Posts Tagged ‘CSX National Gateway network’

CSX Closes Pittsburgh Intermodal Terminal

May 6, 2020

Less than three years after it opened, CSX has closed an intermodal terminal in Pittsburgh.

The terminal, which cost $60 million and was located in a former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie yard in McKees Rocks, was part of the National Gateway Initiative that a previous management of CSX launched in 2008.

The Pittsburgh terminal, which opened in September 2017, was the last component of the National Gateway to be completed.

The $850 million public-private project also included construction of an intermodal terminal at North Baltimore, Ohio.

At the time that these terminals were built, CSX was using a hub and spoke strategy to build intermodal traffic.

That strategy was dropped several months after the late E. Hunter Harrison became CEO of CSX in March 2017. Instead CSX began favoring intermodal service lanes with the highest volume and profit.

An analysis published on the website of Trains magazine suggested that the 70-acre Pittsburgh intermodal facility was doomed by the decision of CSX to end steel wheel transfer in Chicago of intermodal containers and trailers received from western railroads.

Instead those containers and trailers are moved across Chicago by highway.

Trains quoted intermodal consultant Larry Gross as saying this effectively made traffic coming into Pittsburgh from the West a 460-mile haul for CSX, which the carrier might not have seen as being profitable enough.

Gross noted Pittsburgh is a relatively short haul for CSX intermodal traffic and that worked against it.

He also said the CSX network was not well suited for diverting north-south highway traffic through Pittsburgh onto rails.

CSX has leased the site of the Pittsburgh intermodal terminal to Shell Oil Company, which will use it as a storage-in-transit facility for a new petrochemicals complex it is building 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh in Potter Township that will produce 1.6 million tons of polyethylene annually.

However, CSX stands to benefit because the haulage of plastic pellets is more profitable than intermodal traffic.

CSX said it can handle intermodal traffic to Pittsburgh through other existing terminals.

Where the Capitol Limited Once Stopped

November 17, 2017

Photographs that are a mere five years old don’t necessarily qualify as being “oldies,” but this March 2012 image shows the end of something that had been associated with Akron for 62 years.

In early 2012, workers came through Akron to lower the tracks of the CSX New Castle Subdivision as part of a clearance project associated with development of the National Gateway.

This included removing the last section of umbrella shed on the platform to the west of the former station concourse.

It is not clear why a portion of the umbrella shed was left in place. Perhaps it was to serve as a monument to what this building had once been.

The last intercity passenger train to stop at this location was Baltimore & Ohio No. 5, the Capitol Limited, which pulled away at 2:37 a.m. on May 1, 1971.

The next day, Akron no longer had intercity rail passenger service for the first time in more than 100 years.

The December 2017 issue of the Akron Railroad Club eBulletin will have a feature about the final decade of B&O passenger service in Akron.

CSX Expects to Begin Using Englarged Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Washington by Late This Year

July 23, 2016

Trains magazine is reporting that the Virginia Avenue Tunnel being enlarged by CSX will be ready to handle double-stacked container trains later this year.

CSX logo 1Completion of one phase of that project will mark a major milestone in the development of the railroad’s National Gateway program.

Work on enlarging the tunnel began in May 2015. The tunnel enlargement drew some opposition in Washington and CSX said it has made more than 51,000 contacts with people living over the tunnel to explain the project.

That included public meetings, social media interactions and email newletters. CSX also established an office near the tunnel’s west portal.

The project involves creating a new tunnel and then replacing the existing tunnel, which was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1872.

Trains reported that CSX is using a cut-and-cover approach to building the tunnels, which involves digging a new trench adjacent to the existing bore and then placing a concrete cover over it.

Disruptions to the neighborhood are being minimized by drilling pilings to support the walls of both new tunnels.

CSX has set up a website to provide information and updates on the project at

Completion of the tunnel will mean that double-stacked container trains can travel between the Northwest Ohio Intermodal facility in North Baltimore to the Southeast.

Presumably, that traffic will move over the New Castle Subdivision via Akron.

CSX is also constructing a new intermodal terminal near Pittsburgh that also is expected to send traffic over the New Castle Sub.

Judge Gives CSX OK to Build Washington Tunnel

April 20, 2015

A federal judge last week dismissed a bid to halt CSX from building a new tunnel in Washington, D.C., that would be a key link in the railroad’s National Gateway network.

Judge Christopher R. Cooper ruled that removing and replacing the existing 111-year-old tunnel beneath Virginia Avenue SE in Southeast Washington is in the best interest of the public.

Cooper’s ruling came in response to a request for a preliminary injunction that was sought by the Committee of 100 on the Federal City.

