Built in 1917, this is the only remaining McMyler Coal Dumper left in the New York area. This one is in Port Reading NJ on the Arthur Kill. In a vast regional network of coal mines, breakers, railroads, and manufacturing hubs, these machines provided a vital link that helped fuel New York’s industrial age, transferring massive amounts of coal brought by rail from Pennsylvania and the Alleghenies into ships entering the harbor. A McMyler Dumper could unload a 72-ton car of coal every two and a half minutes, operating on a continuous loop for maximum efficiency.
McMyler Coal Dumper storied efficiency came to an abrupt halt in 1951, when a pier fire sent the machine crashing into the water. The largest components of the dumper were salvaged, and the rest was rebuilt using parts from comparable unloader purchased from another facility. Within four months, Big Mac was back to work. Reading Railroad was absorbed by Conrail in 1976, but Big Mac was still in service, unloading coal for the few power plants that still used this fuel. It was finally shuttered in 1983, and hasn’t moved since. The wooden kickback trestle that extends into the harbor has deteriorated greatly over the years. In 2011, the pan and chute have actually fallen off the tower, most likely due to the stress induced by the high winds of Hurricane Irene.
The rusted McMyler Coal Dumper remains anchored in place, though marred with graffiti and inhabited by a colony of aggressive Canada Geese. Though scrappers and vandals have made off with much of the equipment left inside the facility, a few larger items – including a pair of steam engines – are still visible inside one of the most interesting abandoned places in New Jersey. We prepared stunning photos of abandoned Port Reading’s McMyler Coal Dumper.