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Baltimore mayor urges CSXT to build intermodal facility in city; NS locomotive shop workers set safety record


Last week, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake sent a letter to CSX Transportation urging the Class I’s senior executives to abandon a plan to locate a proposed Baltimore-Washington Rail Intermodal Facility in suburban Maryland and instead begin identifying a site in the city of Baltimore.

CSXT plans to relocate its existing intermodal facility at Seagirt Marine Terminal to a new Maryland site along its National Gateway intermodal route between Mid-Atlantic ports and Midwestern markets.

In a letter addressed to CSXT Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward, Rawlings-Blake said the stalled project “threatens one of Baltimore’s strongest pillars of economic growth and job creation."

“As a strong advocate for the Port of Baltimore, I’m deeply troubled by the slow pace of this project and the ongoing resistance to the idea of strengthening our critical port infrastructure,” she wrote. “With the widening of the Panama Canal nearing completion, we need to ensure that more cargo can be efficiently transported to and from the port in a way that makes economic sense for shippers and keeps Baltimore relevant in the 21st-century global economy.”

The city and port need to develop the capacity to handle double-stack trains, and the best way to do that is for the city to work with CSXT and the Maryland Department of Transportation to quickly identify an intermodal facility site in Baltimore, Rawlings-Blake believes.

Meanwhile, employees at Norfolk Southern Corp.’s locomotive shop in Enola, Pa., surpassed 2 million man-hours without an injury in March — the first facility to achieve that mark in the company’s history, according to NS.

The last reportable injury at shop — which employs 250 mechanics, electricians, sheet metal workers and others — occurred in May 2007. Since then, workers have logged an average of 34,800 hours per month the past 58 months without an injury.

By working safely, the employees are helping to quickly resolve technical issues that affect locomotive performance, said NS Vice President of Mechanical Don Graab in a prepared statement.

“This means locomotives spend less time in the shop and more time on the rails,” he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/1/2012