JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – During a nine-day blitz, CSX suspended operations on a key rail line from Elkhorn City, Ky., to Laurens, S.C., while hundreds of railroad employees performed track upgrades, highway-rail crossing improvements and bridge and tunnel repairs.
The engineering “Jamboree,” which ran from June 30 through July 8, enabled CSX to complete in nine days what would take two months if train operations were not rerouted. This year’s Jamboree was the largest of several such events the railroad has held across its 23,000-mile rail network since 1999, and materials have been pre-staged during the past six months.
“Jamborees have been a highly successful way of completing a large amount of work in a short period of time,” said Tom Schmidt, vice president-engineering at CSX. “Rather than work in brief windows between train movements, we’re able to have the rail line to ourselves until the work is finished. That makes for a safer work environment and minimizes disruptions for our customers and for the communities through which we operate.”
As a key transportation artery in the Southeast, the line typically handles more than 25 trains per day. CSX began rerouting train traffic off the line June 28, and operations were back to normal by July 9.
While some trains will be re-routed, the overall effect was minimized by the traditional miners’ summer vacation in late June and early July, and by extensive coordination with shippers and receivers that included early shipments of coal, merchandise and intermodal freight that preceded the Jamboree.
Some coal shipments were routed to Corbin, Ky., and down through Atlanta. Others went via Russell, Ky., to Richmond, Va., and south over CSXT’s I-95 corridor.
For the 2003 Jamboree, 17 large tie and rail crews refurbished track segments, including 16 track miles of new rail and the replacement of 172,000 crossties. In addition, crews will repair four bridges and 18 tunnels.
Also, 153 highway-rail crossings along the line were improved.
Norfolk Southern also is helping with some merchandise and intermodal traffic reroutes over its lines between Charlotte, N.C., and Spartanburg, S.C., and Knoxville and Kingsport, Tenn. The railroad also has contacted local officials to help ensure that the public knows the project is underway.
By The Numbers: CSX’s Track Project June 30-July 8
- Number of employees working on the project: 1,200+
- Number of pieces of equipment: 600
- Rail spikes used: 2,250,000Crossties replaced: 172,000
- Average number of crossties replaced per day: 22,000
- Rail replaced: 16 track miles
- Bridges rebuilt/repaired: 4
- Tunnels repaired: 18
- Highway-rail grade crossings reworked: 153
- Average number of trains ordinarily operating in this corridor over eight days: 200