First double stack intermodal train to used Heartland Connector this weekend, Norfolk Southern and public partners announce
COLUMBUS, OH. (Tuesday January 17, 2012) – The Ohio Rail Development Commission, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Council of Governments, Norfolk Southern and Ohio Department of Transportation announced that a major milestone was reached Sunday night when the first double- stack intermodal train traveled along the new Heartland Connector. The success of this project demonstrates how important public-private partnerships are to progressing and completing major economic development opportunities that arise across Ohio and the nation.
The first double-stack train rolling along the connector between Cincinnati and Columbus represents the culmination of a $6.1 million effort to upgrade the rail line, which will provide substantial benefits to customers and the general public. Among the benefit is the shortening of travel time for double-stack intermodal trains leaving the Port of Hampton Roads, Va., for the Midwest as well as reduced traffic congestion on western Ohio interstate highways. “The Rail Commission is very happy to have been able to facilitate this very important infrastructure project that builds on previous investments and further solidifies Ohio’s position in the global supply chain” says ORDC Executive Director Matthew Dietrich.
The upgrade project involved opening clearances at five locations between Cincinnati and Columbus and installing new track at the Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal near Columbus. Financial support for the project included $3.6 million from the federal government, administered by the Ohio Rail Development Commission, combined with matching contributions from Norfolk Southern and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Council of Governments.
Prior to the opening of the Heartland Connector, double-stack intermodal trains traveling to the Midwest from the Port of Hampton Roads, Va., would have to follow an elongated and congested path through southeastern Tennessee and into a busy rail yard in Cincinnati. Now, those trains can follow a less busy route through Columbus and Sharonville on their way to Detroit.
The Heartland Connector will:
· Reduce transit times from the Port of Hampton Roads to Sharonville by 1 – 2 days for Monday – Wednesday departures.
· Add an additional day of frequency from both Norfolk International Terminals and the Portsmouth APMT marine terminal to Cincinnati and Detroit.
· Improve consistency and reliability between these markets and the Port of Hampton Roads.
The general public benefits, as well. The more goods shipped by rail means fewer long-distance trucks on interstate highways like I-71 and I-75, and trains – capable of hauling one ton of freight 480 miles per gallon of fuel – are more fuel efficient than tractor trailers.
The Ohio Rail Development Commission is a state commission whose mission is to plan, promote, and implement the improved movement of goods and people faster and safer on a rail transportation network connecting Ohio to the nation and the world. The ORDC assists with economic development funding by partnering with local governments, railroads, private businesses and other state agencies on freight and safety projects.
For more information contact:
Public Information Officer
Ohio Rail Development Commission