With first train loaded, Allegheny Metallurgical is full steam ahead

Volga, W.Va. – Allegheny Metallurgical recently loaded its first train with coal, signaling a major step in the next phase of operations for the metallurgical coal mining company located in Barbour County, West Virginia.

Loading of the 100-car train started at 11:15 a.m. on February 8 and at 5:30 p.m. that same evening, the train left with a weight of 11,609 short tons of coal where it then headed to the Port of Baltimore.

“We have partnered with the A&O Railroad out of Buckhannon and CSX to move our product to customers across the United States or to our port facilities to then be transported around the world,” stated Keith Hainer, president of Allegheny Metallurgical.

Allegheny Metallurgical has designed a rail track and material handling system that allows the loading process to occur in less than four hours, reducing disruptions to the flow of traffic on Route 119 in Barbour County.

“The rail loop system that we have established is unique in West Virginia,” Hainer explained. “This allows a 130-car train to cross Route 119 without having to stop. This increases the efficiency of filling the train cars and keeps traffic interruptions to a minimum so we aren’t disrupting commuters, buses, and other travelers along the road.”

A sidetrack allows a 130-car train to be separated into two sections once on the property. The front section of the train is then backed down the sidetrack, pulled through the system, loaded, and then pushed back down the sidetrack to storage. The back half of the train is then pulled up, loaded, and coupled to the front of the first loaded split. Once fully loaded, the entire train is pulled around the loop and out to the main rail.

“We have explored many options to move this product in the safest manner, with the least amount of impact, and the best value, and rail meets all of those criteria,” said Hainer.

A&O Railroad brought a test train to the site on January 18th so that the track installation and switches would be tested. This test was also used to certify the reinstated Route 119 crossed to ensure safe use.

At full production, the coal company plans to move around 258,000 short tons of metallurgical coal a month. Metallurgical coal is used in the steel-making process. Nearly two billion tons of steel were produced in 2022.

More than half a billion dollars are being invested in the metallurgical coal company’s operations, which will result in an estimated $1.56 billion in total revenue to West Virginia. When the site in Volga, Barbour County is in full operation, it will employ more than 450 individuals.

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