NS to Expand Maple Heights Intermodal Yard, Complete New Vermilion Connection in 2018

Norfolk Southern plans to expand its intermodal yard in Maple Heights in 2018 and finally finish a new connection in Vermilion.

Those projects are among the capital spending plans for the railroad this year.

Work on the Vermilion connection began a couple of years ago but stalled due to lack of funding.

NS is installing connections between the Chicago Line (former New York Central) and Cleveland District (former Nickel Plate Road) that will enable trains from either line to access the other and go east or west.

There is currently a connection between the two lines, but it does not enable an eastbound train on the Chicago Line to go westward on the Cleveland District toward Bellevue or a train from Bellevue to go westward on the Chicago Line.

NS said it will also increase mainline capacity in Buechel, Kentucky; Charleston, South Carolina; and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Intermodal capacity will be expanded in Kansas City, Missouri; and at Calumet Yard in Chicago.

Tie and rail replacement will remain in 2018 at the same levels of 2017. NS will lay 272.7 miles of dual rail and 177.3 miles of single rail. That equals 86,492 tons of rail of which 88 percent will be new 136-pound rail.

Track gangs are expected to put down 2.48 million new crossties and 2.13 million tons of ballast.

NS officials have could not provide a total capital spending figure because the company has not yet finalized its 2018 capital budget.

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