Railroad’s Investments Increase Train Speed, Track Capacity

Recognizing the value in its 19-year relationship with Nucor, Genesee & Wyoming’s (G&W) North Carolina & Virginia Railroad Company (NCVA) undertook a project to upgrade track for 286,000-lbs. capacity along its 56 miles and increase speeds on a substantial portion of the line.

Nucor, a steel products company, operates a plate mill in Hertford County, North Carolina, where it receives inbound materials from suppliers throughout North America and ships outbound finished products. NCVA has served the mill since it opened in 2000.

Prior to 2019, NCVA had capacity for 271,000-lb. railcars and operated at 10 mph, which generated higher transportation costs for Nucor, particularly as they expanded their customer portfolio and increased rail shipments.

NCVA understood the importance of providing freight efficiency for a long-term customer and worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation and North Carolina Department of Transportation to secure a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant that enabled:

  • Installation of 21 miles of continuous-welded rail;
  • Replacement of 25,700 ties, 12 turnouts and 8 grade crossings;
  • Resurfacing of 51 track miles; and
  • Upgrades to NCVA’s Meherrin River bridge.

This project means a lot to Nucor. Nearly 70 percent of shipments from our mill go out by rail. The improvements by NCVA will not only help make Nucor more competitive nationally and globally, but also will help grow the entire Hertford County and eastern North Carolina economy.

-Bob McCracken, vice president and general manager of Nucor’s Hertford County mill

As a result of the collaboration:

  • Nucor benefited from nearly a 5% increase in loading capacity on inbound and outbound shipments, timelier deliveries, improved equipment turn times and fewer service disruptions.  
  • NCVA’s capacity matches that of the connecting national railroads, increasing its efficiency and competitiveness compared to other modes of transportation.
  • The State of North Carolina is better positioned for future economic growth in its northeastern corner, a region that has been faced with underemployment and underinvestment in recent years.