Coal Traffic through Farm

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Fri Aug 20 16:21:14 EDT 2021

Westbound coal through Portsmouth was primarily metallurgical coal (for coke) destined for steel mills in Pittsburgh (via barge) and Chicago (via rail) and other Great Lakes facilities.  Eastbound coal through Bluefield was primarily steam coal headed for power plants in the South and Northeast.  Since there were mines producing each kind of coal located throughout West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky, it was inevitable that some of each would pass in opposite directions on the way to market.

Glenn Fisher
Cornwall, PA

08/20/2021 12:26 PM NW Mailing List via NW-Mailing-List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:

>     Hi all. The article on Farm in the last edition of The Arrow - along with the “High Noon” series - has done a good job describing how complex coal traffic and operations were. 
>     Time for a naive question. The Farm article talks about eastbound coal going uphill toward Eckman, with the same crews bringing westbound coal back down to Farm and beyond.
>     It may have been stated in the Pocohantas Division “High Noon” article, but what was the purpose of loaded coal crossing paths? I assume different characteristics for different markets?
>     Matt Goodman
>     Columbus, Ohio, US
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