At present, I have no Lionel original post-war coal to use in my grandson's 397 loader. We tried the Lionel coal tipple coal that I happened to have on hand but it doesn't want to play nice and move up the ramp. I even tried cutting the rounded pieces in half, but they still don't work. I saw some modern era Lionel coal on Evilbay, but if I recall it's cut up pieces of tubular plastic which I don't think will work either. I don't want to pay the prices some sellers are asking for original Lionel coal.
Are there any other readily available materials that could work ?