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Rail News: Intermodal

NS begins to rack up tolls on reopened, restored Delaware bridge


Last week, Norfolk Southern Corp., the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and Port of Wilmington reopened the Shellpot rail bridge to freight-train traffic after completing a $13.9 million, 17-month rehabilitation project.

Spanning the Christina River, the rail bridge is the nation's first to charge a toll. By paying a fee for each rail car that moves across the bridge, NS will repay DelDOT — which funded restoration costs — during the next 20 years. An electronic scanner will count the number of cars crossing the bridge by reading a bar code mounted on each car.

The restored bridge will provide port officials more flexibility in scheduling inbound and outbound trains. NS had served the port from the south via a two-track section of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, which limited freight train operations to periods when passenger trains weren't scheduled. Now, the Class I can serve the port from the north, moving over the corridor's four-track section and eliminating freight trains that passed through the Wilmington, Del., Amtrak station.

"The relationship between the state of Delaware and Norfolk Southern, as evidenced by the restoration of the Shellpot Bridge, can serve as a model for public-private partnerships throughout the country," said Wick Moorman, NS senior vice president of corporate planning and services, in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/7/2004