Norfolk Southern completes major upgrade of export coal facility
NORFOLK, Va., Nov. 29, 2012
NORFOLK, Va., Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) has
completed a major upgrade to its Lamberts Point export coal transload facility
in Norfolk, positioning it to remain the largest and fastest coal transload
facility in the Northern Hemisphere. More commonly known simply as Pier 6, the
facility transfers coal hauled by train from Appalachian coal fields to ships
bound for world markets.
"This investment reflects our belief in the long-term prospects for the global
coal market and Norfolk Southern's continuing pivotal role in that market,"
said Danny Smith, NS senior vice president-energy and property. "This helps
assure that we will remain the premier link to the global market place for
high grade metallurgical and thermal coals alike."
The $18-million upgrade, completed on schedule over a 90-day period beginning
in August, involved major overhauls of the facility's dumper system, which
transfers coal from rail cars to a conveyor system, and its two loaders,
massive rolling structures that deliver the coal to the ships.
The dumper system consists of two pairs of dumpers, each pair handling two
coal cars at a time, that rotate the cars 135 degrees and dump their contents
into a conveyor system that transports the coal to the pier. The upgrade
consisted of replacing the structural steel that supports the north set of
dumpers and the hopper bins that funnel the coal onto the conveyor belts. The
dumpers, at 500,000 pounds each, were lifted by cranes and placed on the
ground. While the steel support structure was being replaced, the dumpers also
received a complete electrical and mechanical overhaul. The south set of
dumpers will receive the same upgrade in the spring of 2013.
New solid-state drives replaced the generator sets on the north dumper car
pushers, which push loaded coal cars into position to be hoisted up onto the
Concurrently with the dumper overhaul, both loaders received complete
electrical overhauls, including replacement of the main generator sets with
solid-state drives and new power transformers and control and monitoring
systems. The loaders received other significant overhauls, including a new
braking system for their numerous moving parts.
The upgrades coincide with the 50th anniversary of Pier 6, which began
operations on one loader in December 1962. The second loader came on line in
the Spring of 1963. Norfolk Southern is planning an anniversary celebration in
Pier 6 has an annual throughput capacity of 36 million tons of coal. With both
sets of dumpers and both loaders operating, Pier 6 can handle up to 8,000 tons
of coal per hour. It takes an average of 30 hours to load one ship with a
typical load of 80,000 tons. In January 2012, Pier 6 loaded a record
159,941.45 net tons of coal onto a ship bound for China, completing the job in
less than 48 hours.
Much of the coal handled by Pier 6 is metallurgical coal, prized worldwide by
steel manufacturers for its high-BTU and low volatile content, but has the
capacity and capability of trans-loading thermal coal to the world's coal
fired power plants as well.
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation's premier transportation
companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately
20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every
major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient
connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most
extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal
and industrial products.
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