Freight railroad CSX said Thursday it will invest $50 million to build a new intermodal facility near Pittsburgh to serve shippers in the area and enhance the efficiency of its truck-like service. The facility will be located in McKees Rocks and Stowe Township on the route between CSX's ultra-modern truck-rail transfer hub in Northwest Ohio and a large terminal in Chambersburg, Pa.
CSX has made several other improvements on that stretch as part of its $850 million National Gateway Project to increase clearances for bridges and tunnels, add a second track where necessary, and make other improvements to accommodate trains carrying containers stacked two high. CSX recently announced it had completed Phase I of the National Gateway
Class I railroads such as CSX have made a major commitment to intermodal service in the past eight years, as intermodal has become their fastest growing line of business. By adding more dedicated intermodal terminals to the network, CSX increases the chance of capturing more shippers with cargo that only needs to go short distances (200 to 400 miles) because the cost of trucking to and from the rail ramp is greatly reduced. A long drayage haul can wipe out any economic benefits of using intermodal rail.
CSX said it plans to redevelop the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Yard, which operated for more than 100 years. The project will create about 360 jobs during construction. Once operational, the facility will support about 40 jobs and 40 shuttle-truck jobs, as well as 100 indirect jobs in the region because of increased transportation access, it said.
Local officials applauded the planned facility as an economic plus for the region.
CSX said it expects to complete planning, design, permitting and property acquisitions for the 65-70 acre Pittsburgh Intermodal facility in 2014, with the goal of beginning construction in 2015. The project is expected to take two years to complete.