Norfolk Southern has completed $22.6 million worth of track, bridge and signal improvements along its major coal line through Pennsylvania's Monongahela Valley.
The “Mon Line” extends 85 miles south from Pittsburgh to serve five coal mines in Washington, Greene, Marion and Monongalia counties. During 2012, nearly 36.4 million tons of coal moved over the line and were delivered to electric utility plants and east coast export terminals.
“Jobs, both railroad and non-railroad, depend on the vitality of the Mon Line,” said Mike Wheeler, NS’ vice president engineering. “The work completed here will help keep this line safe and help us serve customers efficiently.”
The annual maintenance blitz started with a partial shutdown of train traffic on June 24 before kicking into high gear with a full shutdown on June 29. NS crews labored through intense summer conditions, with some days seeing humidity at nearly 100 percent.
Some 400 Norfolk Southern employees from across NS’ 22-state system installed 26,904 ties and 75,000 tons of ballast; laid 13 miles of new rail; resurfaced another 110 miles of rail; added 961 new bridge ties; replaced 22 culverts and cleaned 110 and upgraded 40 road crossings. The crews also replaced a retaining wall and a 140-foot timber bridge with a ballast deck over the Pigeon Creek in Monongahela. The work required 60 work trains in all.