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Rail News: Intermodal

Barging ahead: New York Cross Harbor builds customer base

New York Regional Rail Corp.’s (NYRR) rail-barge subsidiary continues to take advantage of its position as New York Harbor’s only rail-float barge operation.

Today, NYRR announced Balfour Beatty Construction Co. Inc. again has chosen its New York Cross Harbor (NYCH) rail-barge subsidiary to handle a key move. Under the pact, NYCH will move rail cars containing bridge beams and supports for the continuing construction of the Sikorsky Bridge over the Housatonic River. As long as 120 feet and as high as 16 feet, the bridge beams are fabricated in Washington state and shipped by rail across the country.

The steel beams are transferred from rail cars to specially outfitted barges and then taken directly to the construction site, where they are lifted onto the bridge span. Now being built for the Connecticut Department of Transportation by Balfour Beatty, the Sikorsky Bridge is a key link in Connecticut Route 15, the Merritt Parkway.

By using the Cross Harbor, Balfour Beatty "is able to easily transport the bridge components through the congested New York metropolitan area," said NYRR Chief Executive Officer Ron Bridges in a prepared statement. "It would have been a logistical nightmare to move the beams by highway with all of the height and weight restricted routes in the New York Tri-State region."

During the next nine months, revenue from the project likely will exceed $500,000, representing a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in rail revenue, Bridges added.

NYCH also recently signed a 10-year agreement with Hands-On Environmental, a New Jersey company that provides environmental consulting, transportation and logistical support. Under the deal, which includes annual guaranteed minimum carloads, NYCH will perform rail transfer and transportation services at its Greenville facility. NYRR trucking subsidiary JS Transportation will provide transportation to the facility.

Meanwhile, NYCH also is moving fresh produce destined for the Brooklyn, N.Y., marketplace. Initially, the haul involved potato shipments arriving from the West Coast. Then, it expanded to onions. Now, it includes apples — new business that "adds to our growing customer base, to the diversity of the freight which we move and will assist NYCH achieve profitability," said NYCH President Wayne Eastman.

NYCH serves businesses on both sides of New York Harbor with daily crossings between Jersey City, N.J., and Brooklyn. NYCH's operation provides New York City and Long Island with connections to the national rail freight system.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/16/2004