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Tuesday, October 30, 2012    

Northeast storm update: The aftereffects for freight railroads, ports

The massive storm in the Northeast is mostly over, but its high-wind, power-outage and flooding effects will impact freight railroads for several more days.

CSX Transportation has implemented an embargo, which also applies to traffic originating on other railroads, covering an area from Boston to Philadelphia, excluding Selkirk, N.Y. Train operations have been suspended on CSXT's network from Richmond, Va., to Albany, N.Y., affecting traffic moving through or destined to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island, and parts of New York and Pennsylvania.

In addition, CSX Intermodal closed terminals in Boston; Baltimore; Philadelphia; Kearny, Little Ferry and North Bergen, N.J.; Springfield and Worcester, Mass.; and Portsmouth, Va. The Portsmouth terminal is expected to reopen this morning, but the other facilities will remain closed until further notice, CSX Intermodal officials said in an online customer notice.

CSXT officials plan to conduct a network assessment in the impacted areas "as soon as it safe to do so," they said. The Class I expects transit delays of at least 72 hours for traffic moving through the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Norfolk Southern Railway
also is anticipating at least 72-hour delays for traffic moving through the area, including Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Trains traveling from Virginia through New England were impacted by heavy rains, flooding and high winds, NS officials said in an online customer notice.

A number of regionals and short lines in the Northeast are dealing with the storm's punch, too. For example, the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYSW) has ceased all train operations in its New Jersey division.

"We will not be resuming operations in New Jersey until after the storm has passed and after we conduct a thorough inspection of the railroad," NYSW officials said in an online customer notice. "Depending on the timing of the storm, this inspection will not be completed earlier than Wednesday, Oct. 31."

The short line's New York division continued to operate yesterday, but is subject to suspension based on the severity of storm aftereffects in New York, they said.

Meanwhile, the Port of New York and New Jersey will remain closed today, but all state of Virginia-owned marine terminals — including the Port of Virginia in Norfolk — will reopen today.

"Though there will be no vessel operations until the port assessment has been completed by the U.S. Coast Guard and the sea lanes are reopened, the truck gates, transfer zones and on-dock rail [facility] will be operating," said Port of Virginia officials in an online notice.

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