The Interstate Commerce Commission yesterday ordered the Seaboard Coast Lines railroad to assign 100 additional locomotives to its Louisville & Nashville subsidiary to alleviate a shortage of coal-hauling capacity in Eastern Kentucky.
The extra locomotives will enable the L & N to double the quantity of coal it is hauling from small mines in the Eastern Kentucky region, the ICC said.
The ICC said the extra locomotives will make it unnecessary to require the Seaboard to assign additional hopper cars to the L & N.
With the Norfalk & Western railroad on strike and the L & N short of cars many coal mines have been forced to shut down, laying off thousands of miners and depressing the coal-based economy of the region.
The impact has fallen mostly on the small "single car" mines served only by the L & N, which have been able to get only about 20 percent of the cars they could load.
The ICC last month levied a $1 million civil fine against the L & N for shifting cars away from the "single car" mines - where the cars sit idle during loading - and assigning them to more profitable unit trains, which are loaded and unloaded automatically.
Yesterday's ICC order gave the Seaboard until Oct. 15 to assign 50 additional locomotives to the L & N, and said all 100 more engines must be in service by Dec. 15.