NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Southern Corp. and 10 New York-based short line railroads have created a program to convert short-haul truck movements to rail.
The “Empire Link” allows the short line railroads to market the excess rail freight capacity on NS’ Southern Tier main line between Binghamton and Silver Springs, N.Y., as well as on branch lines between Corning and Geneva, and between Waverly and Ludlowville.
“With the high price of diesel fuel, the Empire Link is an attractive option for shippers currently trucking freight in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey,” said David Lawson, Norfolk Southern’s vice president industrial products. “The Empire Link provides our New York short line partners with the tools and resources to design and offer rail transportation services that are truck-competitive in lanes that are less than 500 miles.”
The 10 short lines participating in the Empire Link are the Bath and Hammondsport Railroad; Central New York Railroad Corp.; Finger Lakes Railway; Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad; the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway Corp.; Ontario Central Railroad; Owego & Harford Railway; Rochester and Southern Railroad; Wellsboro and Corning Railroad; and Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad.
“The recent collaboration of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s Eastern Region Short line members and Norfolk Southern is one of the most creative business initiatives to come about in the last 15 years,” said Rich Timmons, ASLRRA president. “We expect positive results for shippers, communities, and big and small railroads alike. If the Empire Link performs as we anticipate, it could serve as a model for future Class I and short line business arrangements.”