Miners block CSX train in Kentucky

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Coal miners form a human blockade to keep a loaded CSX train from leaving the bankrupt coal mine which still owes the miners thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.
Photo courtesy WYMT-TV
CUMBERLAND, Ky. — Out-of-work and unpaid Eastern Kentucky coal miners, reeling from the bankruptcy of their employer and the closure of their mine, have taken their protest to tracks by blocking a CSX coal train from leaving the mine.

On Monday, WYMT-TV in Hazard, Ky., reported that a loaded CSX coal train was blocked from leaving the Cloverlick No. 3 mine near Cumberland, Ky., by coal miners forming a human blockade on the railroad tracks. The miners are some of the dozens that have been left out of work at the mine after its owner, Revelation Energy and its subsidiary BlackJewel Mining, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early July. After the filing, the company ceased most operations at its mining locations, leaving its miners out of work and most unpaid for work they already performed. The miners' benefits and insurance has also been left in question by the situation. During Monday's protest, the miners, who remain peaceful, stood in front of the train attempting to leave the Cloverlick mine — which sits on CSX's former Louisville & Nashville Poor Fork Branch out of Loyall, Ky. — and demanded they be paid for work, which likely produced the coal loaded in the train.

Kentucky State Police tells Trains News Wire that troopers responded to the protest site Monday, but took no action. "At this time, we have no involvement, and we're not there," says Kentucky State Police Trooper Shane Jacobs. "We spoke with (the miners) and let them know that they were standing on private property and that they were trespassing, and we let them know what can happen, but we made no arrests. At this time, we're referring the situation to CSX. It's their property and they have their own railroad police, so right now, we will assist CSX Railroad Police if we are needed." Calls to CSX seeking comment were not returned.

According to WYMT's Twitter account, the miners involved in Monday's protest eventually moved and allowed the train to leave the mine. On Tuesday, however, the protest continued, with miners and their families standing on CSX tracks near Cumberland. A South Carolina church came to the site to provide food and other materials to those protesting. In one photo on the news station's Twitter, protests can be seen playing the game cornhole in the railroad gauge. It was unclear at this time whether any other trains are planned to service the Cloverlick No. 3 mine.

In its bankruptcy filing, Blackjewel LLC and Revelation LLC listed estimated assets of between $10 million and $50 million while listing liabilities with between 200 and 999 creditors. According to the filing, the total estimated liabilities amount to between $100 million and $500 billion dollars. Blackjewel listed 27 “principal assets” in the fling. Among those assets are coal processing and rail loading facilities. The company owns mining operations served by CSX in Kentucky, Norfolk Southern in southwest Virginia, and BNSF Railway in Wyoming.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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