Safety Alert! – Balanced Car Loading

April 20, 2016

TO:  CSX Coal Producers 

RE: Safety Alert Reminder - Balanced Coal Loading

Please review and distribute this reminder to your employees that load rail cars, concerning how critically important it is to load coal in each end of the rail car, in addition to the middle.

Recently CSX has seen an increase in cars that have not been properly loaded at the mine. In the end of each car, is a sensor device which determines the proper amount of braking that needs to be applied to each individual car in a train. When a train needs to slow down or stop, each individual car's brakes are applied in order to accomplish this task. By loading one end of the railcar heavy and the other end light, we are creating an environment which could lead to a derailment as the sensors on the light loaded end 'sense' an empty train and may not apply enough 'braking' to stop the train or worse may apply to much to pressure to the heavy end.

The two links in this letter show a photo example of one car of an entire train that had to be stopped, in order to re-balance their coal load (at Shipper's expense), before the train could move safely to destination. The first photograph clearly shows only the center of the car is loaded. The second photograph shows that the rail car sensor has no coal (weight) loaded on top of it. Thus when the train's air brakes are applied, the sensor applies the brake as an empty car instead of as a loaded car. When this happens, dire consequences can occur!

Also included is a link which shows a diagram of a load sensor and one which has an excerpt from the AAR Loading Rules, Section 2 Part 1 for loading of coal, coke and gondola cars

We would ask that when larger cars, such as the one depicted below, are brought to your load out, please lower the coal loading chute and distribute the coal volume as evenly as possible, from end to end of the car.

If you have any questions please contact Kevin Kruse or the undersigned in CSX Coal Development at 859-252-8553 or 859-252-7049.

John A. Voelker
Coal Development