up your nose with rolled up $100 bills, but the black stuff mostly composed of carbon, refined by heat from coal. Coal was all around you, and when you went on vacation, it took the first three days of schnotting to get all the black gunk out of your sinuses.

Having spent a lot of time dealing with coal handling equipment, I have a go0od deal of respect for those who still do. And I'm glad I don't anymore.

Robin said...

The Obama admin is working to stop coal right now.

With no concern for how we'll actually pump all that mystery electricity in the grid if they succeed.

LabRat said...

So, uh.

I'm thinking the reference is Heinlein (I think?) short story, "Who makes the roads roll"?

Title/author not remembered in detail, but story is, particularly the bit about the poor woman who met the road just as everything stopped...

Roberta X said...

It's an evocative few lines, isn't it? That whole description of what happens as the high-speed strip shuts down is some of Heinlein's best work.

The Old Man said...

I DO love the RAH references from you, young lady. Makes me feel relevant....

Stretch said...

Virginia takes coal very seriously.
And when the Roads stop rolling? We found out in December. http://www.joc.com/rail-intermodal/norfolk-southern-coal-port-returns-normal
Yup, we ship coal from Virginia, the western counties, TN, KY and even southern Ohio out of Norfolk to the world.