CSX hub on track for $42 million expansion PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel-Tribune Editor   
Thursday, 30 May 2013 10:10
A container is lifted at the CSX intermodal in North Baltimore. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
NORTH BALTIMORE - CSX officials had no problem getting local leaders on board with their plan to expand the rail hub in Henry Township.
On Wednesday, prior to a bus tour of the 500-acre site, the Wood County Commissioners announced they have applied for a federal grant to pay for half of the $42 million expansion. PHOTO BLOG
In the background, the monstrous cranes quietly moved cars from one train to another.
"This is a really unique site," Wood County Commissioner Joel Kuhlman said. "These are the biggest cranes like this in the U.S. It's something to be proud of, and it's right in our back yard."
If the expansion goes as planned, two additional cranes will be added to the rail hub which originally cost $175 million to build. The cranes, priced at approximately $6 million each, stretch 300 feet across and 300 feet high. There are currently five cranes operating in the railyard. The expansion will take place on the west end of the rail hub, on property already owned by CSX.
The intermodal hub, just west of North Baltimore, is not a typical railyard. It is considered the cornerstone of CSX's National Gateway for double stacked freight trains between the Midwest and the sea ports of the East Coast.
The National Gateway project is an effort to make way for double stacked containers on rail cars by raising bridges, increasing tunnel clearances and building new terminals along existing rail lines.
The Henry Township site employs 300 people, who work to transfer approximately two million freight containers annually. The hub handles an average of 30 to 35 trains a day. An average of 75 trucks also visit the site daily to pick up or drop off containers.
The expansion project would lead to eight additional tracks, along with the additional cranes. But it shouldn't dramatically increase the number of trains going through, according to Peter Craig, the terminal superintendent.
The impact of the expansion on jobs at the site is not yet known.
"More, but we're not sure how many," said Rusty Orben, director of public affairs for CSX Transportation. "We think it's good for the county. It's good for the community," he said of the proposed expansion.
Though CSX officials weren't expecting an expansion to be needed just two years after the site opened, they are prepared.
"We're as shovel ready as you can get," Orben said.
Henry Township Trustee John Stewart said the intermodal hub has benefitted the township.
"We've got a great relationship with CSX," he said. "And now another $42 million investment."
One other business is locating next to the rail hub, and more are likely to spring up, Stewart said.
"The jobs are huge. We're excited. It's nothing but good for all of us," he said.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 10:14

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