NS completes work on major coal route

COAL trains in Northern Appalachia can now run more smoothly with the completion of a massive $US22.6 million improvements project by coal rail shipper Norfolk Southern in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.
NS completes work on major coal route NS completes work on major coal route NS completes work on major coal route NS completes work on major coal route NS completes work on major coal route

Courtesy Norfolk Southern.

Donna Schmidt

The company said Wednesday that the project included track, bridge and signal work to the Mon Line, an 85-mile route that travels south through Pittsburgh to five coal mines in Washington and Greene counties, Pennsylvania, and Marion and Monongalia counties in West Virginia.

Specifically, about 400 NS workers from across the company’s 22-state system installed 26,904 ties and 75,000 tons of ballast; laid 13 miles of new rail; resurfaced 110mi of rail; added 961 new bridge ties; replaced 22 culverts and cleaned 110; and upgraded 40 road crossings.

Crews also replaced a retaining wall and a 140-foot timber bridge with a ballast deck over the Pigeon Creek in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and new signals were placed in nearby West Brownsville as part of a rail yard expansion to efficiently manage 130-car coal trains.

The shipper said the project kicked off on June 24 and was in prime gear by June 29, with workers spending many days in the scorching summer heat over the course of the multi-week project.

A vast majority of operations in the region mine coal from the Pittsburgh 8 thermal seam, known as one of the nation’s most fruitful. The segment moved about 36.4 million tons of coal last year to electric utility plants as well as East Coast export terminals.

“Jobs, both railroad and non-railroad, depend on the vitality of the Mon Line," engineering vice president Mike Wheeler said.

“The work completed here will help keep this line safe and help us serve customers efficiently.”

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