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by two percent, despite a volume drop of one percent in comparison to the same quarter of 2014. In comparison, softer phosphates and fertilizers showed a de- cline in both volumes and revenues in early 2015. Other areas of growth were observed in the chemical and automotive shipments, in addition to a significant growth in intermodal volumes. The rail- road reported a volume increase in the intermodal sector of nearly nine percent, attributed to the expansion of existing customers, new service offerings, and ongoing success with the railroad’s high- way-to-rail conversion program. Domestic utility coal volumes decreas-


es as a result of lower natural gas prices and export metallurgical and thermal coal also took a hit in the first quarter as a result of weak global market con- ditions. Domestic coke, iron, and other


similar minerals showed a volume in- crease as a result of more iron ore ship- ments associated with a new customer’s facility. This service helped offset some of the decline in coal volumes. Overall, first quarter 2015 coal volumes were 289,000 units in comparison to 293,000 units in first quarter 2014.


KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN DANNY JOHNSON


New Rail Bridge to Mexico


KCS’s Mexican subsidiary KCS de Mex- ico (KCSM) heralded construction and opening of the first railroad bridge con- necting Mexico and the United States to be built in more than 110 years. The


bridge, expected to be operational in the latter half of this year, will connect Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Designed to alleviate urban congestion by re-routing rail traffic out of the most populated areas in both bor- der cities, the bridge is expected to ex- pand regional transportation capacity in association with the Port of Brownsville and the Brownsville & Rio Grande Inter- national Railroad.


Beaumont Sub Upgrades


KCS has followed up last month’s an- nouncement that it would spend sever- al million dollars to upgrade the Texas Subdivision with yet an additional in- vestment of approximately $19 million to improve capacity, maintenance, and


N&W Y6a No. 2156 to Roanoke for Display


It’s 4:00 a.m. in Marion, Ohio, as Norfolk & Western 2-8-8-2 Y6a No. 2156 passes the preserved AC Tower and Erie Lackawanna caboose display. The locomotive was in transit from the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Mo., destined to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Va. Built in 1942 by the N&W in Roanoke, the articulated steam locomotive arrived at VMT on May 12 where it will be reunited with N&W No. 1218 and No. 611. According to MoT, the non-operational 2516 will be on loan for the next fi ve years.


PHOTO BY BRANDON TOWNLEY


N&W J-Class No. 611 Returns to Steam


Following an extensive rebuild at the North Carolina Transportation Museum, Norfolk & Western No. 611 made its fi rst trip under steam on May 21, 2015. The shake-down run operated from Spencer to Greensboro, N.C., and return. At the end of May, No. 611 made its triumphant return to Roanoke, Va. The streamlined J-class operated two excursions in June, and will haul six trips over the July 4 weekend as part of Norfolk Southern’s “21st Century Steam” excursions. Based in Roanoke, the locomotive is owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation. See page 52 for details of 611’s homecoming.


PHOTO BY KAHLIL POOLE


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