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Rail News: CSX Transportation

CSX reopens dialogue with partners on Howard Street Tunnel project


By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

A little more than a month after dropping plans to help develop and fund an expansion to the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore, CSX has reentered discussions about the project with state and local partners.

The long-planned tunnel reconstruction and clearance project calls for eliminating height restrictions to enable double-stacked intermodal trains to move to and from the Port of Baltimore.

CSX and the state of Maryland previously agreed to provide a combined $270 million toward the estimated $425 million total cost, with the state seeking federal dollars to fund the remainder. But the Class I in early November announced the project no longer justified the level of investment required from the railroad and its public partners.

CSX now is open to reengaging discussions about advancing the project. Earlier this week, CSX officials met in Baltimore with members of Maryland’s congressional delegation and representatives from Gov. Larry Hogan’s and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s offices to discuss it, said CSX spokesman Bryan Tucker in an email.

“CSX appreciates the partnership we have developed with the state, city and port, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue with them about our plans moving forward,” he said.

The tunnel’s restricted height currently prevents double-stack trains from accessing the port — a factor that places it at a competitive disadvantage because all other major East Coast ports have double-stack rail capacity, according to the governor’s office.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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