The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is taking comment until Feb. 1 on an environmental review that finds no issues with a CSX Transportation abandonment of a line of railroad in Grant County, West Virginia.
The rail line proposed for abandonment extends 0.66 miles on the Mt. Storm Railroad Track from milepost BUA 15.72 to milepost BUA 16.38. The line is owned by Virginia Electric and Power Co. (VEPCO) and leased by CSXT. The line leads to VEPCO’s Mt. Storm coal-fired power plant.
“VEPCO and CSXT have agreed to amend the lease to exclude the Line so that VEPCO may construct and operate a new coal yard and rapid coal dumper,” said a Jan. 15 board notice. “CSXT is seeking to abandon the Line for three reasons: first, to terminate its lease on the Line; second, to terminate CSXT’s common carrier operation over the Line; and third, to allow VEPCO to use the Line without a common carrier obligation. … According to CSXT, if the Board approves this petition, CSXT would reclassify the Line as yard track for VEPCO’s use; CSXT would not salvage the Line.” Salvage would mean tearing it out.
According to CSXT, VEPCO is the only shipper served on the line and would continue to be served by CSXT if the proposed abandonment is approved and the line is converted to industry track. Accordingly, the proposed abandonment would not adversely impact the development, use and transportation of energy resources or recyclable commodities; transportation of ozone-depleting materials; or result in the diversion of rail traffic to truck traffic that could result in significant impacts to air quality or the local transportation network.
The Mt. Storm power plant takes coal from a number of mines in the region, with U.S. Energy Information Administration data showing deliveries in 2015 from sources like the Tygart #1 mine through Arch Coal Sales, the Mettiki operations of Alliance Coal and the Taylor operation of Vindex Energy.