In multimodal coal transportation the initial transportation mode from the mine site is not always the primary mode of coal transportation due to the following:

Shipments of coal moved to consumers primarily by rail can include coal hauled to or away from a railroad siding by truck.

Shipments of coal moved to consumers via river by barge include coal hauled to or away from coal river terminals by truck, rail, or conveyor.

Coal Transportation by Rail in Kentucky
CSX RailKentucky has over 2,640 miles of railroad lines. 72 million tons of Kentucky coal were transported over these lines in 2004.

There are two Class I railroads, one regional railroad, and two short line railroads that operate totally in Kentucky or originate coal in Kentucky.

These railroads, along with privately owned cars of electric power companies, have over 71,380 hopper cars dedicated to the transport of coal.

Kentucky has approximately 108 coal rail loading facilities.

Almost all (90+%) rail shipment of Kentucky coal move by unit train service.

Source: Association of American Railroad, 2004.

Coal Transportation by Barge in Kentucky
Kentucky has more than 1,000 miles of navigable rivers over which approximately 15.9 million tons of Kentucky coal were shipped in 2004.

Statewide, 47 coal river terminals on the Ohio River and its tributaries serve Kentucky coal shippers (35 within Kentucky).  In total, 17 coal river terminals are located near Eastern Kentucky, 6 in Central Kentucky, and 24 near Western Kentucky.

Of these, 19 of the coal river terminals have rail access, 39 have truck access, 12 have barge off-loading access, and 6 have conveyor access.  Automated blending is found in 31 of the coal river terminals with 28 having automatic sampling, 18 having some coal crushing equipment, and 8 having stoker preparation equipment.

Source: Kentucky Coal Council, Kentucky Coal Marketing Updates - Coal River Terminals, 2005.

Coal Transportation by Truck in Kentucky
Approximately 3,693 miles of state-maintained highways are used for transporting coal.

Truck shipments are a very important mode of coal transportation in Kentucky.  In 2004, approximately 1.52 billion ton-miles of coal transportation by truck were reported in at least one leg of the many different types of multimodal coal transportation market routes.

Over 3,218 coal trucks were registered during 2004 in Kentucky, indicating that over 3,218 coal truck drivers were employed in Kentucky.  The sale of extended weight coal decals generated $971,155 in 2004.

Sources: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Official Coal Haul Highway System; Department of Vehicle Regulation - Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing.

Most Kentucky coal is transported by more than one mode of transportation because of cost considerations, the location of the mine site, and/or the customer.  Kentucky coal is transported by rail, truck, and/or barge, and transportation can comprise more than one-third of the cost of delivered coal.