Ashtabula Coal Pier

From Global Energy Monitor

Ashtabula Coal Pier was a coal dock at Ashtabula, Ohio. It was owned by rail company Norfolk Southern.


The pier was located on Lake Erie.

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Norfolk Southern owned and operated the Ashtabula coal pier from 1999 to 2016. The port served as a transload point for bituminous coal from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which was then sent to electric generating utilities and cement producers in Canada and the Great Lakes Basins. Annual coal capacity was 6.3 million short tons (approximately 5.72 metric tonnes).[1]


In December 2015, owner Norfolk Southern railroad said it planned to idle its operations at Ashtabula after spring 2016, due to declining coal demand, and shift operations to the railroad's Sandusky Dock in Ohio. Ashtabula continued to operate until all coal inventories were transloaded, which was completed in the summer of 2016. The facility was then left idle in case market conditions warranted reopening.[2]

In March 2021, Norfolk Southern commenced demolition of the remaining infrastructure at the Pier.[3] In May of the same year, the Ashtabula city council "approved an ordinance authorizing City Manager Jim Timonere to enter into agreements with Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Ashtabula River Foundation to buy the conveyor belt and bridge, lease the land it’s situated on, and sublease the land to one or more appropriate entities to maintain the structure at minimal expense to the city."[4]

Project Details

  • Owner: Norfolk Southern
  • Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
  • Capacity (Million metric tonnes per annum): 5.72 million
  • Status: Retired (2016)
  • Start year: 1999
  • Coal source: Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia



  1. "Ashtabula Coal Pier," Norfolk Southern Corporation, accessed May 2015
  2. "Norfolk Southern closing one coal dock in Ohio," Richmond Times, Dec 22, 2015
  3. Shelley Terry, "Crowd gathers to watch demolition of concrete silos in Ashtabula Harbor," Star Beacon, March 25, 2021.
  4. Shelley Terry, "Ashtabula will retain historic coal conveyor," Star Beacon, May 3, 2021.

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