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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CN, NS to create joint corridor through nation's midsection


Canadian National Railway Co. and Norfolk Southern Corp. are teaming up to speed merchandise and coal traffic between the Midwest and Southeast.

Yesterday, the Class Is announced a joint "MidAmerica Corridor" initiative, which calls for the railroads to share track between Chicago, St. Louis, and points in Kentucky and Mississippi to shorten travel distances and increase velocity.

A series of definitive agreements contain three major components:
• NS will haul CN traffic between Chicago and St. Louis, reducing the distance CN traveled between the points by 60 miles and improving connections with other railroads through the St. Louis gateway;
• NS will use CN's lines between St. Louis and Fulton, Ky., to access a more efficient route from the Midwest to the Southeast and shave more than 50 miles off travel distance; and
• CN will haul NS traffic between Chicago and Fulton, shortening NS' Chicago-to-Birmingham, Ala. route by about 100 miles.

As part of the MidAmerica Corridor, the Class Is plan to create a new coal gateway at Corinth, Miss., to better link NS-served utilities in the Southeast with CN-served coal producers in the Illinois Basin.

“This innovative track-sharing arrangement will expedite our customers' shipments, improve asset utilization and generate new efficiencies for both CN and NS,” said CN President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison in a prepared statement.

In addition, the West Tennessee Railroad — a key component of the initiative — will be upgraded to handle heavier shipments and additional traffic between Fulton and Corinth.

“The MidAmerica Corridor is an important partnership that will create better routes for shippers on both railroads,” said NS Chairman, President and CEO Wick Moorman. “On the Norfolk Southern system, it will help level demand on our busy north-south routes, while improving service and velocity for many more customers."

CN and NS are finalizing the definitive agreements and seeking Surface Transportation Board approval to exchange trackage rights. The railroads expect to implement the initiative within the next few months.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/11/2009