Efficient Railcar Thawing at Chesterfield Power Station

Case Studies

The Facility

The railcar thawing facility at Chesterfield Power Station in Virginia serves Dominion Utility by addressing the challenges associated with unloading raw materials during the winter months.

The Heating Challenge

During winter, a significant percentage of raw materials freeze inside railcars, creating a strong bond between the materials and the railcar’s inner walls. This can make unloading both challenging and inefficient. Coal delivered from West Virginia travels 24-32 hours in uncovered railcars, accumulating snow and ice along the way.


Tim Seel, US Sales Manager at SRP®, was approached by Dominion for a solution. The existing equipment in their thawing tunnel, capable of defrosting six train cars at a time, was poorly implemented. Dominion sought an efficient solution to thaw cars quickly for easy unloading.

Tim designed an energy-efficient heating method using 72 SRP® heaters, each with a capacity of 200 MBH. These heaters are controlled by a custom control system that cycles the equipment automatically until the railcars are satisfactorily deiced. The installation also included gas detection and thermal overload safety sensors to ensure safe operations.


The implementation of SRP® heaters has significantly improved the efficiency of thawing frozen coal in uncovered railcars. This has led to quicker unloading processes during harsh winter months. Additionally, the new system conserves energy and reduces overall energy costs, providing a reliable and cost-effective solution for Dominion Utility.


The successful installation of SRP® heaters at the Chesterfield Power Station railcar thawing facility highlights the importance of tailored heating solutions for industrial applications. By ensuring efficient thawing and unloading of raw materials, SRP® has enhanced operational efficiency and energy conservation for Dominion Utility.

For more information on how SRP’s heating solutions can benefit your facility, contact us today!

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