Ohio River Terminal Renovation Increases Throughput By 75 Percent

In June, 1981, Ohio River Company's Huntington, W.Va. coal transfer terminal began operating at a throughput of five million tons per year—up from an average of 3.5 million tons per year. The 75-percent-capacity increase was gained through a 19- month renovation project that was carried out with only V/-2 weeks downtime.

A conceptual feasibility study, completed in September 1978, served as the basis for the construction work, awarded to the Dravo Corporation, that began in November 1979. The conceptual study was undertaken by Soros Associates of New York City, who worked closely with the Ohio River Company to develop a scheme that was keyed to minimizing downtime, while addressing critical problem areas at the 52-year-old terminal. In addition to the design scheme, the study report also suggested new operating procedures, manpower requirements and operator duties necessary for realization of the significant throughput rate increase allowed by the new design.

An option for an improved design, which would allow for a further increase, was also included.

The original six-week downtime requirement projected in the study was reduced to l*/> weeks through the final construction plan proposed by the Ohio River Company.

Previous Limitations The Huntington Terminal yard averaged 75-85 coal cars dumped per eight-hour shift, with the maximum rate of 100 cars per shift, not sustainable due to yard congestion. The yard congestion was amplified by an average of 100 cars with special consignments awaiting assembly to a barge load.

The average total capacity for an eight-hour shift was further limited by the need to use a significant amount of time for car shifting. This procedure was mandated by the use of inside tracks for collecting empty cars, while outside tracks were used for loaded cars. To pull out empty cars, locomotives had to run through switches. This stopped the dumping operation.

Cars were taken to a bottomdump type pit for simultaneous, parallel dumping of two cars.

Problem-ridden car shakers, as well as damage to railroad cars and noise complaints from the community, were endured in an effort to speed coal discharge. In addition, the usual dump hoppers designed for 60-ton cars resulted in some spillage from present-day 100-ton cars.

One of the three coal conveyors was supported by a floating dock, which served as the barge loader. This arrangement required constant movement of barges to adjust to the river level, reducing operational efficiency, and also creating a significant maintenance burden.

Renovation Design The design scheme for renovation was developed to allow for an increase in dumping capacity, from 75-85 coal cars per shift, to Ohio River Company's objective of 150-160 cars per shift, while minimizing downtime.

The Ohio River Company asked Soros Associates to first review a previous renovation proposal based on the installation of a new, 80-foot-long bottom-dump pit.

The scheme allowed for dumping cars while they moved along a single track, with a system of hoist-mounted shakers utilized to increase the dumping rate.

Soros rejected this concept and proposed a rotary-type car dumper as a preferred alternative.

Soros also doubted the workability of a moving shaker system, and cited its high noise levels, longer periods required for coal thawing, expected damage to railroad cars, and probable significant contribution to downtime in the dumper area. As a result of these considerations, the rotarytvpe was accepted.

The project team considered several alternative new rail layout and operational schemes in an effort to gain maximum ad- vantage from the new dumper system.

The accepted scheme featured dividing the car storage yard into two sections, and e s t a b l i s h i ng two pull-out tracks and a distribution switch. These features, along with new operational procedures, provided for a continuous dumping operation in a given shift, eliminating the previous necessity for a three-hour stoppage for car shifting. The accepted scheme also called f o r leasing a d j a c e n t p r o p e r t y , easing yard congestion, and allowing for the delivery of strings of 25 loaded cars to the dumper at a time, up from 20 previously.

The accepted scheme also called for installation of a barge loading conveyor mounted on two 16- foot-diameter cells, and suspended via a hoist system to allow for adjustment to variations in the level of the river. This modification eliminated operational and m a i n t e n a n c e problems experienced with the previous floatingdock barge loader.

Other stories from November 1981 issue


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