The CSX railroad has completed the first phase of its $850 million National Gateway initiative to connect Mid-Atlantic seaports with consumers and manufacturers in the Midwest by clearing obstructions and improving tracks for the use of double-stacked container trains.
CSX Transportation on Thursday said double-stacked intermodal service is now possible between the railroad’s existing terminal in Chambersburg, Pa., and its new high-tech, intermodal hub in North Baltimore, Ohio.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX is paying for the lion’s share of the improvements, but has also received financial support from several states and the federal government because of the many public benefits, such as reduced highway congestion and pollution, promised by the project. The federal contribution came in the form of a TIGER grant.
Intermodal trains, which carry many high-demand consumer goods, make the most economic sense when containers can be stacked two-high and trains can run faster, which requires upgraded track and rail beds.
Key freight corridors that will be upgraded to accommodate intermodal trains are the I-95/I-81 corridor between North Carolina and Baltimore via Washington, the I-70/I-76 corridor between Washington and northwest Ohio via Pittsburgh, and the I-40 corridor between Wilmington, N.C. and Charlotte, N.C.
CSX is now pushing to complete the double-stack clearances between Chambersburg and the ports of Baltimore and Virginia, in Hampton Roads. - Eric Kulisch