Today Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman was joined by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Karen Rae, Rep. Bill Shuster, and other state and local dignitaries to officially break ground for the new Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility in Greencastle, Pa.
The $95 million facility, part of the railroad's multi-state Crescent Corridor initiative to establish an efficient, high-capacity intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast, occupies a 200-acre site adjacent to the planned Antrim Commons Business Park and is expected to open in 2012.
Today's groundbreaking is for the first of four new Crescent Corridor intermodal terminals Norfolk Southern plans to construct over the next two years.
"The Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility is ideally located to serve the Mid-Atlantic region and is a critical component of our Crescent Corridor," said Moorman. "We commend Governor Rendell for his dedication and commitment to improve transportation infrastructure not only in the commonwealth but throughout the U.S. We also want to thank Representative Shuster for his involvement in our efforts to form public-private partnerships to create jobs and economic development opportunities throughout Pennsylvania. Finally, we must recognize the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, and Antrim Township for their active participation in the planning of this project."
"There is no doubt that this type of integrated logistics hub creates good jobs, generates revenue, and provides substantial environmental benefits," Governor Rendell said. "Pennsylvania has invested heavily in freight rail because it is a smart, environmentally friendly, cost-effective infrastructure investment. I will continue to advocate for rail freight investments at the state and national level."
"Intermodal terminals like the one Norfolk Southern broke ground on today are proven centers for investment, infrastructure improvement, and business growth," said Congressman Shuster, Ranking Republican on the House Subcommittee on Railroads. "The improvements being made to Exit 3 on I-81 are a perfect example of this. I have long supported investment in freight rail because it's efficient, safe, and environmentally responsible. I have no doubt that this facility will open a new chapter in Pennsylvania's proud railroading history and create new opportunities for growth here in Franklin County and beyond."
The Crescent Corridor is a program of improvements to infrastructure and other facilities geared toward creating a high capacity 2,500 mile intermodal route spanning from New Jersey to Louisiana that touches 26 percent of the nation's population and 30 percent of the nation's manufacturing output. It provides the shortest intermodal double stack route between the South and the Northeast. When fully operational it will handle more rail freight traffic faster and more reliably, creating or benefiting more than 70,000 green jobs by 2030 and producing these estimated annual benefits:
- 1.3 million long-haul trucks diverted from interstates
- $141 million in accident avoidance savings
- 1.8 million tons in CO2 reduction
- $565 million in congestion savings
- $262 million in highway maintenance savings
- 163 million gallons in fuel savings
The Crescent Corridor program of projects is estimated to cost $2.5 billion for full development. In addition to the Greencastle facility, Crescent Corridor projects currently planned for development include new independent intermodal facilities at Birmingham, Ala., Charlotte, N.C. and Memphis, Tenn.; the expansion of intermodal terminals in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pa.; and the addition of freight rail capacity in Virginia and Mississippi. In addition to facility investments, the program includes significant investments in rail route improvements consisting of additional passing tracks, double track projects, improved signaling systems, and other track speed enhancements.
When the Crescent Corridor is fully operational, annual benefits to Pennsylvania are expected to include more than 806,000 long-haul trucks diverted to rail, almost 10 million gallons of fuel saved, carbon dioxide reduction of 106,000 tons, more than $33 million in traffic congestion savings, and avoidance of an estimated $8.3 million in accident costs. Over the next ten years 26,000 jobs in Pennsylvania are expected to be created or enhanced by Crescent Corridor projects. Norfolk Southern also has improvements planned for existing intermodal terminals in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, along with $27 million in track and signal upgrades.
The proposed investment in the Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility will create the capacity to handle more than 85,000 containers and trailers annually. The terminal will utilize the latest in gate and terminal automation technology, which shortens the waiting time for trucks entering the terminal, thereby reducing exhaust emissions and improving truck driver productivity. Four intermodal trains daily will serve the terminal.
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.