Viewed from an angle, the matte black matches the color of the cargo (although these are empties returning to the coal fields of West Virginia).
CSX has upgraded the coal cars that pass through Charlottesville.
If you've recently noticed some spiffy new rail cars rolling o'er the countryside, there's a reason: CSX has been bolstering its fleet with about 7,000 new cars to service the company's massive coal piers in Newport News.
The fresh black hopper cars seen here appear to be the aluminum BethGon II model manufactured by FreightCar America. The company, which has a manufacturing facility in the heart of downtown Roanoke, indicates that each car holds 4,520 cubic feet of coal, a maximum payload of 122 tons, a nine-ton increase over flat-bottomed predecessors.
According to CSX, while domestic coal sales to utilities have fallen due to price competition from natural gas, coal exports have soared from around 13 million tons about five years earlier to 40.2 million tons last year. In all, CSX measures its coal business at 1.5 million carloads last year, 24 percent of its rail volume and 32 percent of its revenue.
–original headline: Sleek and black: New CSX coal cars roll through