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4/11/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF upgrades Seattle intermodal facility; CSXT eyes coal terminal expansion


BNSF Railway Co. and CSX Transportation are improving facilities associated with their two highest revenue generators: intermodal and coal.

BNSF recently installed four electric, rail-mounted gantry cranes at the Seattle International Gateway (SIG) intermodal facility. The cranes help increase throughput about 30 percent and — absent pollutant-emitting diesel engines and the need for diesel trucks to move containers within the facility — widen SIG's "green" footprint, BNSF said. The cranes are wider than the traditional gantry cranes and can regenerate power each time they lower a load.

"The installation of these wide-span cranes has nearly doubled the capacity at our SIG facility, and reduces our impact on the environment while supporting the growth of international commerce at the Port of Seattle," said Mike Burke, assistant vice president-BNSF Intermodal Hub Operations, in a prepared statement.
 
Meanwhile, CSXT plans to expand and upgrade an Erwin, Tenn., terminal that serves as a key gateway for coal trains operating between Appalachian mines and receivers.

As part of an expanded project aimed at improving bulk service, the Class I will spend $6 million to lengthen track and complete structure work at the terminal to accommodate longer distributed-power coal and grain trains. CSXT also will spend about $3 million on communications and technology upgrades in the region to support distributed power, and hire eight additional employees for the Erwin facility.

Later this month, the railroad will begin demolishing a car inspection facility to make way for extended yard tracks and a new inspection facility. In addition, CSXT will install several power switches in the terminal, upgrade a locomotive servicing facility and certify more locomotive engineers to operate distributed-power trains.


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