CSX Using Distributed Power on Coal Trains

CSX is now routinely using distributed motive power on unit coal trains in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

The carrier has tested mid-train technology on the former Chesapeake & Ohio route in the past two years, running a few trains of more than 200 cars.

The norm has been unit trains of 110 or 150 cars, but with distributed power the trains can be up to 220 cars in length and need one crew. The longer trains sometimes exceed 30,000 tons.

The trains originate at mines in the Appalachian Mountains and operate to export facilities near Newport News, Virginia.

As part of its shift to the precision scheduled railroading model, CSX is running fewer and longer trains in an effort to cut labor and equipment costs. The railroad is operating with fewer locomotives than it has in the past.

Trains magazine reported that it not clear if the use of distributed power will continue, but cited unnamed sources said to be familiar with the operation as saying that crews are being trained in the use of distributed power.

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