Coal Towers - Coaling Stations for Railroad/Railway

Steam Locomotives   Circa 1908 - 1915

Chicago And Northwestern Railway Council Bluffs Iowa Station

The list below is of images and coal tower pages, with photos, diagrams, and text that was contained in bulletins, from Roberts and Schaefer Co. of Chicago. The towers were engineered and constructed circa 1908 -1912, and the photographs were taken during construction or shortly thereafter.

There are fewer and fewer surviving railroad  "Steam Locomotive Era" structures remaining today, as they are regularly being demolished. Very few of the wooden coal towers have survived, since they were relatively easy to raze and dismantle. Today the concrete structures are being removed as they are deemed to be hazardous, unsafe or the site they are on is developed for other uses.  


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Currently (July 2004) I have begun adding jpg images of railroad coal towers and will be adding the text of the bulletins as time allows. I would also be interested in adding other old railroad structures. If you have images and information you would like added to the site, please email me in regard to permissions necessary etc. If you have a related site let me know if you would like me to add a link to your site or a site that you feel is a good one regarding the subject of railroad structures and history.

All content is copyrighted, but it is fine to download images etc. for personal use and nonprofit organizations. 
For information used on a web site, I would like, that the following be added ("Permission Granted to use" Plus URL:

If something is to be used commercially, a minimal $5.00 per item fee is required. Please use the donations button below when using PayPal, or address at the bottom of the page, if mailing.

I am always interested in quantities of vintage paper - ephemera, on many subjects. If you have any you would possibly like to sell, please email me with a brief description.

100 ton STEEL RR coaling tower diagram .html

Honey Pot / Nanticoke Pennsylvania -- Pennsylvania Rail Road PRR

Modern  Coaling  Towers  Circa 1912


Atchison Topeka And Santa Fe Railway Baring Mo Station .html

Chicago, Peoria And St Louis Railway Lock Haven Ill Station .htm

Chicago And Alton Railroad Company Springfield Ill Station .html
Greensburg, Indiana Coal Tower - Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago
and St. Louis Railway Company CCC & St. L 1911

Groveland, New York - Delaware Lackawanna Western Station 1910

Chicago And Eastern Illinois Railroad Mitchell Ill Station .JPG  

Chicago And Northwestern Railway Council Bluffs Iowa Station .JPG
Chicago And Northwestern Railway Kaukauna Wis Station .JPG
Cincinnati New Orleans And Texas Pacific Railway Stearns, Ky Station .JPG
Cleveland, Cincinnati Chicago And St Louis Railway Station DelmarInd .JPG
Coaling Station El Reno Oklahoma Detail .JPG
Counterbalanced Bucket Type Coaling Station .JPG
Delaware Lackawanna Western Station Groveland NY .JPG
Gorham Ill RR coaling tower .html
Greensburg coaling tower  .JPG
Indianapolis Union Railway Indianapolis Ind Station .JPG
Kansas City And Southern Railroad Amsterdam Mo Station .JPG
Modern Locomotive Coaling Stations Roberts And Schaefer Co .JPG
Modern Locomotive Coaling Stations Roberts And Schaefer Co 2 .JPG
New York Central And Hudson River Railroad Co Station .JPG
New York Central And Hudson River Railroad Co Station 2 .JPG
Northumberland coaling tower front view .JPG
Oregon Short Line RR Glenns Ferry Idaho Station .JPG
Pennsylvania Lines Chicago Ill Station .JPG
Pennsylvania Lines Cincinnati Ohio Station .JPG
Pennsylvania RR Nescopeck Pennsylvania Station .JPG
Pennsylvania RR Nescopeck Pennsylvania Station 3 .JPG
Pennsylvania Railroad Honey Pot Pa Station .JPG
Pennsylvania Railroad Nescopeck Pa Station .JPG
Rutland Railroad Rutland Vt Station .JPG
St Louis And San Francisco Railway Fort Scott Kansas Station .JPG
St Louis Iron Mountain And Southern Railway Gorham Ill Station .JPG
St Louis Iron Mountain And Southern Ry Station Crane Mo .JPG
St Louis Transfer Railway St Louis Station .JPG
Stearns Ky .JPG
Vandalia Railroad Terre Haute Ind Station .JPG
Western Maryland Railroad Elkins WVa Station .JPG
Crane Missouri Coaling Station .JPG
    Coaling stations/towers were designed to fuel steam locomotives.  They came in all sizes and shapes.  Some were behemoth structures, while others consisted of a pile of coal, and a power shovel along a sidetrack. In the 19th and early 20th century, coaling stations were an integral part of every railroad. There were numerous coal stations; most towns with locally based locomotives had some type of coal facility.  There were also coaling stations located at intervals along routes, so that locomotives of through trains could fill up quickly, and maintain their schedules. Some were combined with water and sand holding structures. The introduction of diesel locomotives, led to the replacement or abandonment of these structures, and the use of  smaller overhead tanks holding diesel fuel.

    See Railroadiana For Auction at Ebay




"We are always in advance of other engineers when it comes to improvements in the handling of coal... We claim the credit of promoting and bringing to its high point of efficiency, the Holmen or Balanced Bucket Type of Locomotive Coaling Station..."

Roberts and Schaefer Co. 
Consulting Engineers and Contractors
Old Colony Building
Chicago, U.S.A.


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