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Elliston ideal Virginia site for Heartland Corridor intermodal facility, rail agency says


The only feasible location for a Heartland Corridor intermodal terminal in Virgina? Elliston.

That's the conclusion of a final Roanoke Region Intermodal Facility report issued by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). The agency spent 16 months reviewing 10 potential sites and determined Elliston is the most optimal based on economic, public benefit, contractual and environmental factors.

The Elliston site is located on Norfolk Southern Corp.'s Heartland Corridor line, provides unimpeded rail and highway access, and supports efficient intermodal operations at a lower total site cost than two other feasible locations, DRPT determined.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine recently asked regional localities to provide a collective site recommendation by early May. The next steps regarding construction of the intermodal terminal will be determined based on the regional recommendation, the DRPT said.

The Heartland Corridor is a double-stack train route NS is creating through Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio. The corridor will shave about 200 miles off the Class I's existing intermodal route between Virginia ports and the Midwest and save more than 30 hours in transit time. Currently, NS' double-stack trains head to the Midwest via Harrisburg, Pa., or Knoxville, Tenn.

The project includes new intermodal terminals in Virginia, Prichard, W.Va., and Columbus, Ohio. NS' Columbus facility in the Rickenbacker Global Logistics Park opened March 3.