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coalloads Coal Loads...

Here is a great project to make quick coal loads for your fleet of hopper cars.  It involves just foam, spray paint and real crushed coal.
Many plastic or plaster coal loads are offered at your local hobby shop, but I find this method to be more inexpensive and more enjoyable.

How to:
1.  Find a piece of foam.  I found dark grey which is perfect just in case some of the coal flakes off in the future.
2.  Trim with a pair of scissors to fit the car.  I start with a rough cut and trim it to fit.  It should be snug.
3.  Start trimming the top of the foam to shape.  Stop when you have trimmed a nice heap shape.  Coal loaded in the 70's was done by chute, truck dump and conveyor.  Most ended up with irregular piles.  Today flood loading lives a very destinctive ridge when the car is loaded.
4.  Paint the top of the coal load with black spray paint.  Be liberal with it.  You can't use too much.
5.  While the paint is still wet sprinkle on some Woodland Scenics Mine Run Coal.
6.  Allow to dry.  Put in your car.  Enjoy.

Below is my coal load before the top has been trimmed.  It is the shape and size to fit in the car.  Now just carefully trim the top to look like a heap of coal.

Below are three of my loads after being sprinkled with the coal.  Be sure to do this over a tray so you can easily collect the excess coal for future loads.

Below is a finished load.  I aim for a 10 inch heap, which was the normal amount of coal in a hopper in the Chessie Era.