PHILADELPHIA — Norfolk Southern and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are investing $11 million in the railroad’s Philadelphia Navy Yard intermodal facility to expand track and parking capacity.
The expansion is part of Norfolk Southern’s multi-state Crescent Corridor initiative to establish a high-speed intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast. The proposed investment — $6 million from Norfolk Southern and $5 million from Pennsylvania — will create the capacity to handle more than 72,000 containers and trailers annually. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2010.
“Because of its strategic location to Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware, expansion of the Philadelphia Navy Yard intermodal facility is critical to the success of our Crescent Corridor,” said Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern’s chief executive officer.
Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor initiative is a multistate network of infrastructure improvements and facilities intended to enhance Norfolk Southern’s 2,500-mile rail network that supports the supply chain from the Gulf Coast and Memphis to Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and the New York metropolitan area and enable it to handle more freight traffic faster and more reliably.
The railroad is in the process of implementing corridor projects, including straightening curves, adding passing tracks, improving signal systems, and building new terminals.
Altogether, nearly $2.5 billion in Crescent Corridor projects have been identified, and based on the public benefits of relief from highway congestion, NS plans to implement the Crescent Corridor initiative through a series of public-private partnerships. At completion, the Crescent Corridor is projected to divert more than 1 million truckloads of freight from the highways to the rails annually, saving the U.S. more than 170 million gallons of fuel per year.
When the Crescent Corridor is fully operational, annual benefits to Pennsylvania are expected to include nearly 700,000 long-haul trucks diverted to rail, almost 10 million gallons of fuel saved, carbon dioxide reduction of 110,000 tons, more than $44 million in traffic congestion savings, and avoidance of an estimated $8.5 million in accident costs. Over the next 10 years 26,000 jobs in Pennsylvania are expected to be created or enhanced by the Crescent Corridor.
Norfolk Southern is constructing a new $95 million intermodal facility in Franklin County, Pa., and has $52 million in improvements planned for its existing Harrisburg intermodal terminal, along with $27 million in track and signal upgrades in Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton counties.
Rail intermodal traffic uses one-third of the fuel required by long-haul trucks and greatly reduces highway congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and highway maintenance costs. The Crescent Corridor will help the environment and reduce a large burden on state budgets.