Full Throttle

FT-COL13 Blue Coal Hopper Set

What the heck is 'blue coal'?

Here's a condensed story... Anthracite is a dense, hard, shiny-black, smokeless, clean-burning coal mined in Pennsylvania and perfectly suited for home heating. The coal is crushed at facilities called breakers, where it's also sorted and loaded into railroad hopper cars. Sometimes the coal is sprayed as it tumbles down the chutes into the cars to help keep it flowing evenly and avoid breaking into smaller pieces. In the late 1920s, as a distinguishing feature and marketing ploy, the Glen Alden Coal Co. of Ashley, PA, sprayed the nuggets with a blue colorant at their huge, historic Huber Breaker. Thus 'blue coal' was born.

During the 30s and 40s, 'blue coal' was the sponsor of the popular early radio show The Shadow, starring detective Lamont Cranston (voiced by Orson Wells from 1937-1938), which helped to make 'blue coal' an enormously popular commodity for keeping warm in the cold winters of the burgeoning urban and rural areas of America's East Coastal States. Incidentally, 'blue coal' eventually saw competition in the form of 'red coal,' 'silver coal,' 'gold coal' and even 'pink coal'! And so it went, well after WWII and into the 50s, when natural gas and fuel oil eventually became more popular for domestic heating.

Full Throttle pays tribute to the inventive entrepreneurs of the anthracite industry with Z Scale models of "billboard hoppers" adorned with the colorful original 'blue coal' logo and representing several of the major rail lines that distributed this unique, ubiquitous product throughout the Northeastern US. (Roll over the image at left for a closer look at the beautiful printing on this model!)

The Full Throttle FT-COL13 Blue Coal Collector Set includes four 70-ton 3-bay offset-side hoppers, equipped with Full Throttle FT-100 Bettendorf trucks, metal wheels and knuckle couplers, each car lettered for a different road:

  • Central Railroad of Pennsylvania CRP 12046
  • Delaware & Hudson D&H 7066
  • Lehigh & New England LNE 18472
  • Reading RDG 40328


In compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008,
we must note that these products ARE NOT TOYS AND ARE NOT

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