NS plants intermodal stake in Greencastle, Pa.
Norfolk Southern announced Wednesday that it will build a 200-acre intermodal facility in Greencastle, Pa., along the highly truck-traveled Interstate 81 corridor.
At a press conference in Greencastle, Wick Moorman, chief executive officer of the Norfolk, Va.-based railroad, called the proposed $95 million facility “strategic” to Norfolk Southern’s multistate Crescent Corridor initiative to create a 2,500-mile high-speed intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast.
“We will give shippers the option to ride the rails to Pennsylvania,” Moorman said.
“This facility will create good jobs, generate revenue and help reduce highway congestion,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, who’s an outspoken supporter of U.S. transportation infrastructure improvements. “I will continue to advocate for rail freight investments at the state and national level.”
Rendell told the gathering in Greencastle that the country’s “physical infrastructure is not in good shape. China is spending 20 times as much as we are in the U.S. today. How quickly we can move goods from our ports to population centers is absolutely critical.”
Norfolk Southern has identified $2.5 billion in Crescent Corridor projects, which it will implement through a series of public-private partnerships. When the corridor initiative is fully implemented, it’s expected take more than one million truckloads of freight a year off the highways.
Pennsylvania has committed to spend $45 million, or $15 million a year for three years, on developing Norfolk Southern’s Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility in Greencastle. Rendell noted the railroad is also seeking another $63 million from the federal government to support Crescent Corridor terminal expansion investments at its other Pennsylvania sites, including Bethlehem, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
In addition Norfolk Southern is implementing other corridor projects, such as straightening curves, adding passing tracks, improving signal systems and building new terminals.
The Franklin County area along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border has been a hotbed of intermodal activity in recent years. Many shippers and trucking companies have also built freight handling facilities in the area.
CSX Intermodal recently opened a new facility in Chambersburg, Pa., as part of its $700 million National Gateway public-private partnership to increase use of double-stack trains through upgrades to tracks, equipment and facilities, and improved clearances. It’s similar to Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor project to allow increased usage of double-stack trains.
Pennsylvania’s businesses remain heavily dependent on rail transportation for moving raw materials and finished goods. Four Class 1 railroads and 57 short lines operate within the state’s borders, Rendell said.
Norfolk Southern’s intermodal facility in Greencastle is expected to open in late 2011 and serve up to four intermodal trains per day. It will have an initial capacity to handle 85,000 truck trailers and ocean containers annually, Moorman said.
“The I-81 corridor is very important, and by bringing truck and rail together it’s a perfect match,” Edward Norcross of Valley Quarries, told American Shipper. Valley Quarries was a primary provider of concrete and related preparations during construction of CSX Intermodal’s Chambersburg facility. ' Chris Gillis