The movement of aggregates and crushed limestone in open top hoppers, mill gondolas, and side dump cars is the second highest volume commodity group handled by the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Company (W&LE). W&LE annually hauls over 35,000 carloads of crushed limestone in a traditionally highly competitive truck market from three major stone quarries in northwest Ohio. This includes Hanson Aggregates, National Lime and Stone Company, and Shelly Materials/Stoneco.
Shipments move in blocks as small as 20 cars at a time up to 90 car unit trains to sixteen different stone terminals in eastern Ohio and southwestern Pennsylvania.
Stone is typically offloaded into a pit and conveyed to storage locations on a site with rotary stackers. Several facilities with limited offloading/storage area have experienced success in shipping crushed limestone in mill gondolas and top unloading with a hydraulic excavator into dump trucks.
The aggregates are used in construction projects, concrete and asphalt production, and base material for Utica Shale well pads.
Stone moves in a fleet of over 500 railroad-owned open top hoppers and mill gondolas in addition to several hundred shipper-owned/leased private open top hoppers and mill gondolas.