|By Eric Eyre, The Charleston Gazette,
W.Va.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 8, 2010 --CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A new 25-room hotel that caters to railroad workers has opened in Boone County.
The Oak Tree Inn will primarily serve CSX Corp. train crews that work in Elk Run and Danville.
The hotel was built in response to the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act, which mandates 10-hour rest periods for rail workers and signal employees each day.
Railroad companies, such as CSX, operate day and night with no uniform employee work shifts.
"The rooms are quiet, clean and dark," said Cherle Hooke, a CSX spokeswoman. "This allows crews an undisturbed rest period, whether it's 3 a.m. or 3 p.m."
The rooms feature thick walls, special windows that block out sound and drapes that block all light. There's also a wireless remote "guest-detection system" that allows housekeeping to determine whether rooms are occupied without knocking on doors.
The hotel -- located along Coal River Road in Comfort -- also has a crew lounge with recliners, a 55-inch television, microwave, exercise room and computer workstation. Food is provided to guests by an adjacent V-Mart, which is open 24 hours a day.
Rooms not booked by railroad workers are available to the general public. Rates start at $79 a night.
Wichita, Kan.-based Lodging Enterprises, the nation's largest provider of accommodations to the U.S. rail industry, runs 27 other Oak Tree Inns in 16 states.
For reservations, go to wwwk.oaktreeinn.com or call 1-888-456-8733.
Reach Eric Eyre at email@example.com or 304-348-4869.
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