Full Throttle

FT-COL8 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-COL8 Blue Coal Collector Set includes four 33' 2-bay offset-side hoppers, each lettered for a different road:

  • Central Railroad of New Jersey CNJ 10032
  • Delaware, Lackawanna & Western DLW 81468
  • New Haven NH 121247
  • Reading RDG 82155

FT-COL8B includes the following cars:

  • Central Railroad of New Jersey CNJ 10036
  • Reading RDG 82157
  • New Haven NH 51249
  • Delaware, Lackawanna & Western DLW 81464

FT-COL8C includes the following cars:

  • Central Railroad of New Jersey CNJ 10034
  • Reading RDG 82159
  • New Haven NH 51245
  • Delaware, Lackawanna & Western DLW 81466


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

Copyright 2010-2022 by William Dean Wright. All Rights Reserved.