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Rail News: Mechanical

CSXT's car shops in overdrive to increase coal hopper supply


To keep up with demand for 30,000 carloads of coal each week, CSX Transportation workers are rehabilitating coal hoppers as quickly as the railroad can lease more cars. Domestic coal demand is being driven by declining utility stockpiles, while overseas demand has risen because of China's growing economy and other favorable export conditions.

The Class I's Raceland, Ky., car shop recently completed a 300-car order in less than three months, helping CSXT get closer to its 2004 goal of rehabilitating more than 3,000 100- to 118-ton steel and aluminum coal cars.

"We are striving to keep up with demand to maintain coal stockpile levels," said Chris Jenkins, CSXT vice president of coal and automotive, in a prepared statement.

Crews have been patching the sides of open-top hoppers or installing new sides, and repairing hopper chutes. Workers at the Raceland shop — which rehabilitates 24 cars per day — also are repairing coil steel cars and open-top hoppers for other commodities.

In addition to leasing and rehabilitating cars, CSXT — similar to other U.S. Class Is — has been acquiring locomotives, and hiring and training train and engine-service crews to meet overall traffic demand, which has been increasing all year, according to Association of American Railroads data.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/21/2004