CSX brokers deal with miners to take train engine

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HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A CSX train engine stuck for nearly 48 hours is now on the move.

A group of miners block the tracks as a train tries to haul coal away from Cloverlick Mine 1. Blackjewel miners have not been paid in about a month. // Connor James

Laid-off Blackjewel coal miners stopped the coal load on the tracks Monday afternoon. They are protesting the coal company's failure to pay them wages.

Officials showed up to the site of the stalemate Wednesday afternoon to talk with miners about a compromise. During their talks, miners allowed CSX officials to take the engine but asked them to leave the train cars loaded with coal.

The miners said they do not want to hurt any other companies, they just will not let their coal go.

"They came up to talk to us about letting their engines go and come out without the coal. We're not about keeping CSX or anybody from doing their job. We're here because of the coal and they're going to leave the coal where it's at and bring the trains out, their locomotives," said Chris Rowe, one of the protesters.

There are now about 100 rail cars full of coal just sitting on the tracks. It is said to be worth about $1 million.

Since this situation started to unfold at the beginning of July, miners have recounted their losses. Many struggled to buy groceries, not to mention their utility bills and mortgages.

What still seems to be a big question in this whole situation, "Is coal even allowed to be moved from the Cloverlick Mine?"

Attempts to get an answer to that question have resulted in no answers from attorneys with the coal producer or officials with the company itself. We did learn that the Kentucky mines were up for bid and bidding closed Wednesday. We do not know if any bids were placed on the mines and what that may mean for miners out of work.

A hearing in the Blackjewel bankruptcy case was scheduled for Saturday but is now pushed back until Monday. Officials are trying to figure out how to bus miners to that hearing in Charleston, Virginia.

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