U.S. Steel closing Gary Works coke plant

U.S. Steel plans to close its Gary Works coke plant in May, displacing about 300 workers. It will mark the end of a coke-making era at the steel plant that once operated three coke batteries.

U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone said Thursday the company notified United Steelworkers of America officials on Wednesday of the permanent shutdown. She said it was a strategic decision based on market conditions and the company’s long-term coke strategy.

U.S. Steel applied for a permit last year to construct an electric arc furnace at its Fairfield Works plant in Birmingham, Ala., to replace an existing blast furnace. U.S. Steel officials say the electric arc furnace will improve its operations so it can adapt to global demand, while reducing its capital spending and maintenance costs related to running a blast furnace.

Made from crushed coal cooked at extremely high temperatures, coke is a key raw material in iron-making, providing heat for the blast furnace. It comes with costly environmental challenges, however, and steel industry experts say coke-making could become obsolete in the future as the steel industry turns to cleaner technology.
Not sure how much it will affect the EJ&E/CN or Gary Railroad.
Apparently the coke will come from Clairton Works now,
New Comments added March 27, 2015
with the new connection at Gary built and accessible
> via the Porter Branch, perhaps they would run Clairton
> traffic for Gary via the NYC west

It is my understanding that the diamond at Tolleston has
either been replaced or soon will be, and traffic from the
NKP route destined for Kirk yard will get on the CF&E at
Spriggsboro (just west of Valpo) to Tolleston and take the
new connection over the old Wabash. I believe that NS wants
to move all CN interchange to the the new connection and
close both Pine Yard and the interchange at Van Loon.

Trains that set out or pick at Van Loon tie up the single
track NKP and by moving the interchange away from Van Loon,
it will increase capacity on that line and make it more fluid.

CN also probably wants to stop interchange at Van Loon as
well to be able to run more traffic between Griffith and
Kirk Yard.

 Why would they do that? Why not just run on ex-PRR west of Alliance to Crestline, where the route now becomes CF&E, and then from there to Tolleston? I would think they would want a coke train to avoid Bellevue altogether.

The only reason I can think of for using NKP to Van Loon for WB coke trains is if the CF&E is relegated to one-direction EB traffic, which would make sense since it is basically dark territory with few sidings. In that case, only the empties would use CF&E, but at this point we don’t know what NS’s intentions are in this regard.

Since Clairton is just south of Pittsburgh, the trains would orignate in former PRR CR territory, run up to Cleveland and get on the NYC and then once they hit the Bellvue area, that could go either NKP or NYC to get to CN/GRW.

 Very good point and it would indeed be the most direct route out of the Pittsburgh area for NS but current plan for CF&E is to use if for directional running favoring eastbounds.. ..especially loaded crude/ethanol trains to keep them out of the Chicago HHUA (High Threat Urban Area). Westbound residue empties would then run either NKP or NYC back to BNSF over traditional Chicago interchanges. Without power switches and CTC, they probably want to minimize the westbounds swimming against the eastward current on CF&E.

Who knows, maybe they’ll run empty eastbound USS coke hoppers that way (that is if NS and not CSX got the business), or maybe they’d even run the loads west on CF&E depending on how much sprucing up of the route they eventually do (and depending on passing siding length), but at least the initial plan is to run unit trains and lower priority manifest east only via CF&E using this directional running scheme.

Very good point and it would indeed be the most direct route out of the Pittsburgh area for NS but current plan for CF&E is to use if for directional running favoring eastbounds.. ..especially loaded crude/ethanol trains to keep them out of the Chicago HHUA (High Threat Urban Area).

Yes, I’ve heard that before and that’s why I mentioned it. But maybe NS has changed their plans. Over on the Indiana RRs discussion group today (Tues) it was reported that two WBs were observed on CF&E, one an autorack train and the other (believe it or not) a stack train. Other WBs have been reported in the days preceding. Again, at this point I don’t think we know what NS’s current intentions are.

Westbound residue empties would then run either NKP or NYC back to BNSF over traditional Chicago interchanges.

From what I’ve heard from a reliable source, once the WB empties reach Tolleston they will take the Porter Branch to Gibson and head south and then west on the Kankakee Belt to Streator. There, they will take BNSF to Galesburg and points west.

Additions to Gary Coke Trains

 

It is my understanding that the diamond at Tolleston has
either been replaced or soon will be, and traffic from the
NKP route destined for Kirk yard will get on the CF&E at
Spriggsboro (just west of Valpo) to Tolleston and take the
new connection over the old Wabash. I believe that NS wants
to move all CN interchange to the the new connection and
close both Pine Yard and the interchange at Van Loon.



Trains that set out or pick at Van Loon tie up the single
track NKP and by moving the interchange away from Van Loon,
it will increase capacity on that line and make it more fluid.

CN also probably wants to stop interchange at Van Loon as
well to be able to run more traffic between Griffith and
Kirk Yard.

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