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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Quick car turnaround helps NS bag utility's coal business

In August, Norfolk Southern Railway began moving coal to First Energy Corp.'s Stratton, Ohio, power plant — a facility on the railroad's line that formerly received coal solely by barge and truck.

Earlier this year, First Energy began exploring transportation options because the company couldn't receive certain types of coal by barge, according to NS' monthly newsletter.

To garner the business, NS coordinated a quick-turnaround delivery plan, and designed and constructed tracks to serve the utility's new rapid-discharge rail unloading facility.

"We were able to help First Energy develop a state-of-the-art facility that gives it many more options for receiving inbound coal," said NS Director, Utility Coal North Doug Evans.

Now, the railroad moves coal from a southwestern Pennsylvania mine to the Stratton plant using First Energy's train set comprising 130 rapid-discharge cars. Trains are unloaded in less than four hours, then return to the mine.

NS, which has been averaging between 12 and 14 trains per month, plans to move 20,000 carloads of coal to Stratton each year, said Evans.

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More News from 11/11/2002