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5/1/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Eastern Class Is, New Jersey team up to tackle increasing truck traffic




On April 29, New Jersey announced an $80 million program designed to improve railroad access to Port Newark/Elizabeth and the Meadowlands, and slow truck traffic on state highways.


The program involves a joint $50 million initiative between New Jersey Department of Transportation, and Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX Transportation and Conrail to increase rail capacity in the Port Newark/Elizabeth marine terminal complex, Oak Island Yard and along a 10-mile stretch of the Lehigh Valley Line leading into the port. The state and railroads each would provide $25 million.


The parties plan to add a second mainline on the Chemical Coast Line serving the port complex; build a second track near Conrail's Oak Island Yard to improve train movements and eliminate delays; construct a second mainline on the Lehigh Valley Line between Bound Brook and Clark to allow trains to move in both directions simultaneously; and acquire additional property in Oak Island to add capacity and eliminate a large inventory of stored containers.


The state and railroads also plan to spend $30 million to eliminate a grade crossing at NS' Croxton Yard in Secaucus — which is expected to experience more traffic after the opening of the nearby Secaucus Transfer later this year — by building a road bridge over the facility.


The three railroads currently move 25 million tons of freight annually into northern New Jersey terminals compared with 283 million tons moved by trucks each year.


A modernized rail system could double intermodal business and increase merchandise carloads 50 percent, railroad officials believe.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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