NS Expects Sandusky District Traffic Growth

Details are starting to emerge about Norfolk Southern’s plans for improvements to be made to the Sandusky District in Ohio. Plans to build a connection at Bucyrus in the southwest connection of the crossing of the NS line with the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern remain on hold due to the down economy. However, the railroad has acquired the land needed for the connection.

Other plans include construction this year of three new tracks at the Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal near Columbus. Located adjacent to the Rickenbacker International Airport, NS transfers shipping contains between trucks and trains here.

The Sandusky District, which extends between Sandusky and Columbus, is part of the NS’s Heartland Corridor between Chicago and the port of Hampton Roads in the Virginia Tidewater region. NS expects to shave 200 miles and a day’s transit time for intermodal shipments between Chicago and the East Coast by using the Heartland Corridor.

Once the corridor opens, NS is expected to shift to the corridor some intermodal freight that now moves via Cleveland and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, over former Conrail routes. New traffic is also expected to use the Sandusky District, including double-stack intermodal trains to and from Cincinnati.

NS said last week that it expects to spend $6.1 million to raise clearances at five locations between Columbus and Sharonville, Ohio, and to add tracks at the Rickenbacker terminal in Columbus. The project is being funded in part with $3.6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, along with money from NS and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments.

Bellevue is already a key hub for NS in Ohio and is expected to take on even more significance with additional manifest freight trains making their way through the city. NS plans to expand its Bellevue Yard by building a double hump, more departure and receiving tracks, and a loop track for eastbound trains.

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