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Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway

NS double-stack trains begin to traverse 'Heartland Connector' in Ohio


On Jan. 15, Norfolk Southern Railway, the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC), Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Council of Governments and Ohio Department of Transportation marked the first double-stack intermodal train to travel along the new Heartland Connector between Cincinnati and Columbus.

The first train culminated a $6.1 million effort to upgrade the rail line, which will provide “substantial” benefits to shippers and the general public, the parties said in a joint statement. They expect the connector to reduce transit times from the Port of Hampton Roads to Sharonville, Ohio, by one to two days for Monday-Wednesday departures; add an additional day of service frequency from both Norfolk International Terminals and the Portsmouth APMT marine terminal to Cincinnati and Detroit; improve service consistency and reliability between the markets and the Port of Hampton Roads; and reduce the number of long-distance trucks on interstate highways, such as I-71 and I-75.

The Class I’s double-stack trains previously traveled from the port to the Midwest via an elongated and congested path through southeastern Tennessee and into a busy rail yard in Cincinnati, NS and government officials said. Now, trains can follow a less busy route along NS' Heartland Corridor through Columbus and Sharonville on the way to Detroit, they said.
To create the connector, the public-private partners opened clearances at five locations between Cincinnati and Columbus, and installed new track at the Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal near Columbus. Financial support for the project included $3.6 million from the federal government, which was administered by ORDC, and matching contributions from NS and the council of governments.

Meanwhile, NS on Monday opened a new Albany-area intermodal terminal in Mechanicville, N.Y., that will serve the Port of Albany. The terminal provides services for containers only, including 53-foot domestic private, EMP or ocean containers.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/18/2012