“The Committee’s contentions that a new tunnel will lead to more accidents and a greater risk of terrorist attack are speculative at best. And with the exception of the removal of some 200 trees, the Committee has not established that any environmental effects of the construction activity will be severe or irreparable,” Cooper ruled.

The Committee of 100 sought to stop the project until a court can rule on a pending lawsuit that it filed that challenges the Federal Highway Administration’s decision to OK the tunnel reconstruction plans. That lawsuit challenged the legality and transparency of the project’s federal environmental review process.­

CSX in February began site preparation work on the $170 million project to rebuild the 3,800-foot tunnel after it received federal clearance to proceed with the reconstruction and expansion project.

The tunnel extends beneath Virginia Avenue SE from Second to 11th streets. CSX plans to build twin tunnels that will accommodate double stack container trains.

Opponents of the project have raised concerns about the transportation of hazardous materials through the tunnel and also fear that the construction will create noise, dust and vibration that will disrupt the peace of neighborhood.

CSX To Spend $2.5B in 2015 Capital Projects

January 30, 2015

CSX said that it plans to spend $2.5 billion in capital improvement projects in 2015 that it said will result in increased efficiency over its 21,000-mile network.

In particular, CSX will reopen a locomotive service facility in Buffalo, N.Y., and construct an intermodal terminal in Pittsburgh that will be part of the railroad’s National Gateway Project.

As part of the latter, CSX will also launch work on starting the enlargement of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Washington D.C., so that double-stacked container trains can use it.

Other highlights of the CSX capital budget for 2015 include:

  • Deployment of about 3 million tons of ballast.
  • Replacement of about 3.2 million crossties.
  • Replacing 500 miles of rail and resurfacing an additional 5,300 miles.
  • Repairing about 200 bridges.
  • The purchase and delivery of 200 General Electric ES44AH locomotives.
  • Rebuilding about 95 locomotives.
  • Rebuilding or purchasing about 3,300 railcars.
  • The purchase of 1,000 new containers.
  • Increasing clearances over 425 new miles to accommodate double-stack container trains..
  • Investing $105 million in technology enhancements.

CSX Receives Award for New Pittsburgh Facility

October 15, 2014

CSX has been awarded a 2013 Economic Development Partner of the Year Award by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association for the railroad’s work in developing an intermodal facility on a brownfield site in Pittsburgh.

The former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad yard at McKees Rocks is being repurposed in the $58 million project that will be part of the CSX National Gateway linking the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.

The project is being developed in cooperation with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Allegheny County Economic Development, McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation, Stowe Township Commission and Trinity Commercial Developments.


CSX to Build Pittsburgh Intermodal Facility

October 20, 2013

CSX announced on Thursday that it will build an intermodal facility in McKees Rocks, Pa., that will serve the greater Pittsburgh area.

The intermodal facility will be built in a former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Yard. CSX said in a news release that the project will generate approximately 360 jobs during construction.

After opening, the facility will support approximately 40 on-site jobs, 40 drayage jobs and 100 indirect jobs throughout the region as a result of improved transportation access and distribution opportunities for local and regional businesses.

The news release said the intermodal facility will create transportation saving opportunities by giving western Pennsylvania shippers direct intermodal freight rail access, allowing for the shift of long-haul freight from highway to rail and strengthening the transportation infrastructure serving the region’s economy.

“We look forward to deepening our long-standing relationship with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through our commitment to invest up to $50 million on a facility that will create more economic opportunity for its residents and significantly enhance distribution opportunities for its businesses,” said Michael J. Ward, chairman, president and chief executive officer of CSX.

The Pittsburgh Intermodal Facility will be a part of CSX’s National Gateway project, an $850 million public-private partnership to create a intermodal rail corridor between the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.

Funded by CSX and its federal and state government partners, including a $35 million Pennsylvania Transportation Assistance Program Grant, CSX said that the National Gateway will create more than 9,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.

In early September, the National Gateway coalition announced that the first phase of the project had been cleared, making way for double-stack intermodal rail service between CSX’s intermodal terminal in Chambersburg, Pa., and its new intermodal hub in Northwest Ohio.

CSX said it expects to complete planning, design, permitting and property acquisition for the approximately 65-70 acre Pittsburgh Intermodal Facility in 2014, with the goal of beginning the two-year construction process in 2015.

Get Ready for Double Stacks in Akron on CSX

September 7, 2013

Have you seen a double-stack intermodal train passing through Akron yet? If not you will because CSX announced that it has completed the first phase of its National Gateway project.

The railroad said the work was completed on time and on budget.

CSX will offer double-stack container service between an intermodal terminal in Chambersburg, Pa., and its facility in North Baltimore, Ohio.

