Train Derailment & Transloading Coal – “7000 tons and what do you get”

   Written by on August 29, 2013 at 10:51 am


Last week the Buckingham Branch Railroad had a coal car derailment on the rail line between Finneywood and Lenhart Roads near Chase City. The Dominion Virginia Power plant in Clarkesville had a shipment of 77 train cars of coal in route from western Virginia. The coal is shipped via Norfolk Southern Railroad to Burkeville and then transported by Buckingham Branch Railroad to the power plant. With August being one of the peak seasons for the power plant the coal needed to be delivered. As the train cars were being stored in Keysville a truck arrived with a small track-hoe equipped with a custom designed, patented system that allows it to be operated on the top of the railcars. The track-hoe arrived on a flatbed truck along with a long ramp. The track-hoe was offloaded and then used to pick up the ramp and place it on the back of a rail car. It then climbed the ramp to the top of the car. Shortly several dozen tandem dump trucks belonging to CWT Trucking, J.R. Tharpe Trucking and Thompson Trucking arrived. Thomas Hancock machine operator for Transloading Services of Roanoke says it takes him 6 minutes to load a tandem dump truck and that there are 4.5 loads to the car. This means approximately10 trucks can be loaded per hour resulting in approximately 350 truck loads for the 77 car train. Logistically 20 to 25 trucks are required for continuous operation. With a 45 minute to an hour drive time, as the 10th truck is being loaded the first truck would be unloading at the power plant. As the 20th truck is being loaded the first truck will be returning to rejoin the queue. The off-loading will be completed on Thursday, August 29, and the repairs to the track are expected to be completed soon.

Editor’s Note: For those unfamiliar with Tennessee Ernie Ford’s classic song, we’ve included a video link above to our favorite rendition.

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