Most of the work occurred on the Baltimore & Ohio main line, including major projects on the famed Sand Patch grade in Pennsylvania and Magnolia Cutoff in West Virginia and Maryland.

In Ohio, tracks were lowered and new bridges built in or near Ravenna, Kent, Akron and Lodi, to name a few, the New Castle Subdivision.

The National Gateway is a $850 million public-private partnership to create an intermodal corridor between the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Funding has come through a combination of federal and state funds, and railroad investment.

Some public funding came from the federal TIGER grant program, secured by the state of Ohio, and administered by the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration. The second phase of the project will involve increasing clearances so that stack trains can operate to the Ports of Baltimore and Virginia.

CSX said its Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal in North Baltimore employs nearly 300 full-time employees handles hundreds of thousands of containers per year in-transit to and from the lower Great Lakes region.

Bridge Project Finished in Kent

June 3, 2013
An eastbound CSX empty coal train passes beneath the former Erie Railroad tracks in Kent on Sunday afternoon. The Erie bridge, now used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway, was raised and unused bridged removed as part of a clearance project on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

An eastbound CSX empty coal train passes beneath the former Erie Railroad bridge in Kent on Sunday afternoon. The bridge, now used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway, was raised and unused bridges were removed as part of a project to increase clearances on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

I went for a walk on Sunday afternoon on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail. I took my camera so I could document the progress of the project to raise the bridge carrying the former Erie Railroad tracks (now operated by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway) over the former Baltimore & Ohio tracks (now CSX) in Kent.

The project appears to be done with only some cleanup work to be completed. All but two of the spans of the ex-Erie bridges over CSX have been removed. One span carries the ABC tracks while the other carries the hiking and biking trail.

During my last visit here the ABC was using a shoofly track while crews raised the bridge that the ABC uses permanently.

The shoofly is gone now and the ABC has a straight shot. New rail was also installed at the site.

This location was once the eastern throat of the Erie Yard. That facility was still used during the Erie Lackawanna days, but the downgrading of the route in the middle 1970s under Conrail ownership led to the abandonment of the yard.

Conrail later sold what it termed the Freedom Secondary to the Portage County Port Authority and Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority. The tracks have been abandoned east of Ravenna.

The bridge work in Kent began in March and was part of a clearance project undertaken by CSX to increase clearances on its New Castle Subdivision so that double-stack container trains can operate between the intermodal sorting facility at North Baltimore, Ohio, and the Washington-Baltimore area.

The route is part of the developing CSX National Gateway Network.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

This view is looking westward down the new tracks installed over the ex-Erie bridge in Kent over the ex-B&O tracks below.

This view is looking westward down the new tracks installed over the ex-Erie bridge in Kent over the ex-B&O tracks below.

This girder once was part of the multi-track Erie Railroad bridge over the B&O. Now it has been removed and will likely be scraped.

This girder once was part of the multi-track Erie Railroad bridge over the B&O. Now it has been removed and will likely be scraped.

This communications box next to the former Erie Lackawanna (nee Erie) Railroad tracks in Kent has been given a new life. It once stood beside a light tower that illuminated the eastern end of the Erie Yard. But the tower was removed more than a year ago. This surviving structure is next to the Portage Hike and Bike Trail.

This communications box next to the former Erie Lackawanna (nee Erie) Railroad tracks in Kent has been given a new life. It once stood beside a light tower that illuminated the eastern end of the Erie Yard. But the tower was removed more than a year ago. This surviving structure is along the Portage Hike and Bike Trail.

Putting the Track Back

July 18, 2012

A westbound grain train passes through downtown Kent on Track No. 2 on the CSX New Castle Subdivision. Track No. 1 (at left) has been reinstalled after workers finished undercutting the roadbed to allow for greater clearance beneath the Main Street bridge.

Work could be wrapping up by the end of this week in undercutting the roadbed of the CSX New Castle Subvision in Kent. Since April, workers have been creating greater clearances beneath the Main Street and Wheeling & Lake Erie overpasses.

This past Sunday, crews were working overtime to get Track No. 1 back into service. The track has been put back into place and welders were connecting the panel sections of track.

As can be seen from this series of photographs, workers will need to place ballast on the track.

The work is part of a project to increase clearances on the former Baltimore & Ohio route in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Double stack container trains will be able to begin using the route once the work is completed.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

A welding crew works to connnect the panel track sections in downtown Kent. The location is just below the former Erie Railroad passenger station along the Cuyahoga River.

An eastbound auto rack train passes the work site in Kent on Sunday evening.

A back hoe straightens the ties on Track No. 1.

Akron Railroad Club member Richard Antibus photographs westbound intermodal train Q135 as it passes through Kent.

The rear of a slab train passes the work site.